Jamie Giles
By Marketing Administrator Jamie Giles

Two new additions to our Agricultural Consultancy team 

Jack White (left) Peter Brown (right)

Today we are announcing the further strengthening of our highly successful Agricultural Services team with the appointment of two new experienced consultants.

Peter Brown and Jack White’s appointments expand our capabilities and range of services available to farming and rural businesses in the region.

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Parkhurst Hill and Thomas Westcott Merger

We’re delighted to announce that our firm has merged with one of Plymouth’s leading firms of chartered accountants and taxation advisers, Parkhurst Hill. 

The merger sees our existing Plymouth-based staff move from our former office in Queen Anne Terrace to Parkhurst Hill’s offices in Plym House, Marsh Mills, bringing total headcount there to 35 including five partners.

In Plymouth the merged business will operate under the name Parkhurst Hill and Thomas Westcott.



Thomas Westcott was recently amongst the finalists for Mid-Tier Accountancy Firm of the Year at the National Accountancy Awards and we have 18 offices throughout Devon and Somerset. 

Parkhurst Hill, being one of Plymouth’s most established professional services firms, builds on this growth creating a combined practice of 220 staff and 28 partners. 

Paul Stapleton, senior partner at Parkhurst Hill, now Parkhurst Hill and Thomas Westcott, says: “This merger brings together a tremendous wealth of experience and talent and creates what we are confident is Plymouth’s best independent provider of accountancy and business services, but very much focussed on personal delivery. 

“Uppermost in our thoughts was the impact this announcement would have on our clients. However, we know that we will be able to continue to provide our clients with the very personal service they are used to but they will be able to benefit from specialist services provided by our own partners and from the expertise in the new merged practice.”

Richard Thomas, Chairman of Thomas Westcott, says: “We are very proud of our reputation as one of the South West’s most successful and respected accountancy practices, and all our discussions with Parkhurst Hill’s team showed they share our values and ambitions.

“Plymouth is a vibrant city with a diverse and strengthening economy and this merger both highlights this fact whilst underlining our determination to deliver what we consider to be a high quality personal service to businesses in Plymouth and beyond.”




Some start-up businesses view accountants as a luxury, or think that they are there to simply fill out the necessary forms that keep the taxman happy. However, a good accountant will offer you much more than this. Your accountant should be one of your main allies – providing proactive advice to ensure your new business survives and prospers.

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Recently the Charity Commission have issued several press releases reminding trustees of their responsibilities over the filing of Annual accounts and Trustees annual reports.

The Charity Commission emphasise that filing accounts is key to transparency and public trust in Charities. Not only are responsible for ensuring that accounts are filed on time, they are also responsible for ensuring that they conform with the requirements of Charity Legislation.

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A whole raft of new tax rules have already taken or will take effect in the coming years that particularly affect those not resident or not domiciled in the UK. Such individuals should consider undertaking a thorough review of their affairs to ensure that tax planning opportunities are identified and an increasing number of pitfalls and tax charges avoided. 

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In accordance with our engagement terms, Thomas Westcott’s Standard Terms of Business have been amended as below. Version 2 of the revised Standard Terms of Business are effective from 12 February 2016. Any work instructed after notification of the changes will be treated as carried out under the revised standard Terms of Business. For the full version of the revised standard Terms of Business click here.



Alteration type




Payment terms amended from 30 days from date of request for payment to 7 days from receipt of a payment request



Notification period reduced in line with 2.8



Credit card charges in accordance with the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations



Notification of change following direct registration of Thomas Westcott Financial Management Limited with the Financial Conduct Authority

You may be expecting it or it may come out of the blue but what should you do if you find out a customer is about to enter liquidation? 

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1 February 2016

● £100 penalty and extended enquiry window if 2015 self-assessment tax returns not filed on or by 31 January 2016.

● Payment of corporation tax liabilities for accounting periods ended 30 April 2015 for SMEs not liable to pay by instalments.

2 February 2016

● P46(Car) for quarter ended 5 January 2016.

3 February 2016

● End of consultation period for Finance Bill 2016 draft clauses published on 9 December 2015.

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We’re delighted to announce that one of our newly-qualified accountants, Jo Davey, is on top of the world after her final accountancy exam results saw her finish in the top five globally.

Figures from the ICAEW show that Jo, who joined us as a trainee in 2012 and works in our Axminster office, came fourth out of 3,800 students worldwide who took the globally-recognised exams.

Jo says that even though she had a good idea she’d done well after studying hard it was still a shock to learn she had finished in the top five in the world, adding: “Gaining my full professional qualifications has been tough going at times but my colleagues have been very supportive and, as a firm, Thomas Westcott has given me every opportunity to succeed, including allowing time off to attend special training in Gloucestershire, for which I’m very grateful.”

There was also previous success for another of Jo’s colleagues, Mark Johnstone, who works in our Exeter office and who also sat the ICAEW exams, finished just outside the top 10 globally in eleventh place last year. 

Jo grew up in Honiton and attended the town’s secondary school before studying maths, physics and biology at Exeter College. After college she gained a place at Plymouth University and studied accounting and finance, before joining us here at Thomas Westcott.

Jo and Mark’s achievements are the latest successes for our firm which has “training office” status under ICAEW rules and is also authorised for training and post-qualification training by the ACCA and AAT.

At any time we have 20 or more trainees learning their profession across our network of offices and Jo and Mark’s positive attitude, professional approach and a desire to succeed are typical of the calibre of young people we attract, and their success should provide our clients with peace of mind that they will continue to receive the very best advice.

(Jo Davey & Shona Godefroy)

Dramatic changes to the way in which people can draw their pension benefits took effect from April this year. Brought in under the Government’s ‘Pension Freedom’ initiative, the new rules are designed to give control and choice to owners of personal or money purchase pensions. 

The prior restriction of an annual cap on pension withdrawals has been replaced with unlimited access to your pension fund after age 55, subject of course to income tax once you have exhausted the first 25% which remains tax free. Careful planning is advised to ensure that your future financial security is not compromised by exercising this freedom. The new rules, however, have much wider ramifications than just making sure your pension lasts. A number of other changes, including remodeling the taxation of pension death benefits, are now causing many people to rethink not only their pension planning but their entire retirement strategy. 

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