O mia babbino caro – what a Jolie story we have here (not)

Performance Accountancy

What do I have in common with Angelina Jolie?

Well, not a lot at first glance but it turns out there is something, or rather someone.

Because, funnily enough, before I began putting quill to parchment on this latest missive to you, dear reader, I was idly doom-scrolling through social media.

I’d heard some rumours about a forthcoming biopic about the wonderful Maria Callas and that “Angie” (as her mates call her) would be starring in the role.

So imagine the irony when I discovered that the Hollywood icon has been verbally sparring with her with daddy on social media.

Not about her baby, about that Trump fella (insert childish observation here).

Yes, that’s counter-culture icon John Voight.

Turns out he’s quite the Trump fan now – stop giggling at the back!

Now I’m vaguely aware that Angelina has done a lot of positive stuff in her UN role so this must be making for some awkward conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year!

Whilst most of La Jolie’s body of work has passed me by, she’s clearly very talented and certainly has huge screen presence and charisma.

Can she pull off this role though?

Will she be singing?

Will they dub over her like they did with Renee Fleming in “Bel Canto” for Julianne Moore?

In what must have taken the writing team hours of creative thought, “Maria” is set during Callas’ final days in 1970s Paris.

Don’t expect it to be all glitz and glamour, this is likely going to be rather gritty as it is based on “true accounts” of Callas’ life and let’s face it, it wasn’t all kittens and sunshine!

It was a life filled with music for sure and a whole heap of passion but also tragedy.

Jolie shot to fame playing the role of “Gia Carangi” way back so she won’t flinch from telling the tragic story that ended with a heart attack aged just 54 and has commented that;

“I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge.”

Quite why her syntax caused her to temporarily become “Yoda” is beyond my comprehension but I wish her well – wonder what her dad will make of it.

The film is due to be released in 2024.


Not the sort of thing you will normally hear from me but exactly what I told Classical Music magazine just before I packed away my abacus and Excel spreadsheets for the weekend.

I was discussing the latest chaos at HMRC HQ with Florence Lockheart (the editor of this excellent publication) with regard to the pickle that overseas workers are finding themselves in
when attempting to register as self-employed.

You can read the article HERE – registration is FREE so don’t worry about that.

If you want the gist and don’t fancy reading my chat with Flo (although you really should) it goes a little something like this…

Quite a few months ago, HMRC stopped using a system called “Verify” in order to deal with the verification of people who needed to be registered for Self-assessment and self-employment.

“Why?” you may well ask but ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and…well if you are on hold long enough (any many sadly are!)…

They then made a load more changes and updates but as I was helping a client through this it came to the verification bit and it was nigh on impossible to make progress, largely because the
ID required was UK-based.

Guess what?

If you ARE NOT UK-based you are unlikely to have such prized proofs! Payslips can help here BUT there is another layer of admin to break through after you have navigated this level where they ask once again for two items out of a UK passport, UK photo card driver’s license, or credit reference.

Spoiler alert… an overseas worker living and working here will struggle.

I certainly did and I have all manner of shortcuts and agent clearance so imagine if English is not your first language or you simply don’t have the time or iron-will to sit on the phone to HMRC
for hours on end when you should be practicing or performing!

We’ve had 3 months of a closed helpline and queues can be well in excess of an hour when people do get through. Come on HMRC, think about the customer experience, wherever they are from!

A night at the Oscars – well, for me anyway

The lights dim, the audience settles into their seats, eager to hear the opening lines.

The tension is unbearable.

Sort of.

A dim rustle of sweeties is heard near the back of the room and the traditional coughing fit begins somewhere off to the right of the stage.

“Good evening everyone and welcome to the annual Accountancy Excellence Awards!”

*Crowd goes mild*. (we don’t really go wild in our industry – trust me)

Mercifully for you, dear reader, this is not something you will have to endure.

Fear not, I have bravely taken this responsibility on for you and can exclusively reveal that I did NOT win at the Accountancy Excellence Awards.

It transpires that I am not quite the BEST in the UK, just one of the best.

Like top 5!

So that’s actually pretty cool when you think about it.

Curiously, I think they may have made an accountant error. You see, the category was “Sole Practitioner” and that is indeed what I am, along with my trusty PA who keeps me organised.

You hire me, you get me.

You know, the former opera singer turned “Singing Accountant”®.

However, the winners (note the use of the plural) were, well, more than one.

Now, my abacus tells me that the sums don’t really add up but I’m genuinely not fussed.

I’m proud of making the final and any moaning would be sour grapes and we can’t have that.

However, grapes aside, I might be “raisin” it before I enter for 2024 to avoid the “current” affairs!

Capital Gains Tax on the sale of an inherited property.

Capital Gains & Mortgages and “interest” rates - a contradiction in terms? Performance Accountancy, Louise Herrington, Getting a Mortgage when self-employed

The tax man likes to get his money somehow, and one of the “easiest” ways is on inherited property. An estate including property, may be passed to beneficiaries without any inheritance tax (IHT) being paid as it depends on the value of the estate, how many children inherited and if there is any spousal transfer before death.  We are not going to go into these reasons in this blog, and we are going to use dummy numbers to illustrate the points being made.

For this post, we will focus specifically on selling an inherited property in the UK and how capital gains tax may apply.

What is Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax is a type of tax that you need to pay when you make a profit by selling something valuable, like property, stocks, or even artwork. It’s the Government’s way of collecting a small portion of the money you earn from selling these things.

Let’s imagine that you inherited a property from your father. The value of the property when you got it (called the probate value) was £300,000. However, when you decided to sell it, you found a buyer who was willing to pay £375,000. That’s great news because, on the face of it, you made a profit of £75,000!

When you do this, there is no tax for the person who passed away to pay. The estate was mopped up, inheritance tax paid (if applicable) and the property was passed to the beneficiaries. It is the person selling that property that will have the tax to pay as in effect this is a second property for the person and you are not selling your principle private residence as you have your own home that you live in.

How is Capital Gains Tax Worked Out?

In order to calculate the gain, you take the profit, less the personal allowance for capital gains (for 2023/2024 it has gone down from £12300 to £6000) and you then get a taxable gain of £69000. If there are two people selling the property, then the £69,000 will be divided by two. But let’s assume it is a single person.

Now the amount of tax to pay is based on a percentage, which is either 18% if you are a basic rate taxpayer, or 28% if you are a higher rate taxpayer. For ease, let’s assume that your income (from PAYE, Self Employment etc.) is over £50270, you will have to pay 28% on the £69,000 gain, so handing over to the tax man £19320.  You will therefore walk away with £355,680 in your bank account.

Add in a sprinkle of complication

Now we can put in a few complications.   If you inherited the property 3 years ago and did not live in it but say rented it out, and then you go and live in it as your principle private residence for a year, assuming the same gain of £69000, as you have live in it for 12 months out of 48, the gain then drops to £51750 which gives a tax bill of £14490.

Should you then move out whilst you try to sell it, the fact that you have lived in it, you can be given a maximum 9-month grace period which counts towards the number of months living it. If it only takes a month to sell after you move out, you only get 1 month grace period.

Registering Capital Gains Tax

Now the final thing you need to know about is that once the sale has been completed, you need to register the capital gain at HMRC and pay over the gain within 60 days of completion, so make sure when you start the sale process, you have all your ducks in a row with regards probate value, improvement costs, sales costs like estate agent fee etc as those 60 days pass by really quickly.

Here is how you report the gain>>  https://bit.ly/3oCp8SN

Always check with an accountant or tax advisor about the potential sale and taxes to pay as you may be planning something in the future and some small adjustments can change the outcome of tax on the sale.

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End

Titanic effort means Charing Cross Theatre will “rival” West End - Performance Accountancy, written by Louise Herrington

Catching up on industry gossip during a small window sans self assessment returns, I was delighted to read in The Stage that London’s 265-seat Charing Cross Theatre has launched a new “orchestra pit”. With capacity for 19 musicians, the “fringe” venue says the move will allow it to rival the West End.

That remains to be seen but it is hugely welcome news to see this investment (MD Steven Levy says they spent £55,000 redeveloping the space). It is especially exciting for me because it brings back fond memories of a fabulous performance of “Titanic”, way back circa 2016 featuring a wonderful client of ours.

Hazy dream sequence aside, here’s the goss, according to The Stage’s Matthew Hemley;

“The Charing Cross Theatre’s new room will be used for the first time next month with the English-language premiere of musical Rebecca, featuring an orchestra of 18 and a conductor.

Matthew goes on to note that;

“It comes amid a backdrop of cuts to band sizes in the West End, with The Phantom of the Opera recently reducing its orchestra by almost a half, from 27 previously to 14 musicians.”

You can read the full piece by Matthew in The Stage here

Meanwhile, word reaches me that “Bronco Billy – The Musical”, will buck its way into Charing Cross Theatre for its UK premiere in January 2024.

I’m told that it is loosely based on the Clint Eastwood film.

Well, go ahead Billy, make my day!

Martin Lewis and Louise in pensions duet


Yes, after months of campaigning, negotiations, contract wrangling and carrier pigeon-powered correspondence it can be confirmed that the nation’s money mavericks are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Not really.

There were no pigeons and I offer zero financial advice.

However, Martin and I do both agree on this and it’s a belter of a tune.

Remember the Great Pensions Panic of Spring 2023?

Folk scrambling madly to check what they’ve paid into their State Pensions then flocking to the HMRC National Insurance portal thingy to top them up before they pulled up the drawbridge?


OK, you are forgiven but in a nutshell, our Martin (and Louise) were urging folk to go back and check your Ni contributions back to 2006. The reason being that if there are “gaps” you can go and fill them by topping them up.

Yes, it will cost you money but the end result would be a HUGE uplift in your State Pension when the time comes. We’re talking thousands of pounds for hundreds “invested” here.

Well….predictably, the HMRC website pretty much fell over so the deadline has now been extended to April 2025!


So you’ve got plenty of time to try and get through to the Future Pensions unit and sort out what you need to pay if you want to do any catch up years.

However, what you must remember is whilst they will tell you how much it will cost, you then need to decide whether you want to pay it or not.

I can’t really advise on that as I’m not a financial advisor.

If you do decide to pay, you must get an 18 digit reference number from the NI team or the Future Pensions team in order to make the payment. Whatever you do, do not come off the phone if you decide to pay until you have that number. Otherwise, you’ll sit in the queue again!

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline

The one where the words “interest” and “tax” meet in the same headline, Performance Accountancy

It might sound like a contradiction in terms but I beg you pay heed to this seeming impossibility. DON’T forget to make your July Payment on Account if required!!!

Bringing it back to the headline, is it because “tax” is “interesting”?

Spoiler alert…no.

Is it because “interest” is “taxing”?

Well, yes.

Purely because if you read the following and do NOTHING about it before it is too late you might end up paying a HUGE amount of interest and even some fines to HMRC.

So what’s the problem?

It comes down to Self Assessment and Payments on Account.

Remember them?

They are the ones that are estimated by the good folk at HMRC after they peer into their crystal ball and miraculously conclude that you will earn the same amount of money this year.

They then “helpfully” ask you to pay half early doors.

Now it seems a pain to many people but it does make IF you are organised with your finances.

The problem is the whacking great inflation problem right now – you might have noticed it!

That means that if you are late….the impact of the interest you pay is far bigger than usual.

Like 7% and upwards bigger – never mind the fines.

So what do you do?

Check your online account and see how much you have to pay by the 31st of July. I recommend you set up the payment for a few days BEFOREHAND just in case something crumbles. Or…you could look at doing your tax return before the 26th of July. That will give HMRC time to reevaluate how much the July 2023 payment should be. Now…it will never go up, but it could go
down if your income has changed between the two years.

The accountant with SOLE has been given an encore

Scene – a suburban home in Berkshire. The early hours of the morning. The dawn chorus is warming up…

Cut to the bedroom (behave!). The Singing Accountant is restless, mid-dream.

“Me, again?

“An award nomination? Oh no I couldn’t possibly accept.

“I don’t like the spotlight. Leave that to my lovely clients. Oh maybe just a little bit then.

“Hmmm? What’s that? The Academy insists?

“Oh, not the Academy…the Accounting Excellence Awards.”

(Louise wakes up from fever dream)

So it appears that I may indeed have been overlooked by the Academy.

However, I have once again been singled out by my version of those fine folk, yes, the glitz and glamour of the accounting world awaits.

Regular readers may recall a similar storyline last year when I was reluctantly encouraged to toot my own horn.

This is far from my favoured scenario or instrument. I prefer the clarinet or even, as a classically trained opera singer, my own pipes!

However, the good folk at the Accounting Excellence Awards dropped me a line this morning to tell me that I’m one of the finalists in their glitzy annual event thingy!

To be shortlisted again is no mean feat and once again I’m in with a shot at the Sole Practitioner of the Year Award.

Last year I did vaguely threaten to sing my acceptance speech should I have triumphed.

That may not have been a wise move so for now, I will bow and nod graciously and sit calmly in the wings.

The question, as ever, is what to wear!

I debated the full Valkyrie costume with Wagner as my acceptance music last year.

Maybe this time something a tad more understated?

Any suggestions gladly considered!

Now, maybe I can sneak in a nap and go back to the Oscars dream again. Failing that, I’d take a Tony!

Your child and earnings – part 2 on Etsy

Your child and earnings – part 2 on Etsy - By Performance Accountancy and written by Louise Herrington

This is a little bit different to the child actors earning money.

Etsy is like a big online craft fair where people from all around the world can buy and sell unique, often handmade or vintage items. It’s like an online marketplace that’s special because it focuses on unique, creative goods, much like the things you might find at a local art fair or antique shop.

Just imagine walking into a bustling craft fair, where artisans showcase their beautiful, handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing, and other special, often one-of-a-kind items. Now, imagine being able to visit this craft fair from the comfort of your own home, any time you want, day or night.

What we have found is that children are creating work and then selling it, and as it is crafting, the most appropriate platform is Etsy. So the income belongs to the child right?


Etsy won’t let anyone under the age of 18 set up an account, so the parent has to set up the account under their name as the adult. But the income still belongs to the child right?


HMRC treats it as the adults’ income as the account is in the name of the adult, so the adult has to declare it on their tax return.

This is not a problem if the adult does not have any self-employment as you can earn up to £1000 per tax year without having to tell HMRC. But if the adult is self-employed, no matter what the earnings on Etsy are, it needs to be on that adult’s tax return, and that adult pays tax on it, and oh my that could be at 40% and as it is treated as the adults’ earnings, maybe VAT as well.

So what starts to be a child’s hobby can turn into an adult’s tax nightmare. We don’t want to discourage creativity or entrepreneurship, but now you know this, if there are two adults attached to the child, put the Etsy account in the lower-income adults’ name.

The hard part is how to tell the child that they may loose some of their income to the tax man. Oh well, never too early to start that element of disappointment in life!

The dreaded student loan

The dreaded student loan repayment rates

Student loans are how most people in the UK can pay for their tuition and living costs whilst studying at University – if of course, the degree course is eligible for a student loan.

But the reality of the loan kicks in once you’ve finished your degree and embarked on your chosen career, and working out how to repay that loan can be a bit blur.

To put your mind at rest, a student loan does not affect your credit rating – the only good news in this piece.

Which plan are you on?  There are 4 to choose from. Eyes down:

Plan 1:

Anyone who started an undergraduate course before September 2012 in England or Wales.

Plan 2:

For all students who started a course after 1998 in Scotland or Northern Ireland, and after 2012 in England & Wales.

Plan 4:

Is a Scottish student loan and for those that graduated in 2020/2021 onwards, and to complicate matters further, the Scottish Government converted those still on a Scottish plan 1 to plan 4.

You think I have missed plan 3 – well officially there isn’t one named plan 3, but there is a Postgraduate Loans and Advanced Learner Loan repayments, which have different rules.

Told you it is a bit blurr.

The plan you’re on will dictate your repayment terms, including the threshold over which you start repaying your loan and the interest rate. The thresholds mainly change each year, but so far not the percentage. Plan 1, 2, 4 are 9%, Post Grad (PGL)  is 6%.

The student loan repayments are income-contingent, meaning they are based on your income from all sources. Repayments start when your income is over the threshold for your loan type.

These repayments are typically deducted automatically from your salary if you’re an employee. If you’re self-employed, you’ll make repayments as part of your tax return. That dreaded bill just keeps going up in January.

You can opt to pay off your loan faster especially if interest rates are higher than the repayment interest required by making voluntary payments if you have money to spare and not going to cause you hardship as you won’t get it back if you need this.

Employers will still take the required amount each month from PAYE, but if you only have self-employment, you don’t have a way of entering this in your tax return.

You need to create a false employment page which is blank as the self-assessment system does not take into account voluntary payments by the self-employed. You will only put down payments made in the tax year that the return covers, not voluntary payments in the next tax year. The exception to this is if you fully paid off the loan in the current tax year, but the tax system requires you to make a payment (will take months to get it back), then tick the box that say no student loan and attached the confirmation letter that you are fully paid up.

In the UK, student loans are eventually written off if they haven’t been repaid. The write-off period depends on the loan plan and when you took out the loan, but for plan 2, 4 and Post Grad, it is 30 years after you become eligible to repay, plan 1 taken out after 2006/2007 25 years and when you turn 65 before that.

Extra fun fact 1: There is a student loan plan 5 coming out for people starting a degree course after 1st August 2023 – undergrad & post grad – watch this space!

It’s worth considering this fact when deciding whether to make extra payments on your loan. For some people, especially those on a lower income, it might make more financial sense to focus on other financial goals.

If you move abroad, you still have to repay the loan, but it will be directly with the Student Loan Company (SLC) and not through the UK tax system. You need to notify the SLC within 3 months of moving overseas. They may require evidence of your income overseas (Overseas Income Assessment) and request a direct debit be taken for the repayments. A little bit harder if you are self-employed overseas and have no fixed income.

The only other times the loan MAY get written off is if the person dies, or if a person cannot work due to illness or disability. only those on PIP, DLA, Industrial Injury Benefit and Severe disablement allowance can claim.

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