This writing portfolio contains just a few examples of how I can adapt my writing skills to fulfil your requirements. They are different in style, tone and purpose. Just because you don’t see a previous example of something here, doesn’t mean I can’t produce it for you – just ask!

Most of my education projects have been covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements and are, therefore, not included here.

Written for the site ‘Cancercubs’.

'Sable Cub'

Look at that sweet little face! A gentle expression encourages cosy chats and calming cuddles. Sable Cub has super soft, pure white fur that is irresistibly strokeable. Snuggling with a comforting cub - what could be more soothing?

Service Page for Research and Development Relief

Hundreds of companies are failing to apply for their legitimate tax reliefs for Research and Development projects. We have secured thousands of pounds for previous clients through legitimate R and D claims.

You could be eligible to claim R and D tax relief if:

• your company is part of the Science or Technology fields

• your company pays UK Corporation Tax

• your company endeavours to resolve a ‘scientific or technological uncertainty’ through research and development activities

This applies to UK companies, companies that have a UK branch (but are based elsewhere) and if they are members of an LLP.(/p>

Many companies have R and D activities that are so intertwined with their daily work that they fail to recognise it as ‘R and D’. Subsequently, they don’t consider it as a tax relief application.

How we help with Research and Development tax relief applications

• Assess your company’s activities and costs, to see which ones qualify as ‘R and D’ under HMRC’s definition, for tax relief

• Submit a solid R and D tax relief claim to HMRC

• Recommend the precise record keeping requirements needed for an R and D claim

• Work with HMRC on your company’s behalf

• Assess current R and D claims in line with new HMRC guidance and their wider parameters of acceptability

• Advise on how to adjust accounting processes to increase the efficiency of making an R and D claim

Tax Rebate Services has an enviable reputation for professionalism, excellent value for money and consistently outstanding levels of customer service. Your application for Research and Development tax relief will be managed by qualified accountants with accreditation from their professional body.

We provide a hassle free accountancy service that will deal with all the requirements of the entire financial year; from payroll and registrations to tax rebates and end of year filing. So you can focus on defining that ‘scientific or technological uncertainty’ in your aims!

Guide to Research and Development Relief for Companies

What is Research and Development Relief for Companies?

This is a government scheme that aims to promote companies’ investment in scientific and technological research and development projects. It increases you company’s development costs which, in turn, reduces your taxable profits and saves you on your Corporation Tax bill.

If your company makes a loss, then your tax savings can be claimed as a cash refund in the form of tax credits. The only prerequisite in this case is that you have paid NICs and into PAYE for the period in question.

It’s not just a one off! You can claim this relief on an annual basis as long as your Research and Development projects fall within the parameters of eligibility.

Wish you’d known about this before? Well, you can make a claim that is backdated for the last two financial years and you will get the tax refund as a straightforward cash payment.

How does it work?

The scheme is subdivided into two; Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) scheme and the Large Company Scheme or Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) scheme.

Small or Medium-sized Scheme

As of 1st August 2008, this is defined as being for companies with up to 500 employees and either an annual turnover up to £100million or a balance sheet reaching £86million. The company must not be in liquidation or administration when the claim is filed.

This does not include sub-contractors, there is a different set of rules covering this group within the Large Company Scheme. It also does not include this size of company that is actually part of a large company.

As of 1st April 2015, the rate of 230% tax relief is applicable to all eligible Research and Development costs. This means that your Corporation Tax is reduced by an extra £130, on top of the £100 spent, for every £100 worth of eligible costs.

The Large Company Scheme

The Large Company Scheme is the only one you can claim through if your company does not fit the definition of a small or medium-sized company. Your company must have spent a minimum amount of £10,000 on Research and Development during the specified accounting period in order to be eligible. The rate of tax relief available, as of 1st April 2008, is 130%. This means that you get an extra £30 on top of the £100 spent for every £100 worth of eligible R and D costs.

What qualifies as Research and Development for Tax Relief?

The R and D project must be directly related to your company’s business. Your company may already be up and running, or it may be one you are going to start once you have the conclusions of the research.

To be eligible the R and D project must have “the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty” as its aim. It cannot be just advancement; it must intend to resolve an existing “uncertainty”.

It is worth noting that ‘science’ does not include social sciences, economics, humanities or the arts.

How do I prove these terms?

HMRC advise businesses to include the answers to four questions within their claim, in order to clarify the R and D project’s eligibility.

• What is the scientific or technological advance? Not just the end product or process that the project is researching, but clearly states the advancement within the aims of the project.

• What were the ‘uncertainties’ you were investigating during the project?

So, is the subject of the project possible? Can the answer be found in your field? If not, then you have technical or scientific uncertainty and you need to explain this in layman’s terms as part of your application.

• When and how were these uncertainties resolved?

Here HMRC are looking for a short summary of your methods and analysis which demonstrate the complexities involved in your project. A conclusion about the success or failure to resolve the initial uncertainty is also necessary.

• Why didn’t you find the necessary information from another professional?

There may be no available information about your project’s subject, in which case your project’s leaders must be identified as “competent professionals” with a summary of their qualifications and experience. They must also submit an explanation of why they feel there is a technical or scientific ‘uncertainty’ involved and not simply routine research.

The key factor is that the intention of the R and D work is to make and advancement in a scientific or technological field in order to resolve an existing uncertainty. The project does not have to have a successful conclusion, nor does it have to result in the selling of a new product.

What costs can you claim for as part of a Research and Development tax relief claim?

You must be able to prove that each of these factors are “directly and actively engaged in research and development activities”. (HMRC)

• Utilities – fuel, water, power

• Software

• Subcontractor – if you hire a subcontractor to do some of the R and D work then you could be eligible to claim back 65% of this cost

• Capital expenditure – If you spend on capital assets as part of your project you may be able to claim R and D Capital Allowances

• Staff providers – if they have a contract with the individual employees they provide you with.

• Staff – employees your business directly employs; not consultants, people who are contracted to other companies or agency workers

• Materials – the physical ‘stuff’ you need for your project work

• Clinical trials – payments to volunteers in clinical trials

Good to know

• If you get any kind of grant or subsidy, that is not ‘State Aid’, then you can still make and R and D claim. The amount will simply be reduced by the total of your subsidy or grant.

• You make the claim on your Company Tax Return; using Box 99 if you are in an SME scheme and Box 100 if you are in a Large Company Scheme.

• You enter your ‘enhanced expenditure’ into Box 101 of your Company Tax Return.

• The time limit is two years after the end of the applicable Corporation Tax accounting period.

Welcome to Cancer Cub

Choosing an appropriate gift for a patient suffering with cancer can be quite a challenge, but we’ve found the perfect thing. Something that is a listening ear and continuous supply of hugs for your loved one – a simple teddy bear.

You know that someone with cancer is facing an assault on their body, mind and spirit. The traumas of diagnosis, invasive treatments and uncertain prognosis are a massive strain. Despite all of this, we know they often put on a brave face to mask their fear and pain. But, as a close relative or friend, you see straight through that and do your best to boost their emotional wellbeing.

You might feel quite powerless to help and guilty for not being by their side 24/7. Well, with one of our lovely bears, you can leave a little bit of your love with them when you go home.

A teddy has the comforting familiarity of a childhood companion and can go where beloved pets are not allowed. Patients can share private thoughts and feelings with their bear, safe in the knowledge that they are being listened to without judgement and without burdening their furry friend. They are reassurance during lonely night-time hours and can absorb a waterfall of tears. If justified anger at the unfairness of it all takes over, Teddy survives being flung across the room rather well and never holds a grudge! Most importantly of all, Teddy is a reminder that they are surrounded by love and that is a magnificent reason for continuing to fight in hope.

We have chosen the softest, cuddliest bears and each comes with its own T-shirt. We have a range of colours so you can choose a favourite colour, or one that represents the type of cancer involved.

As 10% of each sale is donated to Cancer Research, not only are you giving additional emotional support to your loved one, you are joining the fight to find a cure.

Improving your hotel guests’ experience: when ‘good enough’ is not good enough

We expect every hotel to have a clean, bright reception area adorned with impressive flower arrangements and a polite, professional receptionist to efficiently lead us through the check-in process. We expect absolute cleanliness, well-appointed décor, a selection of in-house amenities and complimentary provisions. We expect hotel staff to assist us with any request at any time and be committed to making our stay as happy as possible. In short – we now expect good service as a standard part of our guest experience.

Excellence lies in the detail of offering a unique service that emotionally connects with guests to ensure they feel special and create memories that they will share. Much easier said than done!

Hotel Identity

Hotels need to be proud of what they are and not hide behind a corporate identity. Guests do want the quality assurance of a global brand but they also want to see a good cultural fit within the hotel’s local environment. If the hotel is part of the local community then guests can really feel a sense of place and also enjoy that feeling of belonging – even if it is just for a little while. Other examples are using local suppliers for the hotel restaurant or to providing unique complimentary items in the rooms. Guests respond to a story about the establishment, something interesting that draws them in and allows them to be part of what it stands for. Obviously, this needs to be authentic to create a real connection.

A large part of a hotel’s identity is the personalities of its staff and all the incidental, informal conversations that they share with guests. Staff cannot be expected to abandon their individuality as they don their uniforms, they should be celebrated as part of what makes the hotel identity memorable.

Anticipation of guests’ needs

Every guest deserves a bespoke experience, tailored specifically to their needs as an individual. There are all of the practical ‘little’ things which leave a big impression; having fast speed interconnectivity throughout the hotel, plasma TVs, ipod and laptop docking stations. A call or handwritten notelet from the manager upon arrival would make any guest feel special. Perhaps even such details as a bartender asking, “The usual, Sir?” when a regular visits the bar.

It is not necessary to have supernatural powers of seeing into the future, it simply requires the collection, collation and sharing of the plethora of information available about guest preferences. If they are a returning client, review the requirements they had during their last stay and pre-empt them this time. It allows the guest to feel known as a person, not just another customer.

Staff as your most valuable assets

The atmosphere of the guests’ stay is determined by the interactions between and with the hotel staff. It is indeed one of the few intangible, unquantifiable elements in the industry. Hotel staff need to have aptitude, be perceptive and show strength of character in order to deliver an exceptional guest experience. Frazzled housekeeping staff or a disinterested receptionist are not the impressions of a hotel committed to customer service! It is important to remember that the behaviours and attitudes of staff are a result of how they feel about their position within the hotel. If staff are not treated with respect and feel valued, then where do they source the energy and desire to go ‘above and beyond’ for a guest?

Training for excellence empowers staff, at all levels, to understand the importance of maintaining a customer-centric culture. It is essential to include elements like, having empathy, managing guests’ emotions and building a rapport. It is difficult for any staff member to truly feel like they can act on their initiative if there is a culture of always having to ‘check with my manager’ before resolving a guest’s problem with a creative solution. Processes need to be simple and some autonomy needs to be defined in order to deliver an excellent guest experience. Rewards for having a guest-centric approach or sharing a useful, creative idea are an effective way to incentivise this way of thinking and valuing staff effort. The aim is that all staff can do their job with ultimate efficiency, genuine smiles, take ownership of guest requests and take pride in delivering ‘above and beyond’ as their normal level of service.

Make an emotional connection

It is this personal connection people feel towards the best hotels that mark them out as truly exceptional. It is the warmth of the hospitality felt at check-in that makes the connection, not the size of the floral display. It is the concierge who recommends the wonderful local restaurant ‘that only the locals visit’ and surprises with last minute tickets to the opera that make guests feel informed, excited and interested. Guests are reassured by a hotel that consistently fulfils their expectations and can relax in its care. It is important to enable guests to feel that their feedback is a gift gratefully received and heard.

The ultimate guest experience is realised when the guests' emotional needs are met. This means different things to each individual and requires skilled, dedicated staff to maintain this level of service. But memories are created by those strong emotional connections, then those memories are shared and become repeat business and recommendations to others.

“People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

“Language reflects the social condition of our identities as either men or women”, or “Language helps to construct and shape our gender identities”. Which account best describes the relationship between language and sex/gender identity?

The prominence of the question has arisen comparatively recently, alongside the increased politicization of women’s movements. Most of the research being referred to today was initiated in the 1970s. Despite its modernity, the debates surrounding the language and gender issue have already attained substantial significance.

There are a plethora of theories and counter-theories surrounding the ‘creation or reflection’ hypotheses. In a typically interlinked fashion, these arguments broadly emulate the accepted three main strands of feminism itself. The progression from liberal, through radical, to deconstructionist feminism is akin to the concepts of language reflecting, or creating, to the most recent mutually supportive theory.

Obviously this over-simplifies the process, as many linguists, psychologists and sociologists align themselves with one particular strand of either category and there are complexities crucial to each one. This discussion hopes to encompass at least some of these intricacies under three borrowed classifications; silence and speech, naming and representation, and dominance and difference. (From Cameron, 1991.)

‘Based on your current and previous experience with either Nursery or pupils in Key Stage2, identify and evaluate the key factors involved in differentiation in the classroom.

The issue of differentiation is deceptively complex. Initial considerations relating to lesson planning, particularly from the National Curriculum, encourage a concentration on subject matter, age and ability levels as the main differentials. While undoubtedly important, it quickly becomes clear that these are not the only elements within the differentiation question. Continued first hand classroom experience, background research and observation of experienced teachers combine to construct the intricately woven layers which affect the plethora of decisions made in the classroom. As Schmidt (1961:58, from Moyles, p.219) reminds us, teaching children is,

“a complex…activity…It is directed by complex organisms – human beings. The recipients of the teaching activity are complex individuals, students, whose characteristics are undergoing continuous and complex change.”

It could reasonably be argued that the ideal situation would involve a unique curriculum and range of teaching strategies for each individual child. Only with this degree of specificity would it be possible to encompass all the possible needs of each child. Within a comprehensive state system, this is obviously impossible. But it is increasingly important not to allow the pressures of a prescriptive curriculum to erase this commitment to the individual within the system. As Moyles (1997:p.35) summarises,

“Dealing with individual needs is not simply a matter of considering a child’s learning needs but of understanding ‘where they are’ physically, socially and emotionally as well.”

The relationship between a pupil and their teacher is of tremendous importance to the personal development of the child. At this level, the differentiation concept is subsumed by the almost imperceptible nuances of human interaction. Personal experiences confirm this idea of immediate differentiation as instinctive, appropriate reactions to each child as a person. It is difficult to articulate this immeasurable level of differentiation, but its importance warranted this brief explanation. People need safe learning environments and one of the ways teachers can foster this is by building a relationship of personal trust with each of their pupils. I found this to be particularly visible in the nursery classroom.

Learning styles and multiple intelligences

Brief history – Why?

Benjamin Franklin summarised the essence of this field pretty succinctly;

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Since the 1960, educationalists and psychologists have been grappling with the question of how we learn. It’s one of those BIG questions! The aim seems simple - if we can work out how we learn, we can ensure that everybody does learn. The potential application of these discoveries is complex and reaches outside our schools and academic institutions.

Teachers have always known that different methods of explaining the same concept were essential to imparting knowledge and developing skills. It’s just common sense. If people are all different, then why would everybody arrive at school with the same tools for learning? Over time, experts in a variety of fields have attempted to achieve a clear, scientific explanation that can be usefully applied to educational settings. The concepts of multiple intelligences and learning styles emerged from multiple sources of research and developed separately.

Multiple Intelligences

In 1983 the psychologist Howard Gardner defined intelligence as being an entity with multiple facets rather than a singular form. His work produced a way of identifying these different, and largely autonomous, multiple intelligences.

The 7 intelligence types he defined are; linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinaesthetic, spatial-visual, interpersonal and intrapersonal. He even posed the addition of 3 other possible types as; naturalist, spiritual-existential and moral.

This is a structured theory that identifies humans by how they perceive the world. The greatest difficulty with Gardner’s work is its application. Even assessments that have been more recently developed from his theory remain very complex, hard to measure and therefore difficult to apply in learning contexts. Do you feel like your intelligence type is within one particular segment? Spread across a couple? I’m sure you can identify which intelligence is not your type with complete certainty! What is particularly positive about this theory is his basic belief that: "It is not about how smart you are; it is about HOW you're smart."

Learning Styles

Generally people take ‘learning styles’ to mean the idea that people prefer different ways of learning and those with similar preferences can be grouped together. Most people have one or two dominant learning styles and everyone uses a mixture of different styles in order to interact successfully with the world. Some people may use one style in one situation and another in a different set of circumstances. Learning styles are fluid within individuals and there is no moral judgement placed on one being better or worse.

Where we are now

Neuroscience, cognitive psychology and other fields have provided a mass of research into how our brains actually learn, how they are different, how we can support learning. We have arrived at a point where some strategies have proven success over time and the research from different fields has become more integrated. The conclusions of which bring our current western education systems into serious question…

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." Albert Einstein

This guide is based on the two systems which are most usefully applied to your field of content creation; VARK and 4MAT. The aim is to empower you with some background knowledge about the systems, yourself as a learner and their application to your work.

New Budget Plan defies Magna Carta

Government putting themselves above the law

Tucked away on page 94 of the Budget Red Book is a plan to give HMRC a new ‘direct recovery’ power. HMRC will be able to seize money from business and individuals’ bank accounts and cash ISAs if they ‘appear’ to owe tax – without following established legal proceedings. This directly contravenes taxpayers’ right to dispute tax bills within the court system, as laid down in our Magna Carta.

In principle

This attack on one of our fundamental right as British citizens has galvanised The Federation of Small Businesses, Liberty (a Human Rights group) and The Law Society to make a joint appeal to the government to stop these plans being actioned.

Barrister Francis Hoare of Field Court Chambers produced a report on this issue for The Taxpayers’ Alliance. He eloquently summarises;

“The proposal itself is objectionable in principle. The greatest legacy of the Magna Carta is the principle that the executive is subject to the law as much as the people, and yet the direct recovery legislation places the Crown in a superior position to individuals and businesses in its rights to enforce debts. It denies access to the courts for the resolution of disputed tax liability before property is frozen, and delays a judicial remedy for an indeterminate period. Most dangerously of all, it treats individual property as the property of the state once the state has determined it so.”

This all seems to be in direct conflict with David Cameron’s speech at Runnymede last month. He was exalting the place of the Magna Carta in British life in order to justify proposals to get rid of our Human Rights Act and exit the European Convention on Human Rights. As reported in The Independent, he said;

“Magna Carta takes on further relevance today. For centuries, it has been quoted to help promote human rights and alleviate suffering all around the world…It falls to us in this generation to restore the reputation of those rights and their critical underpinning of our legal system.”

Perhaps that’s not as important as the £375 million that HMRC officially expect to collect just from implementing these new powers over the next four years.

In Practice

The new two-step process involves firstly receiving a ‘hold notice’ which freezes all but £5,000 in your account. You have 30 days in which to object but the tax office are under no obligation to reply to such objections within a specified time period. The second step is getting a ‘deduction notice’ that commands your bank to transfer your money to HMRC. All without any kind of legal hearing to defend your case or rectify any mistakes.

How long would £5,000 last your family or your business? Frightening.

The potential crises situations are obvious; individuals left unable to pay basic bills, subsequently racking up more debt and businesses forced into insolvency. Part of the plan does state that, “Having widely consulted, this measure will be subject to robust safeguards including a county court appeal process and a face-to-face visit to every debtor before they are considered for debt recovery through this measure.” That’s all O.K. then!

Most taxpayers have very low confidence in HMRC’s capability to administer their current system successfully and additional powers will only add more pressure to an already stretched government department. As Jonathan Isaby, the Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said;

“HMRC made 5.5 million errors last year, and giving the organisation powers over and above that set out in the Magna Carta is hugely worrying. 800 years ago, the principle was set down that individuals would have recourse to the courts when challenged by the Crown or by what would become parliament. Removing that protection is profoundly dangerous and we urge the government to reconsider this legislation as quickly as possible.”

The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does spring to mind here. In Britain, we are justifiably proud of our historical commitment to what is fair. Given that our rights as taxpayers to question our government’s application of the taxation law has served us well since 1215, it is heartening to know that some are still championing its importance now it has come under threat. This is one budget change that has the capacity to affect us all.

New Tax Relief for Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) fees available

As paying the training registration fee to JRCPTB is mandatory, HMRC have now agreed that this cost is eligible for tax relief. This applies to all fees paid on or after May 10th 2013. Unlike other tax reliefs, it cannot be backdated beyond this date.

It is important to consider how you will evidence this claim as the JRCPTB do not give receipts as proof of payment. We suggest that you use your PayPal confirmation authorisation code or the completion page of the online registration process as your proof of payment.

Other tax reliefs you are entitled to

There are several other tax reliefs available to your profession. It depends on your personal situation whether or not they are applicable to you. HMRC considers each case individually.

There are a whole host of reliefs available to taxpayers. We have compiled a list of some of the other most common tax reliefs that are successfully claimed by doctors.

• Examination fees for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK (MRCP(UK)).

If you are employed under a training contract then you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of sitting your MRCP(UK) and SCE (Speciality Certificate Examinations) exams. This applies to Speciality and Core trainees and can be backdated for the last 4 years – as long as you paid the fee yourself.

• Membership fees to professional bodies Trade Unions and professional journals

Professional organisations, like the GMC, may have an agreement with HMRC so that you can claim tax relief on their fee.

• Professional indemnity insurance

lf you are not reimbursed for the expense, the cost of some professional indemnity insurance can be claimed. The insurance company must be on HMRC’s ‘allowable’ list for this to apply. For example, membership of MDU.

• Training Costs

There are very specific parameters around claims for course fees and other training expenses (like travel). Basically, if training is part of your employment contract, then you will probably be able to claim tax relief on training costs. If the training you undertake is not “in the performance of employment duties”, which describes a large portion of medical training, then you will not be able to claim tax relief; despite the severe consequences of failing to maintain compulsory CPD levels.

• Work travel in a private vehicle

If you are using your own vehicle to travel to a temporary workplace, or between different workplaces, then you may be able to claim tax relief on this cost. This could be travelling to different hospitals, visiting patients at home, or running clinics at different venues. It does not mean a usual, daily commute between your home and a permanent work location. You may also be able to claim business mileage if you are placed at a different, temporary workplace for a duration of no more than 24 months.

• Buying equipment or specialist clothing

If you buy any equipment or specialist clothing that you use “wholly and exclusively” (HMRC’s words) for work, then you may be able to claim tax relief on this cost. You will usually need to provide evidence to support this type of claim (receipts, bank statements).

• Laundering uniform or protective clothing

If your workplace does not provide laundry facilities, then you may be able to claim for laundering your protective clothing at home.

• Working from home

If your employment contract states that working from home is part of your employment duties then you can claim tax relief on the costs (eg office furniture, electricity).

Good to know

• The amount of tax relief you can expect back depends on your current tax bracket. Either 15-20% of your expenses cost, if you are a basic rate taxpayer; or 40% of the sum of your expenses, if you are a higher rate taxpayer.

• You can backdate an initial tax relief claim for 4 years and you get a small interest payment on the previous years.

• It takes HMRC approximately 6-12 weeks to process a tax relief claim. This figure can fluctuate depending on their volume of work.

• Your current employer is completely unaffected as this is a confidential communication between you and HMRC.

• You may have had multiple employers during the period your claim is for and this makes no difference to your eligibility.

How to claim

There are three ways you can do it yourself:

• You can download a P87 form from HMRC’s website and complete it yourself.

• If your expenses are more than £2,500 or you already submit a self-assessment tax return, then you can make a tax relief claim through your next self-assessment form.

• You can write a letter to HMRC, including all of the necessary details and supporting evidence.

Or…

Many doctors wisely choose to enlist the help of a tax expert to make sure that they receive the maximum tax relief total that they are entitled to. Tax Rebate Services delivers a professional, fully regulated service that makes a laborious, frustrating process surprisingly simple and hassle-free. Get in touch on 01228 520477or 0845 094 0005 . If you prefer, email us at info@taxrebateservices.co.uk.