Tax / Etherington: what's driving decline in use of tax paying trusts

With the number of tax paying trusts in serious decline, has Britain just fallen out of love with trusts or are complex tax rules and related risks driving behaviour, asks Chris Etherington CTA, private client partner at RSM

Tax / Lack of transparency on overseas property valued at £56bn

Over £56bn of properties in England and Wales are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens according to analysis by Global Witness, which is calling for faster government action on beneficial ownership registers

Accounting / PwC probe finds £5.6bn of accounting errors at Steinhoff

A probe by PwC into accounting irregularities at South African retail giant Steinhoff International, which owns Poundland in the UK, has uncovered some €6.6bn (£5.6bn) of errors over an eight-year period

Accounting / Sub-postmasters win first trial over accounting IT issues

A group of over 500 former sub-postmasters (SPMs) have won an important first step in a series of trials relating to claims that the Post Office incorrectly and unfairly held them responsible for accounting discrepancies, which they held were due to failings with the Post Office’s Horizon IT system

Tax / Scottish government consults on devolved tax policy framework

The Scottish Government is consulting on a new approach to the planning, management and implementation of the fully devolved taxes in Scotland, with the aim of bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the process, and broader engagement with taxpayers and the accountancy profession

Tax / Hong Kong leapfrogs UK for offshore company registrations

Hong Kong has toppled the UK as the top international financial centre (IFC) for global corporate services, while the trend towards moving business to onshore and mid-shore jurisdictions continues to increase, according to research by Vistra

Insight / Risk proofing M&As for tax liabilities

Leon Steenkamp provides practical guidance on how tax insurance can be used to mitigate tax risks arising from group restructurings, and mergers and acquisitions

15 Mar 2019

Insight / How can accounting firms improve their brand image?

The Big Four audit firms have strong identities and take brand seriously, but outside the top tier, accounting firms project a fairly autonomous image and do not differentiate themselves. David Shalam, creative director at Studio 2br provides five tips for building a brand that stands out

Insight / Interserve faces administration as rescue talks fail

Outsourcing giant Interserve is expected to go into administration after the company’s shareholders voted against a rescue plan

Tax / HMRC wins battle to tax Lehman Brothers interest payments

HMRC has won a longstanding legal challenge over whether or not PwC as administrators to collapsed bank Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (LBIE) should deduct income tax from some £5bn of interest payable to creditors, after the Supreme Court ruled in its favour

Tax / April payslip changes: are you ready?

Richmal Price, payroll expert at employment law specialist Peninsula, answers five of the most frequently asked questions about payslip changes effective from 6 April 2019

Insight / Number of UK millionaires drops 16%

The number of people in the UK earning more than £1m per year has dropped from 19,000 in 2015/16 to 16,000 in 2016/17, with the introduction of the EU bankers’ bonus cap playing a key role, according to UHY Hacker Young

Insight / People in the news: BDO, Grunberg & Co, CFW

This week's news of professional moves in the sector includes four partner appointments at BDO across various teams and offices, a trainee joins Grunberg & Co and CFW chartered accountants appoints an equity partner and associate partner

Insight / BEIS to hold webinar on accounting and audit requirements post-Brexit

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is to hold a webinar on Tuesday 19 March at midday informing businesses of accounting and audit changes and how to operate legally in the EU in the event of a no deal Brexit

Insight / FTSE 350 boards challenged over ‘one and done’ female diversity

The Investment Association (IA) and the Hampton-Alexander review have written to 69, or one in five, of the FTSE 350 companies, challenging them about the lack of gender diversity on their boards, with suggestions their approach is ‘tokenistic’

Insight / Bans for disqualified director and stooge boss

A previously disqualified director has been banned for a second time after illegally running a Yeovil restaurant using former colleague as a stooge boss, with both of them remiss in paying tax and filing tax returns during the period it was in operation

Audit / MPs want ‘step change’ in local body auditing transparency

More than one in five local public bodies do not have proper arrangements in place to secure value for money for taxpayers, and some are also not putting enough information in the public domain about their performance, including reports from their external auditors, a public accounts committee (PAC) inquiry has highlighted

Tax / Call for ‘weekly national allowance’ to replace income tax allowance

There are calls for the government to abolish the income tax personal allowance, which was confirmed as £12,500 in the Spring Statement, and replace it with a weekly cash payment of £48 to all adults earning under £12,500 in a bid to lift 200,000 families out of poverty

Insight / Lack of funding for cyber security for government online services

Despite the importance of the digital economy and the move to online services such as Making Tax Digital, the government does not have a sufficiently clear strategy for ensuring cyber security and may not have allocated sufficient funds to its five-year action programme, the National Audit Office (NAO) is warning

Technical Alerts

14 Mar 2019

Insight / Economic trends: policymakers start to grasp gloomier outlook

The UK economic outlook has darkened with risks shifting increasingly to the downside. Importantly, Brexit uncertainty plays an important part in this, but is by no means the only factor, says Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit

Tax / Perfect VAT storm is coming, that’s a certainty post-Brexit

Ongoing Brexit negotiations continue to generate uncertainty, but what is clear is that UK businesses are heading towards a perfect VAT storm when Making Tax Digital and Brexit VAT changes collide, warns Ian Carpenter, partner and head of indirect tax at RSM

Tax / One in four businesses aware of corporate criminal offence for tax evasion

Just a quarter of businesses are aware of tough new corporate criminal offences relating to activity which is seen to facilitate tax evasion and only 8% have carried out training in this area

Tax / Call for withdrawal of probate ‘tax’

The government’s decision to hike probate fees to over £6,000 for large estates means the charge is now classified as a new tax, and the Treasury is facing calls for the move to be debated as part of the Finance Bill

Audit / Financial Reporting Lab seeks views on future projects

Just a week after news that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is to be disbanded, its financial reporting lab is seeking views on the reporting topics that it should select for its projects over the next few years

Insight / FRC sets date for Women in Finance mentoring event

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will be holding a Women in Finance networking event focusing on sponsorship and mentoring to disucss ways to increase the representation of women at the senior level of accounting firms

Insight / Capita back in profit after first year of turnaround

Outsourcing giant Capita, which a year ago signalled it needed to reorganise its finances after issuing a profits warning and a £680m rights issue, has now announced a return to profit as it completed its first year of a major overhaul of its operations

Audit / EU agrees framework for whistleblower protection

The European Parliament and member states have reached a provisional agreement on a set of rules that will guarantee a high level of protection for whistleblowers who report breaches of EU law in a range of areas, including anti-money laundering, fraud and corporate taxation

Insight / Hentons extends national reach with London merger

Leeds based accountancy and advisory firm Hentons is merging with London specialist music industry practice C C Panayi & Co, whose clients include four times Brits winner Emeli Sandé, as part of its national expansion plans

Audit / NAO consults on code of practice for local auditors

The National Audit Office (NAO) is consulting on an update to the code of audit practice for auditors of local public bodies, to be introduced next year

Technical Alerts