Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on July 13, 2021 in Newsletter
13 July 2021
As the school summer holidays approach and many people are looking forward to a nice long summer break, here at Brand, we are getting revved up for our busiest time of the year. It’s time for us to start the huge task of updating all our resources for the 21/22 examinable tax year, which begins on 1st September.
We spend time not just updating the tax and legislation changes, but we also study the CII guides to check for changes in the style or difficulty of each exam to ensure our resources give you the best possible reflection of what you can expect in the exam.
The Team at Brand Financial Training
Using Your Own Transport for Business
Using your own transport for business may be tested in the CII exams R03 or within AF1. Read on to learn what qualifies as a business travel expense, the different ways to recover the cost, and the mileage rates.
The first thing to say is that there’s no tax charge when, as an employee, you use your own car for business purposes and you’re not reimbursed for any more than the allowed rate. (If you’re reimbursed for private travel, then this will be a taxable benefit).
Which parts of the journey qualify?
My friend uses her own car to get her to her place of work which is 25 miles away from her home and then uses it from there to carry out her work. The 25-mile commute to her place of work is treated as private and not business mileage. (Note though that travel to a temporary place of work is normally classed as business travel). Obviously, the travel she then does from there to carry out her job is classed as business travel.
Recovering the Travel Expenses
You are entitled to deduct qualifying travelling expenses from taxable pay if they are incurred ‘performing your employee duties’. In most cases though, employers reimburse business mileage so that their employee’s expenditure is balanced by the payment made by the employer. Should this not be the case, then you’d need to claim tax relief yourself (just as a self-employed person would).
How to Stay in ‘Study Mode’ (Nearly) All Summer Long
After a winter that many of us would frankly rather forget, summer seems to be with us at last, even if travel restrictions, social distancing, and limitations on gatherings make it a season that’s distinctly different from previous years (2020 excepted). So it’s fair to say that most of us are adopting a decidedly cautious approach to warm-weather plans and trips away.
Nonetheless, whether you are heading off on holiday or not, the summer heralds a change of rhythm, routine and weather: the promise of a different pace of life.
For many, it means a change in working regime and schedule. Family life also shifts gear as children are off school. And, of course, it’s important that you enjoy your summer and make the most of the many opportunities it offers to draw breath, relax, recharge batteries, and perhaps take stock. It’s certainly a precious time of year.
However, equally, if you have exams on the horizon, you don’t want to lose your study focus completely over the warmer weeks and months. This can happen all too easily in the long, hazy days of summer when nothing seems desperately urgent. But if you yield to the temptation of taking an extended break from your books, this will make catching up far harder when September rolls around again – which it will do all too quickly.
Summer offers an ideal opportunity to try out new study techniques, to focus on the areas that have previously challenged you the most, and to consolidate what you’ve learned this year so far.
Here are a few tips to help ensure you stay motivated:
1 – Stay cool
It may sound obvious, but take care not to get overheated as the mercury rises. Fill a bowl with ice, then point a fan in the direction of the area you want to cool down and put the bowl in front of it before switching on. Replace the ice as it melts.
Open windows and doors so that the air circulates; keep yourself well hydrated (always have a water bottle on or close to your desk), and wear loose-fitting cotton clothing too. This will help you stay as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.
2 – Change where you work
Summer can open up more possibilities than other times of year for working in different places, especially if you want to focus on doing a lot of reading. Pick a park bench, outdoor café, riverside spot or grassy patch under a tree and get stuck in for the afternoon.
Alternatively, if you’re staying put at home, make sure you work in the coolest room of the house.
..."Your MP3 audio masterclasses were of great quality. I felt they reminded me of some things I had not thought about for some time and prompted some wider study. The content was accurate, relevant and up to date for the exam and the length of each class was very good. The approach was not patronising like so many learning MP3s. I would definitely recommend..."
Richard Baxter, Senior Financial Adviser, Gower Financial Services, Guernsey
Available for AF1, AF4, J02, R01, R02, R03, R04 and R05
Every individual has his/her own learning style. Learning by listening provides an alternative to reading and re-reading the study text, and can help with absorbing and understanding materials. Our MP3 audio masterclasses come in digestible chunks allowing you to listen at home, in the car, at the gym or wherever else you may be.
For a list of each masterclass in your chosen exam, go to:
Updated Resources for the New Examinable Tax Year 2021/22
If you are planning on taking an exam in September or October and are concerned about buying resources now that would be out of date for the exam, you’ve no need to worry we’ve got you covered!
You can purchase any of our current 20/21 resources now and get access to the updated resources free of charge* when they become available in late August. Many of the exams don’t have a huge number of syllabus changes or changes in law, so this allows you to start with your studies sooner rather than later.
*Note this does not apply to: IF exams whose examinable year ends on 31 Dec; the e-learning videos, which have a 6-month subscription, or our R03 hard copy study text.
Re-Sits for J03 and AF2
The last sitting of J03 is confirmed as 15th September, and for AF2, the last sitting is 12th October. Note these sittings are for re-sits only.
Updates to CII Study Texts
Here’s a reminder that the CII update their study texts throughout the examinable year to either incorporate new legislations, correct errors or clarify information. Many candidates aren’t aware of this, which can result in candidates studying out-of-date information.
To find out if you have the most up-to-date information, visit the CII website, navigate to your chosen exam and click on ‘learning solutions update’ in the ‘Unit updates’ section in the sidebar.
Note that we keep our resources up-to-date with any updates from the CII.
Did You Miss These Posts on Our Blog?
Articles and Help for All Your Exams
You’ll find that there’s something for everyone when you check out our blog:
specific topics and how-to articles;
reviews of recent CII exam papers;
our Friday Five – a weekly quiz to give you a fun break from reading the study text;
study techniques that help you to retain your revision and keep your brain working for you, when you need it
Here are the blog posts you might have missed since our last newsletter:
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Each week, we ask questions relating to one of these topics: Investments, Taxation, Pensions, Protection, or Regulation. The challenge is for you to answer them in 5 minutes.
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A bit of Friday Fun, but with the added benefit of testing your exam knowledge!