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Essex-based accountancy firm Khan Thornton, who specialise in the motor trade and already boast experience with auto enrolment implementation, are offering modern and used car dealers, restorers, specialists and other small and mid-sized businesses in the industry advice to avoid missing deadlines, and clarify the complexities of workplace pensions as they become compulsory over a period of time.

“The car industry’s big players may already have schemes set up by large brands’ head offices, but the UK’s small and mid-sized independent companies, historically, have relied on an in-house bookkeeper or generic accountants,” explains Khan Thornton Principal Dino Khan. “We receive enquiries about the Pensions Regulator’s communications, the rules coming into play, and deadlines which are being missed by many a company.”

There are crucial differences between a need to “start to comply” and the actual “staging date”. At the moment, all business owners need to concentrate on specific deadlines, one of which has already passed:

1 March 2015: automatic enrolment (the legal requirement for an employer to enroll their staff into a workplace pension scheme) staging date for companies with 53-58 employees.

1 March 2015: companies with fewer than 53 employees (but more than 30) need to start to comply with the legislation, and get ready.

1 June 2015-: companies with fewer than 30 employees need to start to comply.

1 October 2015: staging date for companies with more than 30 employees. Other dates apply according to the number of a business’s employees.

Government figures show that 78% of businesses rely on their accountants for advice on such matters, yet according to leading pensions’ providers, hundreds of firms have missed their deadlines, due to confusion over what is required and what steps need to be taken.

Nominating a contact:

31 March 2015: the day by which businesses must notify The Pensions Regulator of a nominated contact name, who can be an employee, payroll provider or accountant. The nominated contact will be receiving all communications from the Regulator about the different stages before automatic enrolment duties are implemented.

Assessment, modifications, choosing a pension provider, implementing the scheme, payroll modifications and record keeping are all activities which cost time and money. If not carried out by experts, they could weigh down one’s company (mistakes can be costly) and wrong choices may be less cost-effective than decisions made on the advice of experts.

“We have experience dealing with auto enrolment and also specialise in the motor trade, a complex area of expertise because of the various elements at play: Sales, Service, Warranty, Finance and Parts. Other aspects, such as tax credits and R&D tax relief, are often overlooked,” continues Dino. “Understanding what is expected by the government is a step forward in the right direction, but Khan Thornton can also advise on whether exceptions to deadlines and postponement may be appropriate to one’s business.

Note to Editors: Dino Khan, principal tax practitioner at Khan Thornton, is the author of various tax articles in specialist journals, on property and general tax matters. A Chartered Certified Accountant, Dino is also a passionate classic car enthusiast, participating in various rallies with his own cars. Currently, he is overseeing the development of a confidential project involving the restoration and specialist work on a much-loved classic car model.

Richard Emsden, who also works at Khan Thornton, is a motor trade specialist with a vast, 20-year+ experience with main dealer management accounts, which provides him with a thorough understanding of the motor trade. VAT and tax issues for used car dealers can be a real headache, especially as management of such matters is not supported by mainstream accounting software.

Khan Thornton also offers specialised, targeted business advice and accountancy services to the medical profession.


Company workforceStart to complyStaging Date
53-58 employees 1 March 2015
Fewer than 53 employees but more than 30 employees1 March 20151 October 2015
Fewer than 30 employees1 June 20151 April 2017