Tax / Corporation tax: a call to account?

Corporation tax has served Treasury coffers remarkably well but a rethink is in order and perhaps the key is to simplify and even reconsider current accounting standards, suggests John Whiting, tax director of the Office of Tax Simplification

Insight / Mazars announces 10% rise in profits as fee income heads to £150m

Mid-tier accounting firm Mazars has reported a 14% increase in UK turnover in the year to 31 August 2015 as overall fee income increased from £130.9m to £149.7m

Tax / HMRC and PAC go head-to-head over Google tax deal

Ahead of tomorrow’s session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is set to examine the recent £130m deal with Google to settle back tax, HMRC has published a factsheet outlining its approach to handling the tax affairs of large companies, saying it wants to ‘help dispel myths’ which have arisen about how HMRC ensures compliance among multinationals

Audit / PwC and Deloitte prominent among companies offering hospitality to central government

PwC and Deloitte feature on the list of companies which offer hospitality regularly to central government departments, according to an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) which has called for the rules and processes for accepting gifts and hospitality to be tightened

Tax / BTL landlords urged to review tax liability

Buy-to-let landlords keen to add to their property portfolios before the introduction of the new 3% additional stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on second properties in April need to carefully work out the implications of other tax changes if they are to maintain profitability, according to analysis by the UK200Group of accountancy and legal firms

Insight / College principal sentenced for evading tax on rental income

A college principal who failed to declare the rental income has been sentenced for evading income tax and ordered to repay £283,886.47 within three months or face three years behind bars

Insight / Banks and police join forces to tackle fraud as CEOs targeted

The Home Office is to set up a taskforce bringing together the banks and police to tackle fraud across the UK, as new scams such as online CEO fraud start to proliferate

Accounting / Monsanto pays $80m penalty to settle accounting violations

US agri-business giant Monsanto is to pay a $80m (£55m) penalty to settle claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it violated accounting rules and misstated company earnings relating to its flagship product Roundup, by failing to recognise revenue and expenses correctly for a special sales promotion

Tax / Vulnerable customer indicators for direct recovery of debt powers

The tax department has set out a list of indicators for what those whom it will reconsider when it comes to applying its direct recovery of debt (DRD) enforcement powers, which aim to target those who refuse to pay tax owed to HMRC

Insight / Glasgow restaurant owner takes away disqualification

A restaurant owner from Glasgow has been disqualified as a director for eight years for failing to ensure that adequate books and records of the company, Greencrescent Ltd, were preserved and/or delivered up to the liquidator, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service

Technical Alerts

9 Feb 2016

Tax / Call to cull £50 note to tackle tax evasion

High denomination, high value currency notes including the £50 note should be withdrawn in order to tackle tax evasion, money laundering and illicit money flows, according to an analysis prepared by Peter Sands, former group chief executive at Standard Charted Bank and a government adviser

Accounting / Editor’s comment: IFRS 16 Leases splits definitions

An overhaul of lease reporting under IFRS 16 Leases means that companies will have to review their complete lease portfolio to avoid an uncomfortable hit on profitability, says Sara White

Audit / FCA internal audits show deficiencies remain

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) continues to have deficiencies in the way in which it handles crisis management, external communications and market sensitive issues according to the Treasury select committee’s review of the regulator’s internal audits, with MPs vowing to keep a ‘close eye’ on its performance

Insight / Top 75 firms survey 2016: merger frenzy

Accountancy’s annual Top 75 UK firms survey indicates an acquisitive mood among ambitious mid-tier firms and shifts among the Big Four rankings for the first time in years as annual fee income hits £12.8bn, and EY eclipses KPMG in the rankings. Philip Smith reports

Tax / HMRC defends accelerated payments regime with £2bn tax boost

HMRC has described the Accelerated Payment Notices (APN) regime as a ‘game changer’, saying it has collected over £2bn in disputed tax since the new rules were introduced in 2014 and is on course to raise its target of £5bn by 2020, despite recently withdrawing 2,000 notices issued in error to investors in an IR35 scheme operated by Montpelier

Insight / GSK chair to lead drive to raise number of women on FTSE 350 boards

The government has announced that Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, is to lead an independent review on increasing representation of women in the executive level of FTSE 350 companies, where 80% of directorships are held by men

Insight / FCA harpoons JP Morgan exec with £800,000 ‘London Whale’ fine

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a fined a former senior executive with JP Morgan £792,900 for failing to be open and co-operative with the regulator’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA)  in relation to some $6bn (£4.1bn) of trading losses recorded by an employee nicknamed the ‘London Whale’

Insight / KS International and Morison International merge to create $1bn association

Two international associations of independent accountancy firms have merged, with KS International (KSi) and Morison International (MI) combining to form a $1bn (£693m) entity, to be known as Morison KSi 

Technical Alerts

8 Feb 2016

Insight / EY ousts KPMG from number three spot in Top 75 Firms survey

For the first time, EY has pushed Big Four rival KPMG out of the number three slot in the annual Accountancy Top 75 accounting firms survey, hitting annual fee income of £2.01bn while the top 75 firms in the UK generated a record £12.8bn in revenues

Insight / One in three accountants looking for a new job as pay rises disappoint

More than a third of accountants are actively looking for a new job and many are considering moving abroad to achieve a better work life balance and higher pay, and this is likely to rise in the next 12 months, according to research from global jobs board CareersinAudit.com

Audit / HBOS-KPMG: looking beyond the audit

Public and regulatory scrutiny is increasingly on auditors but perhaps it is time that the framework within which they operate shares the spotlight too, suggests Ross Dixon, partner at Hickman & Rose

Tax / HMRC denies self assessment hack attack

HMRC has refuted claims that it has been the target of deliberate hacking attacks organised by criminals during the run-up to the self assessment filing deadline, but says phishing attempts have been used to divert refunds due to taxpayers

Tax / ATT slams company distribution rules as burdensome and confusing

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) has sounded a warning that HMRC’s plans to change current distributions rules to prevent company owners from converting income into capital in order to circumvent new rules on dividends, saying the proposed approach risks adding to the burden for both taxpayers and the tax authority itself, because of a lack of clarity

Insight / Acquisitive Baldwins takes on four more firms

Midlands firm Baldwins is continuing its expansion after almost doubling its size in the last 12 months with the acquisition of four more offices across the Midlands, with the latest acquisitions completed in a single week and a further deal anticipated in the next few days

Tax / HMRC issues warning over contractor loan tax avoidance schemes

As part of what it describes as a ‘relentless’ effort to crack down on tax avoidance, HMRC has put out two publications highlighting problems with contractor loan schemes and misleading claims from scheme promoters, in a bid to deter taxpayers from any involvement

Tax / Lords committee give draft Finance Bill final look

This afternoon sees HMRC and Treasury officials give evidence in the final session of the Lords economic affairs select committee inquiry into the Finance Bill 2016, which is focusing on whether the measures proposed in the draft Bill contribute to the simplification of the personal tax system and their impact on the compliance burdens of individual taxpayers

Tax / MP challenges tax deductible fines for banks

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, has written to the Chancellor over concerns that banks might be able to offset the costs of fines, and other penalty payments required by regulators, against their corporation tax bill, a move he describes as ‘wholly unacceptable’

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