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IR35 extended to the private sector

As expected the chancellor announced the extension of IR35 to the private sector.

As expected the chancellor announced the extension of IR35 to the private sector.


As expected, the chancellor has gone forward with the extension of the off-payroll working rules (IR35) to the private sector. But after some recent legal cases and issues with checking employment status for tax, made it clear that there was a need to proceed with care, the implementation date has been put back to April 2020 and the change affects large and medium-sized businesses only.


The IR35 rules are as follows:

  • Businesses will be responsible for assessing an individual’s employment status.
  • The reform will not apply to the smallest 1.5 million businesses, and the large and medium businesses to which it will apply will be given longer to adjust, with the changes being introduced in April 2020.
  • From 6 April 2020, medium and large businesses will need to decide whether the IR35 rules apply to an engagement with individuals who work through their own company.
  • Where it is determined that the rules do apply, the business, agency or third party that pays the individual’s company will need to deduct income tax and employee NICs and pay employer NICs.
  • HMRC will not carry out targeted campaigns into previous years when individuals start paying employment taxes under IR35 for the first time following the reform, and businesses’ decisions about whether their workers fall within the IR35 rules will not automatically trigger an enquiry into earlier years.
  • HMRC continues to work with stakeholders to identify improvements to checking employment status for tax and issuing wider guidance to ensure the reform meets the needs of the private sector. Enhancements will be tested with stakeholders, operational and legal experts before implementation.
  • A further consultation on the detailed operation of the reform will be published in the coming months, and will inform the draft Finance Bill legislation that is expected to be published in summer 2019.


Some of the recent legal cases that gave the government pause on its originally proposed extension of IR35 to the entire private sector include the following.


MDCM Ltd v HMRC, 19 March 2018

Construction contractor Mark Daniels won his appeal over a contract covering the 2012/13 and 2013/14 tax years. During this time, his services were engaged by Structure Tone Limited (STL) via Solutions Recruitment Limited. HMRC argued that the engagement amounted to a contract of employment between Daniels and STL.

The judgment suggests that a contractor who is not controlled, is paid a daily rate, has no notice period or benefits, and is not part and parcel, should not be caught by the IR35 rules.


Although good news for the contractor, an examination of the judgment suggests that some case law was given limited consideration, which could leave the door open for an appeal to the upper tribunal by HMRC.


MDCM Ltd v HMRC: key factors

As with many recent IR35 cases, control was the key factor, with the tribunal ruling there was insufficient evidence to support HMRC’s claim that Daniels was controlled by STL.


Other key factors impacting Daniels’ IR35 status, according to the tribunal, included the following:

  • There was no requirement for either party to give notice to terminate the contract.
  • Daniels wasn’t considered to be integrated into the STL business.
  • Daniels was required to pay his own expenses.


MDCM Ltd v HMRC: substitution

Although Daniels won his case, the tribunal deemed there to be a mutuality of obligation (MOO) between himself and STL. It also found he was required to provide personal services to STL, as he wasn’t permitted to provide a substitute for his services.


While Daniels’ contract with Solutions Recruitment supposed a valid substitution clause, the tribunal found that this was unenforceable in practice. Furthermore, when Daniels gave notice that he wouldn’t be on site, STL would call Solutions Recruitment and request a substitute. The tribunal accepted the evidence that Daniels was never asked to provide a substitute, nor entitled to do so.


Jensal Software Ltd v HMRC, 16 May 2018

The tribunal verdict for Jensal Software Limited v HMRC was another IR35 tribunal victory for a contractor that has resulted in considerable embarrassment for HMRC. Throughout the case, HMRC demonstrated a loose grasp of the legislation it is supposed to police.


IT contractor Ian Wells successfully appealed a tax bill exceeding £26,000 relating to a succession of contracts during the 2012/13 tax year. Wells provided his services through his company, Jensal Software Ltd, to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) via recruitment agency Capita.

  • All employment status indicators pointed away from a contract of employment.
  • The taxman’s flawed interpretation of mutuality of obligation was disregarded by the judge.
  • Experts called HMRC’s decision-making and integrity into question.
  • HMRC’s poor defence demonstrated that the taxman does not understand IR35.


Jensal Software Ltd v HMRC: control

HMRC relied heavily on evidence provided by DWP officials, who noted that Wells was required to give feedback on the progress being made throughout the project. It also argued that Wells was expected to come to work each day.


However, Wells demonstrated that he had full autonomy over the work completed and noted that he regularly worked offsite under his own volition. This was confirmed by project colleague Andrew Lemon, who noted that Wells managed his own time and location around the demands of the role.


The judge made a clear distinction between the progress updates that Wells was required to deliver and the degree of control that employees are subject to, and concluded that the degree of control exercised didn’t constitute a contract of employment.


Jensal Software Ltd v HMRC: substitution

Much debate centred around the substitution clause in the contract between Jensal and Capita. HMRC argued that the clause wasn’t exercised and that the DWP would need to check the credentials of any substitute.


The judge acknowledged there was some restriction on the right of substitution but was satisfied the clause pointed away from an employment contract. She gave no weight to the fact that the clause wasn’t exercised, which could set a precedent for future cases.


Wells acknowledged that he had sought a substitution clause to comply with the legislation – an admission that might have indicated the clause was a sham, and duly flagged up by HMRC. However, the judge stated that Wells’ reasoning for inserting a substitution clause didn’t negate the existence of the right.


Jensal Software Ltd v HMRC: mutuality of obligation

The taxman argued that a hypothetical contract of employment existed between Wells and the DWP, based on the ‘obligation on the DWP to provide work and for Mr Wells to perform that work in return for a consideration’.


Critically, the judge rejected this interpretation, concluding: 'Although there is MOO [mutuality of obligation], it does not, in my view, extend beyond the irreducible minimum, nor does it demonstrate that the relationship was one of a contract of employment.'

Any good news for landlords?

Landlords have had a rough ride in recent Budgets. Do they have any reason to smile this time?

Landlords have had a rough ride in recent Budgets. Do they have any reason to smile this time?


Since the changes in the residential property taxation, landlords were badly hit with additional stamp duty and interest claim restrictions and so on.


Higher stamp duty land tax (SDLT)

Since 1 April 2016 landlords have to pay an extra 3% in Stamp Duty Land Tax if they are buying an additional residential property. This means a house of worth £300,000 does cost an additional SDLT of £9,000 as compared to what was payable before 1 April 2016. HMRC SDLT calculator can be used before purchasing any residential property to calculate the SDLT payable.  


Finance cost restrictions

Since 6 April 2017, landlords are no longer able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income to arrive at their property profits. Instead they receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability for their finance costs.

Landlords are able to obtain relief as follows:

                                                 Finance cost allowed                      Finance cost allowed

                                                  in full                                               at basic rate

Year to 5 April 2017                   100%                                                 0%
Year to 5 April 2018                   75%                                                   25%
Year to 5 April 2019                   50%                                                   50%
Year to 5 April 2020                   25%                                                   75%
Year to 5 April 2021                   0%                                                     100%.


Finance costs include mortgage interest, interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred when taking out or repaying mortgages or loans. No relief is available for capital repayments of a mortgage or loan. You may find these examples useful for understanding how do these changes impact on your clients’ tax position.


The following won’t be affected by the introduction of the finance cost restriction: 

  • UK resident companies
  • non-UK resident companies
  • landlords of furnished holiday lettings.


This rate restriction pushes more landlords into the higher rates of tax and make the renting properties business uneconomical.


Capital gain tax (CGT)

From 6 April 2016, capital gain tax rates have been reduced to 10% and 20% for individuals. However CGT payable on residential property and carried interest is still 18% and 28%, so the reduction does not benefit at all for the gains made on the disposal of residential properties.


For UK residents, there is another change in for payments of CGT for disposals made on or after 6 April 2020.


The general rule will be that a return in respect of the disposal must be delivered to HMRC within a ‘payment window’ of 30 days following the completion of the disposal, and a payment on account made at the same time.


This is similar to the current system of stamp duty land tax payments, when a property is acquired. The self-assessed calculation of the amount payable on account takes into consideration unused losses brought forward or in the same tax year and the person’s annual exempt amount. Whereas any anticipated losses on future disposals cannot be taken into account. The rate of tax for individuals is determined after making a reasonable estimate of the amount of taxable income for the year.


HMRC’s policy paper can be accessed here.


Council tax on empty properties

Since 2013, councils were given powers to charge a 50% premium on Council Tax bills on long term empty homes and vast majority of councils currently apply a 50% premium on long-term empty homes. The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill 2017-19 is in the process of getting Royal Assent. It is anticipated that councils will be able to charge 100% premiums from April 2019, 200% premiums from April 2020 and 300% premiums from 2021. The current states of the bill can be seen on


Business property relief (BPR)

Business property relief provides relief from inheritance tax (IHT) on the transfer of relevant business assets as highlighted in section 105 of IHTA 1984. However, if a business which only generates investment income will not attract BPR, so a residential or commercial property letting business is not eligible to claim this relief.


Another point to consider is the investments in real estate might provide a good appreciation over a period of time but it is not liquid cash which is easily available for its disposal if a need arrives.


Access to properties for broadband

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is seeking views on proposals to make it easier for commercial and residential tenants to access high quality and reliable broadband. On 29 October 2018, it has launched a consultation for the following proposals:

  • amending the Electronic Communications Code to place an obligation on landlords to facilitate the deployment of digital infrastructure when they receive a request from their tenants
  • enabling communications providers to use magistrates courts to gain entry to properties where a landlord fails to respond to requests for improved or new digital infrastructure.


Landlords can participate in this consultation before 21 December 2018.


Capital gains tax: letting relief

Reforms due from April 2020.

Reforms due from April 2020.


From April 2020 the government will reform lettings relief so that it only applies in circumstances where the owner of the property is in shared occupancy with the tenant.


The final period exemption will also be reduced from 18 months to nine months. The government will consult on these changes.


There will be no changes to the 36 months final period exemption available to disabled people or those in a care home.

Crackdown on tax abuse for insolvent companies

Move expected to produce an extra £185million in taxes for the government.

Move expected to produce an extra £185million in taxes for the government.


From 6 April 2020, the government will change the rules so that when a business enters insolvency, more of the taxes paid in good faith by its employees and customers, but held in trust by the business, go to fund public services as intended, rather than being distributed to other creditors.


Currently, many creditors have a higher priority claim on the assets of an insolvent and so the budget announced that from April 2020, HMRC will have greater priority to recover taxes paid such as value added tax, Pay-As-You-Earn income tax, employee national insurance contributions and construction industry scheme deductions. This will help to ensure that an extra £185m in taxes already paid each year reaches the government.


In addition, following Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2019-20, directors and other persons involved in tax avoidance, evasion or phoenixism will be jointly and severally liable for company tax liabilities, where there is a risk that the company may deliberately enter insolvency.

Create an ASA now and beat the MTD rush

HMRC’s new Agent Services Account is about to add key services.

HMRC’s new Agent Services Account is about to add key services.


ACCA is encouraging members to register for the new Agent Services Account (ASA) now rather than leaving it until the inevitable rush in the new year. Because of the start of MTD for VAT from April, accountants will need to be fully conversant with the ASA, so sooner rather than later is our advice.


Registration is very straightforward, although members may have been put off in the past because of the relatively few services currently available under the ASA. However, the list of services will constantly be updated, and registering now will put members ahead of the game and avoid any possible delays caused by leaving registration until 2019.


ASA services currently available

You can use your ASA to act on behalf of your clients to:


This list will be updated and extended as more online services become available.


How to create an ASA

You’ll need the Government Gateway user ID and password you currently use to access other HMRC online services for agents. You will also need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which will be your:

  • corporation tax or company UTR, for a limited company
  • partnership UTR, for a partnership or limited liability partnership
  • individual self assessment UTR, for a sole trader.


You will also need the postcode associated with that UTR.


You must be the person responsible for your agent firm’s tax or administrative matters. The account gives you administrative control over your agent firm in accessing new HMRC online services.


When you create an ASA, you’ll be issued with a new agent Government Gateway user ID and password. The user ID will be required to access HMRC online.

Once registered, you’ll need to link your clients to your new ASA. Invite additional clients (new clients and existing clients who have not yet signed up to use an HMRC online service) to link one by one.


What happens to my old agent registration once I have an ASA?

A very important point to note is that you should continue to use your other Government Gateway user IDs to:

  • access other HMRC online services that are not covered by the agent services account (see above)
  • use the agent services dashboard (previously known as Agent Online Self Service).


Your existing links to HMRC will still work for online services that are not yet enabled under ASA. ASA registration will not currently remove client authorisation from your existing account, which can still be used.


Help from HMRC in creating an ASA

If you need help, you can:

ACCA’s tax guides for 2018

Browse our new range of guides and checklists

ACCA UK has refreshed its Technical Advisory library. This now contains a new range of guides and checklists to help practitioners and your clients.


The guides cover a wide range of subjects and – in response to requests from members – we have reorganised the web pages and search facilities so that all of our business topics can be accessed quickly and easily.


There are over 160 informative 2018 guides and many others available from earlier years for research purposes. The guides are regularly updated so that members will always have access to current information.


You can use these in your own business to help your staff feel better informed, while you can also share these with clients to a) help keep them informed and b) act as a marketing tool for your business.


Access the full range of guides now 


ACCA has a full range of technical resources available for members covering a wide range of topics. Please follow this link for a summary of how we can help.


IHT: changes to residence nil rate band

The value of any part of a residence that is inherited by an exempt beneficiary will be taken into account.

The value of any part of a residence that is inherited by an exempt beneficiary will be taken into account.


Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2018/19 to ensure that for deaths applying on or after 29 October 2018, the value of any part of a residence that is inherited by an exempt beneficiary is taken into account in determining a person’s lost relievable amount.


It is intended that Section 8J Inheritance Tax Act 1984 will be amended to ensure that where a residence forms part of a person’s estate immediately before their death as a gift with reservation of benefit, it will only be treated as being inherited by a direct descendant if the property became immediately comprised in the direct descendant’s estate as a result of the original gift.


The RNRB is an additional inheritance tax nil-rate band, conditional on a residence being passed on death to a direct descendant. This is currently £125,000, and will rise to £150,000 in 2019 to 2020, and £175,000 in 2020 to 2021. There is a tapered withdrawal of the additional nil-rate band for estates with a net value of more than £2m. This is at a withdrawal rate of £1 for every £2 over this threshold.


Any unused RNRB can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner. It is also available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 and assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the additional nil-rate band, are passed on death to direct descendants.

Government needs to focus on performance, not only cost, says ACCA

The headline thoughts of ACCA's experts on this year's Budget.

ACCA's experts have analysed the Budget and highlight the following key points:


Overall fiscal position

Michael Taylor, head of economic analysis at ACCA says: 'Brexit uncertainty, the forthcoming spending review and the government’s lack of an overall parliamentary majority suggested a cautious Budget today and Mr Hammond duly delivered. Despite this, better than expected borrowing numbers allowed the Chancellor to announce some increases in spending in politically sensitive areas while credibly claiming to meet his fiscal rules. He could also do this without significant tax increases, which ACCA welcomes. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) reduced its forecast for public sector borrowing by £11.6bn to £25.5bn for this year (2018/19) and by £2.1bn to £31.8bn in 2019/20. Meanwhile, the OBR’S GDP growth forecasts are little revised at 1.6% for next year and 1.4% for 2020. The 2019 figure – along with many other of today’s Budget projections – may be subject to significant revision depending on the final Brexit outcome.'


Managing an end to austerity

Alex Metcalfe, head of public sector policy at ACCA says: 'The Chancellor has committed to increase public sending in real terms, but there needs to be a shared vision of what it means to end austerity. The Chancellor rightly points to next year’s Spending Review as the time for making the big decisions for the public purse. Looking ahead, the policy of ring fencing some public services, at the expense of others, needs to end in the Spending Review. Departments, like the MoJ, have seen real-term cuts of 40 per cent. Some public services, such as prisons and adult social care, are already seeing significant pressure and deterioration. An end to austerity will require the government to take a systems approach, understanding the interactions between public services, while also focusing on service performance, not just cost.'



Meanwhile, looking specifically at tax, Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA says:

Personal allowance and 20% tax band
‘The accelerated personal allowance increase to £12,500 as well as the extension of the basic rate band to £50,000 being brought forward earlier to the next tax year is welcome. Many hard pressed individuals, who have had little or no pay rises over the last several years. This is the biggest signal the Chancellor could give that austerity is almost over.'


Tax crackdown on fake self-employment
‘It is right for the Chancellor to target those who take on work through a private company when they should actually be treated as employees and pay the appropriate national insurance contributions, both the employer and employee. However, opinion on whether the public sector IR35 rules are really working is sharply divided, and implementation from 2019 (alongside Brexit) is something that business groups have begged the Chancellor to avoid, so it’s disappointing to see this measure brought forward so soon. But these new rules should be accompanied by clear guidance and a pragmatic approach from HMRC so that those who are genuinely self-employed are not penalised and put off setting up in business. The UK urgently needs entrepreneurs and this should not be a road block to start ups and existing businesses.’


Business rates
‘We fully welcome this significant announcement and consider it to be a good start. Much more needs to be done to reduce the disproportionate tax burden which small businesses suffer around tax compliance and red tape in general. ACCA has been involved in discussions with Government Departments to find ways to relieve the burden of rates on small businesses.’


International tax reform for the digital tax
‘The OECD is already working on the new digital services tax.  The UK needs to be very careful about the design of the tax to ensure it specifically taxes the platforms in a targeted manner, should be time limited and details need to be consulted on.'

How to win MTD exemption

Making Tax Digital exemption need greater than for online VAT filing.

Making Tax Digital exemption need greater than for online VAT filing.


With the timetable for Making Tax Digital (MTD) confirmed, most smaller businesses must implement full digital record-keeping from April 2019, and those that haven’t begun preparations should certainly get started on getting MTD-ready.


There is, however, provision in the regulations for businesses genuinely unable to comply with the new requirements to apply to HMRC for exemption. The exemption for MTD is modelled very closely on that for online VAT filing, which permits exemption on religious grounds or on the basis of ‘age, disability, remoteness of location or for any other reason’.


Around 4,000 online VAT exemptions have been granted to date, but many more taxpayers than this have no online or digital capacity, and delegate the filing responsibility to an agent. Any business that is currently exempt from online VAT filing will automatically qualify for MTD exemption, if needed.


However, with MTD requiring so much more in the way of digital engagement from the business, some taxpayers will need to delegate the digital record-keeping requirement as well as the online filing. Businesses in this position should establish as quickly as possible whether they are exempt from the MTD record-keeping obligations.


It should be noted that MTD exemption is separate from online filing exemption. If the taxpayer’s agent currently files online for the business, HMRC will expect this practice to continue. It is also worth stressing that because of the way it works, the exemption on religious grounds will not be available for MTD unless the taxpayer already has it for online filing.



Although HMRC has been urged to confirm the position on MTD exemption so that businesses can plan effectively, official guidance is not expected to be published before November. It is possible that the actual application process will not be live until 2019, as HMRC needs to update its systems to distinguish between the differing levels of digital engagement.


However, there are tribunal cases on the online filing exemption which should inform HMRC’s position. The courts have so far interpreted taxpayers’ obligations to be to take reasonable steps to comply with the filing obligation, and it would seem sensible to assume that the same will apply for record-keeping. If it is not possible to ‘reasonably’ keep digital records, then the HMRC commissioners, who have the power to grant exemption, could not reasonably withhold it.


Given the comparatively low profit margins of many businesses which will have the biggest changes to make, and the disruption for larger enterprises which use bespoke business management software that cannot be made MTD-compatible, businesses should carefully and pragmatically assess whether they can make the necessary changes. They should also keep a close eye on HMRC communications in order to apply for exemption at the earliest possible moment if it is simply not practicable for the business to survive the implementation of complete digital record-keeping.

HMRC prepares to pull Welsh income tax trigger

One-week consultation on introduction of Welsh rates of income tax.

One-week consultation on introduction of Welsh rates of income tax.


The Wales Act 2014 introduces the Welsh rates of income tax, which will be implemented in April 2019. Technical changes to legislation are required to ensure the new Welsh rates operate as intended, and HMRC has produced a technical note setting out the government’s policy position in areas where the rate-setting power interacts with other areas of the income tax system.


HMRC has published the draft legislation needed to introduce separate rates of income tax in Wales. The consultation is open for responses until 5 November 2018.


New tax on global digital businesses

2% tax will apply on the revenues of specific digital business models.

2% tax will apply on the revenues of specific digital business models.


To try and ensure that digital businesses pay tax that reflects the value they derive from UK users, the government has announced that it will introduce a Digital Services Tax (DST) which will raise £1.5bn over four years from April 2020


The DST applies a 2% tax on the revenues of specific digital business models where their revenues are linked the participation of UK users. The tax will apply to:

  • search engines
  • social media platforms
  • online marketplaces.


The above have been chosen as the government considers these business models derive significant value from the participation of their users.


Note however that the DST is not a tax on online sales of goods – as a result it will only apply to revenues earnt from intermediating such sales, not from making the online sale.

VAT MOSS under a no-deal Brexit

How the VAT Mini One Stop Shop scheme will work in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

How the VAT Mini One Stop Shop scheme will work in a no-deal Brexit scenario.


The guidance issued by the government to businesses and consumers on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal covers a number of areas, including VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS).


Brexit and VAT MOSS

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the UK will stop being part of EU-wide VAT IT systems such as VAT MOSS.


Businesses that want to continue to use the MOSS system will need to register for a MOSS non-union scheme in an EU member state. The non-union MOSS scheme requires businesses to register by the 10th day of the month following a sale. So if a business makes a sale from 29 to 31 March 2019, it will need to register by 10 April 2019; and if it makes a sale in April 2019, it will need to register by 10 May 2019. Until then, business is as usual for VAT-registered UK businesses that supply digital services to EU countries.


ACCA has produced a summary of VAT in the event of Brexit with no deal in March 2019.


What is VAT MOSS?

UK businesses pay VAT via the VAT MOSS scheme if they supply certain digital services to other EU countries. To pay the VAT due on sales, they can either:

  • register for VAT in each EU country where digital services are supplied to consumers
  • use the VAT MOSS scheme in one EU country.


Currently the main features of the VAT MOSS scheme are:

  • It does not affect business-to-business sales.
  • VAT payable is based on the country where the customer is based rather than where the seller is based.
  • There is no registration threshold.
  • VAT is charged at the rate due in the consumer’s country.
  • UK businesses do not have to register in the other 27 member states.
  • Only one single VAT MOSS return needs to be filed each calendar quarter.
  • HMRC sends the relevant parts of the return and payment to the tax authority of the country where the ultimate customers are based.
  • UK businesses use union VAT MOSS scheme for supplying digital services to EU countries.


Currently there are two types of scheme:

  • union VAT MOSS, for businesses based in the EU, including the UK
  • non-union VAT MOSS, for businesses based outside the EU.



To use the union VAT MOSS scheme in the UK, your business must:

  • be based in the UK, or be a non-EU business with a fixed establishment in the UK
  • be registered for UK VAT
  • supply digital services to customers in the EU


If your business turnover is below the UK VAT threshold you still need to register for UK VAT to use the union VAT MOSS scheme.


Non-union VAT MOSS

To use the non-union VAT MOSS scheme in the UK, your business must:

  • be based outside the EU
  • have no fixed or business establishments in the EU
  • supply digital services to customers in the EU.


The non-union VAT MOSS scheme will apply after 29 March 2019 if no deal has been struck by then.


Read this full guidance for VAT and this collection of guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there is no deal.

Capital gains tax and corporation tax: a re-statement

Taxing gains made by non-residents on UK immovable property.

Taxing gains made by non-residents on UK immovable property.


Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2018/19 for disposal made on or after 6 April 2019 to accommodate the taxation of non-UK resident persons making disposals of interest in UK land, and simplify the alignment of the new and existing rules. The provisions are a re-statement of the existing law and make no change to the way the existing provisions work.


All non-UK resident persons, whether liable to capital gains tax or corporation tax, will be taxable on gains on disposals of interests in any type of UK land. The elections for the non-resident capital gains tax rules not to apply for certain persons have been removed.


All non-UK resident persons will also be taxable on indirect disposals of UK. The indirect disposal rules will apply where a person makes a disposal of an entity that derives 75% or more of its gross asset value from UK land. There will be an exemption for investors in such entities who hold a less than 25% interest. The gains on indirect disposals will be calculated using the value of the asset being disposed of, rather than the value of the underlying UK land.


There will be a trading exemption so that disposals of interests in property rich entities that are trading before and after the disposal will not be chargeable disposals where the land is used in the trade. This is likely to apply where, for example, a non-UK resident disposes of shares in a retailer which owns a significant value of shops.

All non-UK resident companies, including close companies, will be charged to corporation tax rather than capital gains tax on their gains.


Existing reliefs and exemptions available for capital gains will be available to non-UK resident, with modifications where necessary. Those who are exempt from capital gains for reasons other than being non-UK resident will continue to be exempt.


Losses arising to non-UK resident companies under the new rules will be available in the same way as capital losses for UK resident companies. Capital gains tax losses will follow the existing rules for non-resident capital gains tax losses.


There will be options to calculate the gain or loss on a disposal using the original acquisition cost of the asset or using the value of the asset at commencement of the rules in April 2019. Both options will be available for both direct and indirect disposals. Where the original cost basis is used to calculate an indirect disposal and this results in a loss it will not be an allowable loss.

Qualifying period for entrepreneurs’ relief extended

Minimum qualifying period extended from one to two years.

Minimum qualifying period extended from one to two years.


Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2018-19 for disposal made on or after 6 April 2019, to increases this minimum period throughout which certain conditions must be met to be eligible for entrepreneurs relief from one year to two years. There are special provisions for cases where the business ceased before 29 October 2018.


The periods will increase from one year to two years for:

  • Disposal of whole or part of the business, by an individual who either owns the business directly or in partnership throughout the period of two years ending with the date of disposal.
  • Disposal of an asset where a claimant has disposed of an asset used at the time the business ceased, the business must have been carried on by the claimant for two years
  • Disposal of shares where a claimant has disposed of the shares in a company, the qualifying conditions in relation to companies must have been met for three years ending at the time of the disposal
  • Disposal of an asset where a claimant has disposed of an asset used in a business after disposing of the business (a ‘disposal associated with a relevant material disposal’), that asset must have been used in the business for two years
  • Disposal of a trust business asset and the qualifying conditions in relation to trust business assets must have been met for two years.


Transitional rules will apply where the claimant’s business ceased before 29 October 2018, so that the old one year period will continue to apply to claims on disposals of assets within three years of cessation. The business will need to have been carried on for only one year prior to cessation.


Where the claimant’s personal company ceased to be a trading company (or the holding company of a trading group) before 29 October 2018 the old one year period will continue to apply to disposals of shares within three years of cessation. The company will need to have been a trading company (etc) for only one year prior to cessation.

Consultation on trusts

Focus will be on making the taxation of trusts simpler, fairer and more transparent.

Focus will be on making the taxation of trusts simpler, fairer and more transparent.


The Chancellor announced, as part of the Autumn Budget 2017, the government will publish a consultation on the taxation of trusts, to make the taxation of trusts simpler, fairer and more transparent.


The focus is on:

  • technical and administrative issues
  • the practicalities associated with disclosure and routine planning techniques
  • how current gift rules interact with the wider IHT system
  • whether the current framework causes distortions to taxpayers’ decisions surrounding transfers, investments and other relevant transactions.
Ceiling raised on small Gift Aid donations

£30 the new limit for Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.

£30 the new limit for Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.


The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) limit has been increased from £20 to £30, with the measure likely to apply from 6 April 2019.


The rules are expected to remain unchanged, so a check will be required to make sure the donations are eligible. Reasonable steps for ensuring donations are eligible under GASDS include:

  • instructing all collectors to record any donations greater than £20 (greater than £30 from April 2019) so that they can be excluded from the GASDS claim
  • excluding £50 notes from any GASDS claim
  • excluding cash donations known to be from non-individuals (for example, a company or trust)
  • excluding any donations collected or banked outside the UK
  • claiming under Gift Aid rather than GASDS when it is known that a donor has completed a Gift Aid declaration for their donation
  • claiming Gift Aid on donations received in Gift Aid envelopes
  • excluding donations where the donor or someone connected to them has received a benefit from you as a result (gifts with negligible value such as a lapel sticker are allowed)
  • excluding membership fees as they are not small donations for GASDS purposes.


Calculating a GASDS top-up

The amount of GASDS top-up payment available can change depending on what the basic rate of tax is (currently 20%).


To work out the GASDS top-up amount that can be claimed:

  1. Start with the total amount of small donations collected (for example, £200).
  2. Take the percentage amount of the basic rate of tax away from 100 (for example, 100 minus 20, which gives 80).
  3. Divide the percentage amount of the basic rate of tax by the result of step 2 (for example, 20 divided by 80 which gives 0.25).
  4. Multiply the result from step 3 by the total amount of small donations collected from step 1 (£200 multiplied by 0.25 which gives £50).


As long as the basic rate of tax is 20%, you can work out the top-up payment quickly by multiplying the amount of eligible small donations by 0.25. For example, the top-up payment for small donations totaling £1,000 would be £250 (£1,000 x 0.25).

Pensions and savings

Pensions and savings allowances remained unchanged or increased in line with CPI.

Pensions and savings allowances remained unchanged or increased in line with CPI.


The increases apply from 2019/20 and are: 

  • Lifetime allowance for pensions: The lifetime allowance for pension savings will increase in line with CPI for 2019-20, rising to £1,055,000 (2018–19: £1,030,000).
  • Starting rate for savings:  unchanged. The band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate will be kept at its current level of £5,000 for 2019-20.
  • Individual Savings Account (ISA): the adult ISA annual subscription limit for 2019-20 will remain unchanged at £20,000. The annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs for 2019-20 will be uprated in line with CPI to £4,368 (2018–19: £4,260).
  • Child Trust Funds: the government will publish a consultation in 2019 on draft regulations for maturing child trust fund accounts. The annual subscription limit for child trust funds for 2019-20 will be uprated in line with CPI to £4,368 (2018-19: £4,260).


SME apprenticeship training costs fall further

Non-levy SMEs now pay only 5% of training cost.

Non-levy SMEs now pay only 5% of training cost.


Earlier this year the chancellor announced that businesses paying the apprenticeship levy could transfer 25% of their levy funds to SMEs in their supply chain – up from the 10% allowance.


In the Budget the chancellor announced further plans to incentivise smaller employers to take on apprentices. Employers that don’t pay the levy will now pay only 5% towards the cost of an apprentice’s training, down from the previous 10% co-investment rate. This change is expected to come into effect from April 2019.


There may be additional support for those taking on apprentices aged 16-18 or eligible care leavers. You can find out more about ACCA's apprenticeship programmes, and get more information on technical funding guidance via the pages or by contacting ACCA's technical advisory team.

VAT: treatment of vouchers

Rules for the tax treatment of vouchers will be simplified from January.

Rules for the tax treatment of vouchers will be simplified from January.


The government will implement an EU Directive on the VAT treatment of vouchers in time for the required date of 1 January 2019. This will simplify the rules for the tax treatment of vouchers, especially where they can be used either in the UK or more widely in the EU. This will prevent either non-taxation or double taxation of goods or services which relate to vouchers.


Vouchers, in this context, are gift cards and gift tokens, with examples including simple book tokens, gift vouchers, and electronic vouchers purchased from specialist businesses. The changes do not apply to discount vouchers or money-off tokens.


Under current UK VAT legislation, the customer is deemed to be receiving two supplies:

  • a voucher; and
  • an underlying supply of goods or services.


The measure makes it clear that for VAT purposes there will no longer be a separate supply of a voucher. Instead the rules will be simplified so that there is only the supply of the underlying goods or services, which will be provided in exchange for the voucher at a later date.


Existing legislation refers to face value vouchers and deems the supply of such a voucher to be a supply of services. The new rules will refer to a voucher issued for consideration in physical or electronic form in relation to which a number of conditions must be met:

  • one or more persons are under an obligation to accept it as consideration or part-consideration for the supply of goods or services
  • the identities of those goods or services and of their potential suppliers are limited and expressly indicated
  • is transferable by gift.


The rules will exclude discount vouchers, transport tickets, admission tickets and postage stamps.


Existing legislation identifies vouchers for goods or services where only one VAT rate applies (single purpose) and vouchers where several VAT rates could apply because the voucher can be used to buy different products. The latter are then subdivided into:

  1. credit vouchers, where the issuer is not generally the redeemer and
  2. retailer vouchers where the retailer does both issue and redeem. With single purpose vouchers, any VAT due is paid when the voucher is issued or subsequently transferred (but not when it is redeemed). With credit vouchers, any VAT due is paid when the voucher is redeemed, whereas with retailer vouchers, any VAT due is paid when the voucher is transferred after issue and when it is redeemed.


The new rules will simply refer to single purpose vouchers and multi-purpose vouchers. A single purpose voucher will be one where, at the time of issue, both the liability to VAT and the place of supply of the underlying goods or services are known. Any VAT due on those underlying goods or services is paid at the point of issue of the voucher and at the point of each transfer of it, where these are done for consideration. VAT is not payable when the voucher is redeemed, but if the business redeeming the voucher in exchange for taxable goods or services is different from the business which issued it, there is also a supply of those goods or services from the former business to the latter.


A multi-purpose voucher will be one which is not a single purpose voucher (for example a multi-purpose voucher will be akin to credit and retailer vouchers currently provided for under Schedule 10A). Any VAT due is only payable when the voucher is redeemed for goods or services. The consideration for that supply will be amount last paid for the voucher or, in the absence of this information, its face value.


There will be a new section in the VAT Act 1994 to deal with postage stamps to maintain the current treatment.

Capital allowances – increases and a reduction

Changes to encourage investment were a theme of the Budget.

Changes to encourage investment were a theme of the Budget.


Temporary two year increase in AIA limit for plant and machinery

Companies will be able to claim £1m as AIA for expenditure incurred from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.


Special rate WDA reduction from 8% to 6%

The reduction, from 6 April 2019, will apply to qualifying plant and machinery.


New 2% structures and buildings allowance

An allowance will apply to expenditure on non-residential buildings, for which construction contracts are entered into after 29 October 2018. SBA is aimed at extending the capital allowance regime already applying to buildings’ integral features, to buildings and structures, excluding land and dwellings (mixed use buildings SBA s to be approportioned to the commercial part).


How the SBA will work:

  • qualifying costs relate to construction, improvement, conversion, including demolition costs and land alterations costs (cost of land itself and planning permissions is not included)
  • allowance is claimed at 2% pa (adjusted for longer or shorter accounting period), over 50 years, once the structure comes into use; if additional qualifying works are carried out after the structure came into use, a separate SBA allowance must be claimed in relation to those costs.
  • applies to UK and overseas structures built by companies who have interest in the land on which the structure is erected and who are within UK CT charge
  • SBA will pass on to the purchaser of the structure, no balancing allowances will arise to the seller
  • SBA does not stop when the building is demolished, but continues for the remaining term until it reaches 50 years
  • the use of the structure must be for a qualifying activity:  trade, profession, vocation, property business which qualifies as ordinary business for capital allowances, or property management business. Costs incurred more than seven years before the structure is put to the qualifying use do not qualify for SBA
  • if the building or structure ceases to be used for a qualifying activity, SBA will cease after two years from that point, and recommence once the building is brought back into qualifying use
  • each structure or building is treated separately for SBA
  • SBA not claimed is lost and cannot be claimed later
  • lessees incurring qualifying expenditure themselves are eligible for SBA. Once the leased asset reverts to the head lessor or freeholder, the person with the retained interest (lessor or freeholder) is entitled to claim SBA as long as the qualifying use of the building continues
  • for short term leases (less than 50 years) full SBA is claimed by the lessee when the capital element of the premium paid is 75% or more of the total of capital amount of the premium and value of interest retained by the lessor (which includes rents receivable). Otherwise SBA is claimed by the lessor.


Anti-avoidance provisions target the use of leases and manipulation of contracts such as revoking or revising contracts entered into before 29 October 2018 and include:

  • preparatory works connected to the structure or building commenced before 29 October 2018 (whether self-constructed or carried out by a developer from whom the structure was bought after 29/10/2018)
  • preparatory works unconnected to the structure commenced before 29/10/18 will not invalidate SBA claim.


Example 1

Company A builds a new commercial building on which the construction costs were £50m. 10 years later, there is a fire, which causes heavy damage. The building is partially insured, and insurance payments will cover £10m. The cost of rebuilding (including costs of partial demolition) are estimated at £12m.


At the time of the fire, Company A is claiming SBA at a rate of £1m per year. For the period after the fire, Company A continues to claim SBA while it decides on a replacement. If it rebuilds, it will continue to claim SBA for the remaining 40 years of the original building, while the net costs of rebuilding (£2m, taking into account insurance receipts) may be claimed as a new investment over 50 years. If it does not rebuild, it may continue to receive a “shadow SBA” on the original construction costs.


Example 2

Company A buys a new office building from a developer at a total cost of £15m of which £5m relates to the land leaving a construction cost of £10m. It brings it into use for the purposes of its trade at the beginning of its accounting period ending on 31 December 2021. The annual writing down allowance will be

£10m x 2% = £200,000 SBA each year, for 50 years.


On 31 December 2030 the building is sold to Company B for use in its trade. The price paid was £12m of which £7m relates to the land.


Company B will be entitled to claim SBA on the original construction costs of £10m, less the portion already received by company A.


Company A will have received SBA for 10 years totalling £2m. The allowable cost when calculating its capital loss on the land and building (which are a single asset for capital gains purposes) is reduced by that amount. The capital loss of £3m (£15m less £12m) is therefore reduced to £1m.


In 2032 Company B decides that the building needs improvement and it becomes unoccupied for two years during a £4m renovation project. The company can continue to claim the original £200,000 allowance because this period it is less than two years (or up to five years where the building substantially no longer exists following extensive damage). When the building is brought back into use then a separate SBA of £4m x 2% = £80,000 can also be claimed from 2032 onwards.

More support for savers

The government wants to make it easier for more people to save at all stages of their lives.

The government wants to make it easier for more people to save at all stages of their lives.


The following was announced in the Budget:


Improving NS&I’s offer to customers

NS&I will allow people other than parents and grandparents to gift Premium Bonds to a child. This, alongside a lower minimum investment of just £25 (2018 – 19:£500) and the launch of a new app, will make saving with NS&I easier than ever.


Pension dashboards

The government is taking steps to support the launch of Pensions Dashboards, innovative tools that will for the first time allow an individual to see their pension pots, including their state pension, in one place. The Budget confirms that the DWP will consult later this year on the detailed design for Pensions Dashboards, and on how an industry-led approach could harness innovation while protecting consumers. DWP will work closely with the pensions industry and financial technology firms.


The Budget provides extra funding in 2019-20 to help make this a reality. Boosting pensions for the self-employed – This winter, DWP will publish a paper setting out the government’s approach to increasing pension participation and savings persistency among the self-employed.


This follows the 2017 review of automatic enrolment and will focus on expanding evidence through a programme of targeted interventions and partnerships.

Council tax on holiday lets

Changes to business rates on self-catering and holiday let accommodation.

Changes to business rates on self-catering and holiday let accommodation.


The government has announced that it will consult on the treatment of business rates on certain holiday properties.


It is concerned that some owners of properties that are not genuine businesses may seek to reduce their council tax liability by falsely declaring that the property is available for let. To ensure that second properties are subject to the appropriate tax, the government will consult on the criteria under which self-catering and holiday lets become chargeable to business rates rather than council tax. 

Tax relief for goodwill makes partial comeback

Intangible fixed assets regime made more competitive and manageable.

Intangible fixed assets regime made more competitive and manageable


The government has revisited the intangible fixed assets regime by announcing targeted relief for the cost of goodwill (the amount paid for a business that exceeds the fair value of its individual assets and liabilities) in the acquisition of businesses with eligible intellectual property. The relief will apply from April 2019. 


In early 2018, the government reviewed how the tax treatment of acquired intangible assets could be made more competitive and manageable. Following a short consultation, it announced targeted relief for goodwill.


In addition, with effect from 7 November 2018, the government will reform the de-grouping charge rules, which apply when a group sells a company that owns intangibles, so they are more closely aligned with the equivalent rules elsewhere in the tax code.

Complete guide to stamp duty land taxes

Download and share our Guide to Stamp Duty Land Taxes in the UK. 

Download and share our Guide to Stamp Duty Land Taxes in the UK.

R&D tax relief regime tweaked

Tech investment and competitiveness remain lodestars of relief regime.

Tech investment and competitiveness remain lodestars of relief regime.


Apart from a new anti-avoidance measure introduced in the Budget, the R&D tax relief regime is largely unchanged, with a continued focus on encouraging investment in technology and improving competitiveness.


To help prevent abuse of the payable credit, from 1 April 2020 the amount of payable R&D tax credit that a qualifying loss-making company can receive in any tax year will be restricted to three times the company’s total PAYE and NIC liability for that year.


For projects to qualify, they need to be undertaken to ‘advance in overall knowledge or capacity in a field of science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty’.


As a refresher, R&D relief is given in two ways: by enhanced deduction (SMEs) or by payable credit (SMEs with no tax liability or Research and Development Expenditure Credit).


SME scheme

The amount of relief depends on when the R&D expenditure was incurred.


Currently companies can claim an additional 130% deduction of actual research costs incurred after 1 April 2015. The additional deduction is claimed by adjusting the trading profit in the tax computation.


Loss-making companies or those with no corporation tax liability may claim a 14.5% tax credit, either as a cash receipt or a reduction other taxes, subject to the new NIC and PAYE restriction.


Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) scheme

  • Companies that do not qualify for the SMEs regime may be entitled to a cash refund.
  • From 1 January 2018 the repayable tax credit (RDEC) increased to 12% (previously 11%).
  • Companies in groups can surrender the RDEC against another group company’s corporation tax liability.


Summary of the schemes – the last five years



From 1 January 2018

From 1 April 2015

From 1 April 2014

 From 1 April 2013






Enhanced deduction rate





Payable credit










Large companies





Above the line credit







SME definition

The definition of size for the purposes of R&D tax relief regime is distinct and has no link to the Companies Act 2006 definition.


A small company meets the following two conditions:

  • headcount of less than 500 staff
  • turnover of less than €100m OR balance sheet total of less than €86m.

(Companies are required to convert their balance sheet numbers to euro, using the closing exchange rates at the balance sheet date, in order to assess their size.)


Read the full version of this article now, which goes on to cover:


  • Linked and partner companies
  • How to demonstrate eligibility
  • Qualifying staff costs
  • Qualifying subcontractor costs
  • Other qualifying costs
  • Example of calculation (profit-making companies)
  • Advance assurance


Future proof your practice

Places are going quickly for our autumn roadshows! Register now for support on your digital transformation.

These roadshows will benefit anyone who works in a small or medium-sized practice – from those who have recently entered the profession to partners and directors – by providing real insight into how your firm can transition into a fully digital practice that embraces technology and is fit for the future. Choose from the following dates and locations (non-members and colleagues are welcome):

  • Essex - 19 November
  • Glasgow - 21 November
  • Rotherham - 26 November
  • Manchester - 27 November
  • Ewloe (North Chester) - 28 November
  • Birmingham - 3 December
  • Charlton (South East London) - 4 December
  • Saracens (North London) - 5 December
  • Plymouth - 6 December
  • Southampton - 10 December


Will Farnell FCCA – founder of multi-award winning firm Farnell Clarke will highlight the key steps required to make this transition and will be joined by other experts in a Q&A session which will answer your questions. Your takeaways will include a free copy of Will's book The Digital Firm.

We are also delighted that Xero and a selection of their partners – including Hubdoc, Receipt Bank, Practice Ignition, Go Cardless, FUTRLI and Fluidly – will be exhibiting, giving you a chance to get a feel for what their technology can help you and your clients achieve.

Attendance is free but places are limited; reserve yours now 



Free webinars for practitioners

Register now to watch any of our free webinars live or on demand.

ACCA UK is running a series of free webinars for practitioners in the autumn of 2018. This series of five webinars will run from the end of October to early December featuring:


UK GAAP changes and pitfalls to avoid 31 October (12:30)

Speaker: Steve Collings FCCA, Audit & Technical Partner, Leavitt Walmsley Associates Ltd


Successful R&D claims and satisfied clients 7 November (12:30)

Speaker: Denise Roberts FCCA, Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander


Self-assessment tax return problem areas and their solutions 9 November (12:30)

Speaker: Tim Palmer CTA ATT, Senior partner, The Palmer Consultancy Partnership


Buy to let tax update 13 November (12:30)

Speaker: Paul Soper FCCA, tax lecturer and consultant


SME essential Budget including IR35 5 December (12:30)

Speaker: Paul Soper FCCA, tax lecturer and consultant


Register for any or all of these sessions now. Each webinar will count for one unit of verifiable CPD where it is relevant to the work that you do.


The spring 2018 practitioner webinar series is still available on demand. Featuring webinars on FRS 102 and recent changes, practical implications of incorporating a property portfolio, Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs), IR35 & employment status, and reliefs & claims on personal taxes, you can register for the on demand version of these webinars.

Autumn CPD opportunities - across the UK

Opportunities to complete your 2018 CPD.

Saturday CPD Conferences / Autumn Update for Practitioners

These are two of our most popular events. Our Saturday conferences minimise disruption to your working week while our Autumn Updates cover the topics that matter most. Take advantage of our multiple booking discounts - details below - to ensure you get maximum value for yourself and any colleagues. Click on the course titles below to go online and book your place now.


Saturday CPD Conference Three

  • Accounting standards update
  • Making tax digital
  • Autumn tax planning
  • Tax planning for the family and their businesses.


Accounting and auditing conference

  • 3 November, London


Taxation conference

  • 8 December, London


  • 1 conference: £155
  • 2 conferences: £143 per conference/delegate
  • 3 or more conferences: £129 per conference/delegate


Discounts apply to any number of delegates from one firm. To qualify the bookings must be made together. For flexibility, you can mix and match across both programmes.


Practice seminars


Anti-money laundering - refresher and update

13 December (09:30–13:00)


Ethics, values and culture - the accountant's role as trusted adviser

13 December (14:00–17:30)


CPD: 4 units per seminar

Fee: £110 per seminar (Book both seminars and save £30 by paying £190)


Practice workshops


Guide to practical audit compliance for partners and managers 

  • 13−14 November, London
  •  4−5 December, London
  •  11−12 December, Manchester


CPD: 14 units

Fee: £495. Book up to 60 days in advance and pay just £445 per person.


Residential conference for practitioners

22–24 November, Chester

CPD: 21 units

Fee: £739

How to renew your practising certificate for 2019

The 2019 renewal process is now underway.

The 2019 renewal process is now underway. Members who hold practising certificates valid in the UK or Ireland can renew them online now. 


How to renew online

  • For individuals – to renew online, simply log into your myACCA account – you will need your ACCA membership number and passcode to access this service.  If you do not have your passcode you can request help here.
  • For firms –firms’ renewals can also be submitted online. If you are the nominated contact partner/director you can renew by logging into myACCA using your firm’s ACCA reference number and passcode.  This will be different from your own passcode. If you do not have your firm’s passcode you can request help here.


How to pay

Submitting online is the easiest and most effective way of providing your renewal and payment information securely, and ensuring you hold a valid certificate from 1 January 2019.  You can provide your credit/debit card details when completing your online renewal or you can select the ‘invoice’ option and we will send you an invoice for the fee once your renewal has been fully processed.  Please ensure your payment is submitted no later than 31 December 2018. Cheque payments will not be accepted.


If you fail to submit your renewal, or pay an invoice raised in respect of a renewal, by 31 December 2018, you will be subject to a late renewal submission penalty fee of £65.00 in addition to the standard renewal fee and may become liable to disciplinary action.


Please don’t leave your renewal until the last minute – you can submit online now.


Further information

Before submitting your renewal online please read the guidance on our website here.


If you require any assistance with your renewals please contact Authorisation at or call 0141 534 4175.