Tax / Tax claims: how to protect yourself from litigious clients

As tax rules become more complex and clients more willing to sue, Virginia Hickley, head of financial claims at Mills & Reeve examines how accountants can safeguard against claims

Tax / HMRC alters student loan repayments amid service problems

HMRC has made changes on the deduction of student loan repayments from employees’ pay with the introduction of two types of student loan, plan one and plan two, coming into effect from the 2016/17 tax year, however issues have arisen with downloading employer notices for student loans

Tax / BT broadband outage ‘illustrates risk’ of reliance on online services

The broadband service outage suffered last week by BT broadband customers illustrates the risk for firms and their clients of over-reliance on online services, advisers warn

Insight / Charity Commission inquiry into charity set up by 12 year old

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Young Pioneers, a charity set up by a 12 year old schoolboy who experienced bullying, over concerns about its governance and financial administration

Insight / Scotland calls for ‘multi-national’ UK negotiation on Brexit

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated there could be a push for a second Scottish independence referendum if the UK government fails to demonstrate that Scotland’s interests will be protected during negotiations to leave the EU following the Brexit vote, which could include finding a way for Scotland to retain its EU membership

Audit / FRC criticised over ‘inexplicable’ decision on HBOS audit investigation

The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC’s) failure to take regulatory action sooner following the failure of HBOS has been strongly criticised by the Treasury select committee, which says its original decision not to investigate the auditing of the bank was ‘a serious mistake’, labelling its response ‘inexplicable’ and ‘unacceptable’

Insight / Charity Commission removes trustees over financial mismanagement

The Charity Commission has removed all three trustees from the charity Didi New Organisation, after an inquiry found they had not kept sufficient accounting records to explain the charity’s transactions and activities, there were no internal financial controls in place and they were unable to evidence the proper end use of the charity’s funds

Tax / OECD to report on countries’ non-compliance in tax transparency

At their recent meeting in China, the G20 group of finance ministers re-iterated their support for greater tax transparency, calling for a report from the OECD on the implementation of automatic exchange of information before the end of the year, and stating that by July 2017 it wants a list of any  non compliant jurisdictions

Technical Alerts

25 Jul 2016

Audit / Report on BHS collapse slates advisers’ ‘group think’

The Work and Pensions (DWP) and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) joint select committee examining the sale of BHS and its pension scheme deficit has delivered an excoriating report, saying leadership failures and personal greed led to the retailer’s collapse, while advisers including Grant Thornton were used as an ‘expensive badge of legitimacy for people who would otherwise be bereft of credibility’, reports Pat Sweet

Audit / FRC ban for former Connaught FD over £4m loan accounting failure

Stephen Hill, the former finance director of Connaught, has been given a five-year exclusion and former deputy financial director David Wells a three-year ban, after the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) found the pair, who are both ICAEW members, failed to account correctly for a £4m short-term loan in the company’s 2010 interim financial statements

Tax / EU set to drop VAT charges for ebooks

The future of the chargeable rate of VAT on digital publications and ebooks is back on the agenda at the EU as the European Commission has announced plans for a two-month consultation with a view to abolishing the current full rate VAT

Insight / HgCapital swoops on accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg

London-based Blick Rothenberg has been acquired by HgCapital, a private equity investment platform and will sit within HgCapital’s services sector, but will retain its name and its established approach to dealing with clients

Accounting / Accounting for credit losses on financial instruments

The introduction of revised accounting treatment for current expected credit losses (CECL) will overhaul reporting of losses, says Jeroen Van Doorsselaere, IAS/IFRS expert at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Tax / HMRC contact centres slated for lack of callback services

HMRC is facing calls for more investment in improving its telephone contact services, despite the department’s commitment to ‘digital by default’, with a report from the government’s Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) saying telephony will continue to be an important medium for communication for some time and issues around call waiting times must be addressed

Insight / US regulator cracks down on auditors of fraudulent company

The US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended an accountant for conducting a faulty audit of the financial statements of a public company that was committing fraud, and the firm where he was a partner at the time has been prohibited from accepting new public company clients for one year

Insight / Fraud and computer misuse escalates as bank accounts attacked

New research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests there were nearly six million incidents of fraud and computer misuse last year in England and Wales, most of it relating to bank and credit account fraud

Tax / UK ranks outside top ten for property tax

The UK levies higher purchase taxes on prime real estate than many key competitors, and risks reducing its attractiveness to globally-mobile executives and high net worth investment from overseas as a result, according to a study by UHY Hacker Young

Technical Alerts

22 Jul 2016

Practice Development / Changing the gender balance in accounting

There is still much talk of the ‘glass ceiling’ and the dearth of women in senior positions on boards and in leading roles in accountancy however, with the gender balance of accountancy trainees shifting in favour of women, it might not take that long to change says, Kate Sayer, tax partner at Sayer Vincent

Tax / Greek islands VAT plans half-baked

Families jetting off to Greece for a summer break now that school holidays have started will find VAT rates have been increased on a second tranche of Aegean islands, even though an earlier VAT increase has resulted in a revenue shortfall, according to local reports

Practice Development / SEC appoints interim chief accountant following accident

Former PwC partner Wesley Bricker has been named interim chief accountant at the US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while permanent postholder James Schnurr recovers from a serious bicycle accident

Insight / Tax fraud taskforce lists ‘top ten most wanted’

A Bollywood movie maker who is wanted in connection with the evasion of over £4.5m in VAT and film tax relief has been named on an inaugural list of the UK’s top ten most wanted fraudsters, which has been compiled by the newly established joint fraud taskforce

Practice Development / People in the news: Grant Thornton, NAO, RSM, Addison Lee

In this week’s moves and appointments roundup, Grant Thornton appoints head of corporate finance advisory, NAO loses executive lead after six years, RSM gains a tax partner, Addison Lee appoints chief financial officer

Insight / Tax advisers arrested over £132m tax fraud over trusts

Three tax advisers have been arrested as part of a HMRC investigation into a suspected £132m tax fraud involving investment in offshore trusts

Insight / Inquiry into financial controls at charity operating in Syria

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Deen Team, over concerns about financial management at the charity, which was set up in 2014 but has yet to provide full information about its activities, which include work in Syria

Insight / ICAEW applies to regulate more legal services

ICAEW is spearheading a further push into the legal services market and has applied to become an approved regulator and licensing authority for five additional reserved legal activities, following the institute’s appointment as an approved regulator and licensing authority for probate in 2014

Tax / £93m lost after abolition of paper tax disc

DVLA annual accounts show a £93m fall in revenue in the year following the removal of paper tax discs, which is higher than the government’s previous estimate of £80m

Technical Alerts

21 Jul 2016

Insight / Big Four in talks with government on Brexit

Accountants’ expertise will be needed as the trade negotiations start following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the government has confirmed, while the Big Four are building up specialist Brexit teams to meet the demand for advice on the way forward, reports Pat Sweet

Tax / Film tax relief payouts increase by a third

Tax relief payouts for film schemes has increased by 30% as well as other fluctuations to high-end television (HETV), animation, and video games for years up to 2015-16, according to statistics from HMRC

Insight / Comment: 'little redress' for tax and payment errors after digital failures

Following BT’s broadband problems this week, Mackrell Turner Garrett solicitor Thomas Spencer considers whether firms can be held liable for fines as a result of an outage

Audit / EY ousts PwC as auditors of Wesleyan

Birmingham-based financial mutual Wesleyan has appointed EY as external auditor for the 2017 financial year, ending a 28-year relationship with PwC

Tax / Debate dates for Finance Bill 2016 set for September

The House of Commons is expected to consider the remaining stages of the Finance Bill on 5 and 6 September 2016, after it completed the committee stage in June 2016

Tax / OECD push for ‘inclusive’ tax policy

The OECD is calling on governments to adopt tax policy which encourage inclusive growth, with the benefits shared more evenly within society, at the same time as the Spanish government indicated it may raise taxes on business, rather than personal income, in a bid to reduce its budget deficit

Insight / CVR Global looks at the books for failing school

Lee De’ath and Richard Toone, partners at CVR Global, have been appointed joint administrators of Lexden Centre (Oxford) Ltd, trading as Colchester English Study Centre (CESC), after declining student numbers at the foreign language school resulted in significant losses

Technical Alerts