Technical and Insight
Making tax digital – what’s happening?
HMRC has published its ‘myth buster’ which highlighted the chasm that exists between businesses and their advisers and HMRC.

HMRC has published its myth buster which highlighted the chasm that exists between businesses and their advisers and HMRC. 

It has also been holding meetings around the country to further explain the policy. There is still very little detail on the proposal and this is what HMRC says in Agent Update 52: ‘The new digital tax accounts will integrate all the different information businesses already provide to HMRC into a simple, streamlined system. Instead of one big, onerous tax return each year, once a quarter businesses can check that the information they are collecting digitally is correct, and simply click ‘send’ to update HMRC. Businesses will not need to file four tax returns a year.’ 

There is real concern on the impact on taxpayers with the government's research seeming to indicate that if the proposals continue unchanged that  there could be a significant support issue. In broad brush terms; 1.95m taxpayers will need their hand held that is a lot of somebody’s non-productive time. 

You can see some of the work ACCA has been undertaking and how you can continue to let us know your views on our website.

Auto enrolment – small company and LLP exemptions
The government will publish a response to the consultation on technical changes for auto enrolment early next month.

The government will publish a response to the consultation on technical changes for auto enrolment in early March 2016 with a view to making the regulations in the same month. 

The regulations would come into force in April 2016 and would amend the existing Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) Regulations 2010, the Employers’ Duties (Implementation) Regulations 2010 and the Employers’ Duties (Registration and Compliance) Regulations 2010. Two of the main changes are: 

  • Director-only companies – it is highlighted that there is a strong case that director-only companies, where two or more directors have contracts of employment, should be given the discretion to be exempted from the automatic enrolment duty. This would allow director-only companies to, if they wish, be exempt from AE 
  • LLPs – a similar exemption to the director-only companies proposal is also proposed for LLPs. It is stated that ‘LLPs who have genuine partners [are] to be given the discretion to exempt those partners from the employer duties’.


More information is available here

Continuity of practice – a practical solution
A group of members have successfully introduced an incorporated vehicle to become the enabler of continuity of practice cover.

A group of members have successfully introduced an incorporated vehicle to become the enabler of continuity of practice cover. 

ACCA’s rules require practitioners to have a continuity of practice agreement in place – either on a practitioner to practitioner basis or within a partnership agreement – to ensure that the service offered to clients is maintained in the event of death or incapacity.

In 1975 my father, who was a sole practitioner, died suddenly and as a result his former partner was approached to help with running the practice (See foot note). However, the former partner, did not have the time or resources to be able to run the practice so – via an agency – he introduced an accountant (P) holding an audit qualification under the 1948 Companies Act (Qualified by experience). P integrated well into the practice and was found to be good with the clients and eventually made an offer to purchase the practice on an instalment basis.

Shortly after the agreement was formalised and initial payments made by P, the instalments started to be late and shortly thereafter stopped. The payments had to be funded from fee income of P but he appeared to have used this to fund his lifestyle.  The solicitor who drafted the agreement had as part of his due diligence done a bankruptcy search on P which had been negative.

However, when steps were taken to enforce the agreement a further bankruptcy check revealed that there was an order in place but it was not on the register and as a result the contract became void. Advice was sought from a City firm of chartered accountants, who provided assistance in the sale of what was left of the practice as these problems had resulted in an erosion of the client base and goodwill, although a large number of clients remained with the practice out of loyalty to the family.

The eventual sale of the practice yielded considerably less than the price in the original agreement and resulted in significant additional legal and professional fees.

As a result of other similar experiences a small number of members started to discuss the practicalities of the ACCA model and felt that on a practical basis the idea of continuity of practice was sound but needed to be workable in practice. It was felt that the one to one arrangement was problematic because it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the provider to devote the time to running another practice whilst maintaining the correct level of service to his own clients.

As a result, four members got together and entered into a multi-party agreement, which over time more practitioners joined. However, each time a whole new agreement had to be drawn up and signed by all parties. This became cumbersome and impractical so discussions took place with ACCA about the use of an incorporated vehicle to become the enabler of continuity of practice cover and thus was born the Continuity Cooperative Limited (the Cooperative).   

The company was incorporated under the limited by guarantee model as it is not intended that it will ever show a surplus or a deficit. The basis on which the Cooperative operates is to match resources with demand and thus spread the workload across a number of member providers. There are a number conditions that a member signs up to: 

  1. will not take on or approach clients of another member without prior consent
  2. will offer continuity cover up to limit of authorisation
  3. completes a form with basic information on the practice in addition to those required by the agreement such as:
    • solicitors name and address
    • name and address of commercial and professional indemnity insurers and brokers.
    • name and address of bankers.


The company holds an AGM at which wives/husbands/partners are encouraged to attend so that they can meet potential providers, so that in the event of a demand being made it will not be a strange face walking through the door at what could be a very traumatic time for the practitioner’s family. Because of the way in which the cooperative operates we have a geographical area limited to the distance members are from Brentwood, the place selected as the original base, to ensure that travelling distances are practical and that travelling costs can be minimised.

The Cooperative acts a forum for members to seek opinions, comments and guidance on various matters encountered by members in practice. In fact one member on retirement continued to be active until his death by offering to answer questions especially useful due to his 60 plus years of practical experience in the profession.

The Cooperative is funded by members making loans and each year once the accounts have been prepared, a subscription call is made to cover the costs resulting in neither a surplus or deficit. On retirement the member’s loan is repaid either to the member or in some cases they donate to ACCA’s Benevolent Fund.

About the author
Anthony G Thorne is a second generation Chartered Certified Accountant who was admitted to membership in 1975. His father qualified just after the Second World War and went into partnership with an unqualified accountant who had taken over his father’s practice in Chingford. This practice had been established in 1912. In the late ’60s the partnership was dissolved and the writer’s father became a sole practitioner until his death in February 1975.

Anthony has previously held the positions of secretary, president and treasurer of ACCA’s East London and South Essex District Society, as well as being a member of the Practice Society Committee, the Investigations Committee, Financial Reporting Committee and is currently a member of ACCA Audit and Assurance Forum. He is also a Trustee of the Chartered Certified Accountants Benevolent Fund.

The rise and rise of alternative finance
The continuing growth of alternative finance means clients will increasingly be seeking advice as to how they can benefit from this type of finance.

The continuing growth of alternative finance means clients will increasingly be seeking advice as to how they can benefit from this type of finance. 

SMEs now have an increasing number of options when considering how to finance growth, as the world of alternative finance continues to evolve. 

The Open Banking Working Group (OBWG) has recommended the creation of an Open Banking Standard that will make it possible for banking data to be shared and used securely. The OBWG convened in 2015 at the request of HM Treasury to explore how data could help people to save, borrow, lend and invest their money in better ways. It anticipates that this will create more competition and stimulate innovation in banking. 

As an open API (application programing interface) begins to take shape, the banking industry may get a clearer steer on how to fund business models which are more IP and intangible dependable, something which to date they have struggled with. 

In light of this ACCA has undertaken research looking at the impact of intangible assets on innovation and how to account for them in line with FRS102, with the results of a Malaysian pilot now available and a UK version due for publication shortly. 

ACCA has also supported a study by the University of Cambridge and Nesta, the innovation charity, called Pushing boundaries: the 2015 UK alternative finance industry report. It examines the growth, trends and dynamics within the UK alternative finance sector in 2015 and is based on a study of 94 crowdfunding and P2P lending platforms. Key findings include:  

  • in 2015, the alternative finance market grew to £3.2bn
  • the market is taking an increasing share of small business lending and start-up investment. Alternative finance business lending is 12% of the market for lending to small businesses in the UK. Equity crowdfunding is 15.6% of total UK seed and venture-stage equity investment.
  • the fastest growing models in 2015 were donation-based (grew by 500% since 2014 to £12m) and equity-based crowdfunding (grew by 295% since 2014 to £332m)
  • the market saw increased involvement from institutional investors: 45% of all platforms reported some level of institutional involvement
  • real estate is the single most popular sector: the combined debt and equity-based funding for real estate amounted to almost £700m in 2015.


Further advice and guidance is available in ACCA’s Technical Factsheet 186 – Alternative Forms of Finance

HMRC – failure to notify and penalties
Tax penalties and reasonable excuses.

Tax penalties and reasonable excuses. 

Practitioners are not under a duty to make enquiries to identify irregularities which are unrelated to the work they have been engaged by clients to undertake. 

Notwithstanding this, members may give clients information about how the tax system works so that they can consider whether their record keeping arrangements and processes are adequate to produce accurate returns. 

Deadlines
A tax penalty can apply when a person fails to notify HMRC, by the appropriate deadline, that they are chargeable to tax. Examples of obligations to notify HMRC and the relevant deadlines include those in the table below: 

Business exceeds the VAT registration threshold

30 days

Change in the VAT supplies

30 days

Company first becomes chargeable to corporation tax

3 months from when the

company’s accounting period began

Person becomes self-employed – and  due to pay Class 2 National Insurance

3 months from the end of the calendar month in which self-employment started

Profits from self-employment first chargeable to tax

6 months from the end of the relevant tax year

Investment income reaches a level that makes it

chargeable to tax

6 months from the end of the relevant tax year


Penalties are applied to ‘potential lost revenue’. This is the additional amount of tax due or payable as a result of correcting the error. 

Penalty range
The rate of penalty is determined according to the taxpayer’s underlying behaviour, as appraised at various stages between the time of the discovery and its disclosure to HMRC. 

Type of behaviour

Unprompted or prompted

disclosure

Penalty range

Non- deliberate

Unprompted - within 12 months of tax being due

0% to 30%

Unprompted - 12 months or more after tax was due

10% to 30%

Prompted - within 12 months of tax being due

10% to 30%

Prompted - 12 months or more after tax was due

20% to 30%

Deliberate

Unprompted

20% to 70%

Prompted

35% to 70%

Deliberate and concealed

Unprompted

30% to 100%

Prompted

50% to 100%



Mitigation
The penalty can be reduced depending on the level of assistance and the quality of disclosure given to HMRC. For example: 

  • telling gives a reduction up to 30%
  • helping gives a reduction to 40%
  • giving access to records gives a reduction up to 30%. 


Reasonable excuse
HMRC will not charge a penalty for a failure to notify if: 

  • there is a reasonable excuse for the failure
  • it was not deliberate
  • the taxpayer told HMRC without unreasonable delay after the reasonable excuse ended.


A ‘reasonable excuse’ is normally an unexpected or unusual event that is either unforeseeable or beyond an individual’s control. What is or is not a reasonable excuse will depend upon the individual’s particular abilities and circumstances. 

ACCA has provided guidance on reasonable excuse – tax returns while HMRC has produced its own guidance as to what comprises a ‘reasonable excuse’

Is your repayment credible?
HMRC has introduced a new approach to handling repayment queries.

HMRC has introduced a new approach to handling repayment queries. 

The beginning of the calendar year has seen a flurry of enquiry letters issued by the HMRC Repayment Credibility Team. Typically the taxpayers receiving the letters have multiple streams of PAYE and self employment income, with losses from the self employment set against the PAYE income, giving rise to a repayment of some or all of the tax paid at source. 

The letters are all generic in style with an extract repeated below: 

What you need to do know
Total Losses
Please send us a full breakdown of the ‘Total Losses’ claimed on your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year ended 5 April 2015. This should include a breakdown of the expenditure claimed that generated the loss. We also need evidence of the payments to verify the claim made. This could be receipts, invoices or bank statements. 

Please also confirm that throughout the trading period, the business has operated on a commercial basis with a view to making a profit. 

If, during our check, you want to amend your tax return, please send us the details rather than making the amendment online. This is because if you were to make an amendment online during our check, we may then open another check into this amendment. If you do send us amended details to your tax return, we will make any changes to your Self Assessment when we close our check. 

There is nothing new about this type of enquiry, indeed they have been common over the last few years, but what is different is that a central team is now dealing with the cases. Will this lead to a more consistent approach with one team dealing with these enquiries, or will it lead to a more critical strategy with a higher benchmark set for determining what is a commercially driven business? 

As a general rule of thumb, taxpayers who are able to produce robust business and marketing plans, cashflow forecasts and other supporting research, to demonstrate there is a reasonable expectation of a profit at some point, are more likely to successfully defend any such enquiry. 

Internal HMRC guidance to inspectors can be found in the Business Income Manual at BIM85705 and there is bank of case law which can also play a part in building a winning argument to put before HMRC. 

Guy Smith – tax investigations manager at Abbey Tax 

Abbey Tax is the UK's leading provider of fee protection and tax and funding consultancy services to accountancy firms. The business trades under two brands: Abbey Tax Insurance Services and Abbey+. Collectively the two brands work with over 2,000 accountancy practices throughout the UK.

Website: www.abbeytax.co.uk    Telephone: 0345 223 2727   Email: sales@abbeytax.co.uk

Landlords’ obligation to prevent illegal immigration
The government introduced further obligations on landlords and managing agents to check that tenants and lodgers are legally eligible to rent property in England.

The government introduced further obligations on landlords and managing agents to check that tenants and lodgers are legally eligible to rent property in England. 

On 1 February 2016 the government introduced further obligations on landlords and managing agents to check that tenants and lodgers are legally eligible to rent property in England. This legislation does not apply in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

The Scottish Government has made the following observations: ‘Landlords will also be required to pursue legal proceedings against someone who does not have the right to remain in the UK, which is surely the role of the Home Office and Border Agency and not private individuals or businesses.’ 

This seems to be a further measure against private landlords in England. The UK government has introduced a number of measures to ensure that landlords pay more tax on the rental income they receive and this measure requires them to carry out what was in the past clearly the role of government agencies such as the Home Office and Border Agency. If landlords or managing agents in England fail to comply with these obligations they can be fined £3,000 per tenant and face possible imprisonment. 

The UK government is introducing this scheme on what it refers to as ‘a phased geographical basis’, starting in the Midlands. The code applies to residential tenancy agreements granted in relation to property located in an area where the scheme has been implemented and applies to agreements entered into on or after the date of implementation for that area, see guidance on GOV.UK

Who can occupy/rent residential accommodation?
Under the scheme, people will fall into three categories depending on their immigration status as follows: 

(i)            There are two groups of people who have an unlimited right to rent:
(a)  British citizens, EEA and Swiss nationals
(b)  People who have the right of abode in the UK, or who have been granted indefinite leave to remain or have no time limit on their stay in the UK.

(ii)          Those with a time-limited right to rent:
These people will not fall into category (i) (a) or (b) above, but they should be able to obtain documentary evidence to demonstrate that they are entitled to enter or remain in the UK (e.g. as a result of an enforceable right under European Union law or any provision made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

(iii)         Those with no right to rent:
This category covers everyone who does not fall into category (i) or (ii) above.

This scheme does not apply to children (under the age of 18 years) which means that landlords may allow those under the age of 18 years to occupy property. A landlord is not required to conduct additional follow-up checks at the point when the child turns 18. However, when further checks are required, such as on renewal of a tenancy agreement, checks should be carried out on the person who is then over 18 years old.

Which residential tenancy agreements fall within the scheme?
The scheme applies only to residential tenancy agreements first entered into on or after the date on which the scheme is implemented in the area where the property is located. 

A landlord is not required to take any action in relation to residential tenancy agreements entered into before that date, or which are renewed after that date if the renewed agreement will be between the same parties and there has been no break in the tenant’s right to occupy the premises. 

The scheme only applies to residential tenancy agreements which allow someone to take up occupation as their only or main home.

Holiday accommodation
If the letting is for a short time period and it is clear that the occupiers intend to use the premises for leisure related purposes and will not remain in the property after this period, then the landlord may conclude that the property is to be used as holiday accommodation and there is no need to conduct right to rent checks. 

As a guide, the Home Office would consider that bookings of three months or more may indicate that a person is using the accommodation for a purpose other than leisure purposes, and could be intending to use the accommodation as their only or main home. 

However, right to rent checks should be considered if the booking is open ended or the initial booking was time limited but has subsequently been extended on one or more occasions such that the occupier appears to be using the premises as their only or main home. 

Excluded agreements
Some types of property and residential tenancy agreements are excluded from the scheme, such as the following: 

(a)  Accommodation involving local authorities (usually in circumstances where the accommodation is arranged by a local authority).
(b)  Social housing
(c)  Care homes, hospitals and hospices and continuing healthcare provision
(d)  Hostels and refuges
(e)  Tied accommodation
(f)    Student accommodation
(g)  Mobile homes
(h)  Long leases (for a term of seven years or more).

The above are just headings, there are detailed rules relating to all of the above exemptions and landlords should refer to those when they consider they may apply. 

Penalties
In general, responsibility under the scheme lies with the landlord (i.e. the person who authorises the occupation of accommodation by the occupier in return for the payment of rent). 

However, there are three common situations when these responsibilities may be transferred to another person as follows: 

  • an occupier who sub-lets all or part of their accommodation to a person for money will in effect become a landlord and in general will be responsible for carrying out the right to rent checks
  • agents who let or manage the property and who agree with the landlord in writing to become responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the scheme
  • if a landlord acquires a property with sitting occupiers the new landlord should confirm with the transferring landlord that document checks have been undertaken and retain evidence to demonstrate this. Care needs to be taken by the transferring landlord as they may remain liable under the scheme.


Cases which may result in penalties are initiated by the Home Office. The process incorporates the following steps: 

  • the Home Office issue a Referral Notice to the landlord
  • the landlord will then be sent an information request giving the opportunity to present further information and evidence to the Home Office
  • if the Home Office decides the landlord is liable for a civil penalty they will issue a civil penalty notice. If a landlord is not found liable for a civil penalty, they will be issued with a no action notice
  • a landlord who has been issued with a civil penalty notice may object in writing to the Home Office within 28 days
  • the Home Office will then consider the objection and reply within 28 days (to either maintain the penalty, cancel it or reduce it). If it decides to increase the penalty the landlord will be served with a new civil penalty notice which they may then first object to, and subsequently appeal against
  • if the landlord remains liable for a civil penalty of the same or a reduced amount, the landlord may appeal to the courts within 28 days
  • if the landlord does not receive an objection outcome notice within the 28 day period, an appeal must be brought within 28 days of the date by which the Home Office should have replied.


Amount of the penalty
The Home Office has a framework for calculating the penalty (which can be found in section 7 of the Code of Practice). The penalty amount is calculated per illegal occupier and is based on whether the landlord has previously breached the scheme as well as the nature of the breach. The penalty can be up to £3,000 per illegal occupier. 

Establishing a statutory excuse
There are three steps involved in establishing and maintaining a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty as follows: 

  • conduct initial right to rent checks before authorising an adult to occupy rented accommodation
  • conduct follow-up checks at the appropriate date if initial checks indicate that an occupier has a time-limited right to rent
  • make a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the right to rent.


The Code of Practice issued by the Home Office on 12 February 2016 provides details about what checks should be undertaken and how to make the report referred to above.

Fraud and cybercrime: simple steps to protect your business
Six simple steps you can take to protect your business from the threat of cybercrime.

Six simple steps you can take to protect your business from the threat of cybercrime. 

Professional services firms in the UK – including accountants – are attractive targets for criminals and, as a result, are particularly vulnerable to fraud and cybercrime attacks. 

Firms that are aware of the risks and take the necessary steps to protect themselves are much less likely to be successfully targeted, and are also better placed to recover from a successful attack. 

Post-recession, rates of fraud and cybercrime continue to increase. KPMG’s latest fraud barometer suggests that the cost of fraud in the UK has risen by 22% over the last year, while the Financial Cost of Fraud Report 2015 puts the cost of fraud for UK businesses at around 3% of total expenditure.  

Nor is it just money that is at risk. Information is an increasingly valuable asset to cyber criminals. 

Protect your clients and your business
Make sure you and your colleagues are aware of the risks and how to protect against them. Simple steps you can take now to help protect your business include: 

  1. Keep cyber security front of mind – regular training and visual reminders around the office
  2. NEVER reveal your bank account security information on a website or over the phone
  3. Require two people to set up or authorise any high-value payments
  4. Ensure your systems are up to date. At a minimum: Do NOT use Windows XP; Internet Explorer v8 or run your systems on Microsoft Server 2003
  5. Ideally do not use a free email account such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo mail, or share documents with Drop-box (unless you encrypt the document first)
  6. Do not access confidential information on an insecure (un-password protected) wifi network.


Free resources to support your business

Watch our webinar on fraud and information security (see also the associated downloads, below). 

Read our Vishing alert (and ensure your accounts/cashroom team do too). 

Request our free information security posters for use around your office 

Speak to us about your business risks. We can assist with a gaps analysis and provide practical advice on information and cyber security as well as arranging insurance solutions. 

While your professional indemnity insurance will provide protection where a breach of your cyber-security leads to a client claim, this does not address any wider costs. Our experience is that the quality and speed of breach response is a vital component in limiting damage – both in terms of operational and reputational issues. 

Our range of cyber and breach response insurance policies – tailored for accountants – provides good value protection for your business in the event of a cyber breach. 

For further information contact us on 0117 906 5001 or email ACCA@uk.lockton.com



Annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED)
In April ATED will apply to a new banding of properties, those between £500,000 and less than £1m.

In April ATED will apply to a new banding of properties, those between £500,000 and less than £1m. 

The annual charge will be £3,500. The current bandings are: 

Chargeable amounts

Property value

Annual charge

More than £1m but not more than £2m

£7,000

More than £2m but not more than £5m

£23,350

More than £5m but not more than £10m

£54,450

More than £10m but not more than £20m

£109,050

More than £20m

£218,200


HMRC is working on a new digital service for this tax and is seeking feedback from agents.

A private invitation
Access to HMRC’s ATED digital service is by invitation only. If you are interested in taking part, with HMRC support available, please send the following information via email with the subject line ATED Private Beta Volunteer: 

  • your name
  • telephone number
  • email address.

 

Company ownership and control: register implementation
Government guidance on ‘people with significant control regulations’ has been issued. 

Government guidance on ‘people with significant control regulations’ has been issued.  

Companies and LLPs will be required to keep a PSC register from 6 April 2016. They will need to send the information to Companies House with their confirmation statement from 30th June 2016. The government has provided one summary guide and three more detailed guides. All are draft as the regulations have not been laid before parliament. The detailed guides are:

  • Draft Statutory Guidance on the meaning of ‘Significant Influence or control’ over companies in the context of the Register of People with Significant Control
  • Statutory guidance to the meaning of ‘significant influence or control’ over Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) in the context of the register of People with Significant Control (PSCs)
  • Register of people with Significant Control Guidance for Companies, Societates Europaeae (SE) and Limited Liability Partnerships.


The requirements apply to UK incorporated companies limited by shares, companies limited by guarantee, unlimited companies, SEs and LLPs. Dormant companies, those who already have this type of reporting requirement, limited partnerships and charitable incorporated organisations do not fall within the regulations.

For further in depth analysis, including a look at basic obligations, visit our Technical Advisory website.

Trivial benefits
The HMRC manual changes to take account of Section 323A ITEPA 2003 sets out a statutory exemption for trivial benefits.

The HMRC manual changes to take account of Section 323A ITEPA 2003 sets out a statutory exemption for trivial benefits. Under this exemption, 'if an employer provides a benefit to its employees, the benefit is exempt from tax as employment income if all the following conditions are satisfied: 

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 (or the average cost per employee if a benefit is provided to a group of employees and it is impracticable to work out the exact cost per person) (see EIM21865)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher (see EIM21866)
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of any contractual obligation (including under salary sacrifice arrangements) (see EIM21867)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties (or in anticipation of such services) (seeEIM21868). 


Where the employer is a close company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director or other office holder of the company (or a member of their family or household) the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in the tax year (seeEIM21869). 

If any of these conditions is not satisfied then the benefit is taxed in the normal way, subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.' 

The manuals contain useful examples and a selection are reproduced below: 

  • Employer C provides each member of its 25 strong work-force with a bottle of wine at Christmas. The total bill comes to £1,000. This reflects 20 bottles of wine that cost £15 per bottle provided to each of its employees and 5 bottles of wine provided to each of its directors that cost £140 per bottle. In this case it is not impracticable to determine the cost of the individual benefit and the actual cost per item should be applied in determining whether the monetary limit has been exceeded for each employee and director. The benefit of the £15 bottles of wine can be covered by the exemption since the cost does not exceed the trivial benefit financial limit but not the benefit of the £140 bottles of wine provided to the directors. 
  • Employer F runs a call centre and gives £25 gift vouchers to employees who hit specific performance targets each week. The gift vouchers are provided in recognition of the services provided and so the exemption cannot apply. 


View the changes to the manuals and further examples

HMRC is moving its bank accounts to Barclays
HMRC’s Agent Update 52 highlights that HMRC will move its bank accounts to Barclays.

HMRC’s Agent Update 52 highlights that HMRC will move its bank accounts to Barclays. 

There has been considerable speculation over how this will impact users. HMRC has said it will highlight the changes within the next few days via the link in Agent Update 52. It is believed that the most impacted group will be those residing overseas.

NEWS
AB circulated to House of Commons Treasury Select Committee
Copies of ACCA's members' magazine circulated during the inquiry into UK tax policy.
Copies of the February edition of AB.UK were circulated at the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee during the inquiry into UK tax policy. 

The committee is looking at the Treasury's capacity to design tax policy and how the tax system should be simplified. 

Robert Bruce's column, 'The great tax untangler' looks at the dangers of political tinkering with a complex tax system 'that politicians do not always fully understand'. 

The tax director at the Office of Tax Simplification, John Whiting, and committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, have both seen the piece.
Wanted: disciplinary and regulatory committee panel members
ACCA is seeking applications from accountants interested in becoming panel members who will sit on ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory committees.

ACCA is seeking applications from accountants interested in becoming panel members who will sit on ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory committees. 

Role
The key responsibilities of the role during committee hearings are to: 

  • consider all of the information presented to the committee so that it may make a decision, based on the facts and evidence, in accordance with the relevant regulations and legal principles
  • take part in discussions with the chairman and other panel members, reaching well-reasoned decisions
  • ensure that clear and robust written reasons for the committee’s decision are recorded. 


Person specification

  • qualified accountant with extensive experience post qualification
  • able to consider and analyse large amounts of written and oral evidence
  • a team player with the confidence to think, act and articulate clearly under pressure.


Fees and hearings

  • a fee of £400 (including VAT) per hearing day will be paid. This fee includes reading the papers in advance  
  • £400 per day (including VAT) will be paid for any other meetings and training days, which panel members are required to attend.


Hearings take place throughout the week. The dates on which each panel member will attend will be agreed provisionally, well in advance, and confirmed as cases are listed. Panel members will be expected to sit approximately 12 to 18 days per year.

Apply
Further information and to apply is available on ACCA's website Alternatively telephone 020 7059 5633 or 020 7059 5804 or email ACCA 

The closing date for receipt of applications is 12:00 on 23 March 2016. Interviews will take place week commencing 25 April 2016. 

Budget special
Look out for our 'Budget special' issue of In Practice.

The Budget will take place on Wednesday 16 March and ACCA will provide a special issue of In Practice covering the key business issues. 

As part of this we produce a concise Guide to the Budget, which you can take and reuse the content (for example share with clients) as you wish. If you have not seen this before, take a look at the 2015 Guide 

Webinar: managing people through change
Join this free lunchtime webinar to understand how to manage people through change.

Managing people through change - working with Zurich

Paul Tuck – Elysian Training
Monday 7 March | 12:30–13:30

BOOK NOW 

This webinar will provide a leadership perspective on managing change in large organisations in the UK. It offers a business-based and all-round overview of organisational change that is applicable to a wide range of situations and includes a case study as an example of how change has been managed, the issues faced and the results produced. 

CPD
Budget Breakfast 2016
Join us on Thursday 17 March for ACCA’s annual Budget Breakfast.

Join us on Thursday 17 March for ACCA’s annual Budget Breakfast.  Non members are welcome too - why not invite a colleague?

The event begins with a buffet breakfast followed by a discussion of some of the key issues arising from the Budget and their impact. All those attending will receive an information pack containing budget papers and press releases.

17 March 2016 (08.00–10.15)
ACCA HQ, Adelphi – London
Fee: £50
CPD Units: 2
Book now 

Panel of speakers:

  • Chas Roy-Chowdhury (Chairman) - Head of Taxation, ACCA
  • Dean Carey - Partner, Constable VAT Consultancy LLP
  • Jeff Lermer - Jeff Lermer & Associates
  • Jason Piper - Senior Subject Manager (Taxation & Business Law), ACCA
  • Alok Sharma MP - former member, Commons Treasury Select Committee

View the Budget Breakfast brochure now for full details - or book your place now
Saturday CPD Conferences 2016
Have you booked your next Saturday CPD Conference yet?

Our programme of Saturday CPD Conferences is now underway across the country. Find the venue closed to you and book for our highly informative and convenient training courses.

Conference One 


Sessions will cover: VAT update | Essential law update | NIC, PAYE, P11Ds and benefits refresher and planning | Specialist accounting

You can also book for conference two (covering property taxes; know your rights with HMRC; Finance Bill/Act 2016 and inheritance tax and pensions) and conference three (covering tax planning for the owner–managed business; accounting standards update and two sessions left open to deal with issues arising during 2016) taking place in the same locations.

Each conference provides seven hours' CPD.

Fees: 1 conference = £142 | 2 conferences = £130 | 3 conferences = £116

Webinars for practitioners
Working in partnership with 2020 Innovation, we now provide access to a suite of CPD webinars - and a 50% discount.

Working in partnership with 2020 Innovation, we now provide access to a suite of CPD webinars - and a 50% discount. 

The suite covers a wide range of topics including:

  • monthly tax updates
  • accounting and audit
  • practice assurance and money laundering
  • practice management and development
  • updates on regulated Financial Conduct Authority businesses.


Browse and book the full package of webinars now

ACCA/BPP online CPD centre now live
We are very pleased to announce the launch of the new and improved ACCA/BPP online CPD centre.

This stylish, user-friendly platform containing over 200 high-quality online courses is a great online resource to truly Think Ahead and get the most out of your learning and development.

What’s more, to celebrate the launch of the new online CPD centre, BPP will be offering an early bird discount of 20% off their entire course catalogue, just use the voucher code ACCA2016 upon checkout. This discount expires 30 April 2016.

Explore the new online CPD centre here

 

CAREERS
Register now for Accountex 2016
Register today for Accountex - the essential event for accountants.

Returning to ExCeL on 11 – 12 May 2016, Accountex is the largest, independent, cross sector supported event in the UK's accountancy industry.

The show features all the leading industry vendors and has unrivalled CPD accredited education programme, including tax, technology, cloud, pensions, pricing and every other subject relevant to the modern accountant. The show is a 'must attend' for all accountants and you'll be able to: 

  • visit ACCA's stand and talk with us
  • enjoy free lectures on subjects including 'making tax digital', 'FRS 102' and 'Cybercrime' in the dedicated ACCA theatre
  • meet with nearly 200 leading suppliers, shaping today's business marketplace
  • keep up to date with legislation updates and new business strategies in 12 other topic specific theatres
  • be inspired by industry thought leaders, who'll predict future trends and lecture on how to improve your profitability
  • network with over 5000 industry colleagues in dedicated networking areas
  • CPD accreditation available on 150 certified seminars.


Accountex is the only event which brings all parts of the sector together, from senior partners, practice managers and accountants to financial directors and managers across all enterprises.

Registration to the event is FREE. Don't forget to invite your colleagues too!


Should we call time on corporation tax?
What happened when ACCA hosted Margaret Hodge and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax for a discussion on corporation tax?

What happened when ACCA hosted Margaret Hodge and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax for a discussion on corporation tax? 

This week (24 February) the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Responsible Tax convened at ACCA’s new HQ at The Adelphi in London for a discussion on the future of corporation tax. 

APPG chair Margaret Hodge MP was joined by: 

  • Professor Michael Devereux, director, Centre for Business Taxation
  • Simon Walker, director general, IoD
  • Helen Miller, associate director, IFS
  • John Christensen, associate director, Tax Justice Network.


This three page summary covers all the key points discussed. To whet your appetite it includes: 

  • Google’s tax settlement
  • secrecy and transparency
  • international co-operation
  • BEPS
  • fundamental reform
  • tax contributions
  • tax reliefs
  • enforcement.


Amongst the many comments made was this one from Margaret Hodge: ‘It is time to call time on tax being too complicated an issue for us all to understand. Onus is on professionals to help us understand it.’ 

What do you think?
We are keen to hear from members and ensure your views are (collectively) shared with the APPG and others. Please email advisory@accaglobal.com with your comments, which we will handle in confidence.

HMRC online meeting: digital tax service
Register now for HMRC’s free online session about the new digital tax service on Tuesday.

Register now for HMRC’s free online session about the new digital tax service on Tuesday. 

On Tuesday 1 March 2016 (12:00–12:45) HMRC is hosting an interactive online session called ‘Talking Points’ which will focus on ‘your tax account – the new digital service allowing business customers to access everything they need to manage their tax affairs easily, simply and quickly in a single secure online space’. 

It will provide accountants with an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, HMRC experts. 

Register for the Your Tax Account Talking Points