Category Archives: Taxation

Tax Alert – proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax and Personal Residences

Tax Alert – proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax and Personal Residences

Capital Gains Tax


Proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax and Personal Residences

Private residence relief consultation

HMRC is consulting until 1 June 2019 on changes announced at Budget 2018 and due to take effect from April 2020, which reduce the final-period exemption from 18 months to 9 months and limit lettings relief to circumstances where owners are in shared occupancy with their tenants. The consultation also considers changes to other ‘ancillary’ aspects of the private residence relief rules.

The changes are to ensure the reliefs are properly targeted at owner-occupiers.

The final-period exemption currently means that where a property has been occupied as the owner’s only or main residence, the final 18 months of ownership always qualifies for relief regardless of the property’s use. The 36-month final exemption for disabled persons and those resident in a care home will not be affected by the changes.

Lettings relief, which applies where part or all of a main residence is let as residential accommodation, will not be available after April 2020 for periods where owners move out of the property and no longer share occupation with tenants, unless covered by one of the ancillary reliefs, such as job-related absences.

The other changes being considered include:

  • extending job-related accommodation relief to service personnel in accommodation not technically provided by the MOD, but rented in the private sector as part of the MOD’s future accommodation model pilot due to take place in 2019;
  • legislating for the concession, which allows an extension of the period for individuals to nominate one property as a main residence, where they have an interest in more than one property having only a negligible capital value, and they were unaware that such a nomination could be made;
  • legislating for concession, which allows for short delays in taking up residence, such as where an individual acquires land on which they have a house built, or have alterations or redecorations carried out before moving into a property purchased as an only or main residence; and
  • reforming the rules on spouse/civil partner transfers, which currently allow the receiving spouse to count any period where the residence was occupied as a main residence by their spouse as their own, and instead treat the receiving spouse as having inherited the ownership period and the use to which the property had been put in the past, regardless of whether it is a main residence at the time of transfer.

Following this consultation, the government expects to publish its response and draft legislation in the summer.

To keep up to date with all the latest tax issues, contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward

News update extra Friday 5th April 2019

News update extra Friday 5th April 2019



IFS hits out at stealth taxes

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis has found that around 1m people are losing more than £1bn in tax allowances. The research shows that the Government freezing the salary threshold at £100,000 has seen an extra 340,000 people have their income tax personal allowance withdrawn over the past decade, taking the total number affected to 986,000. If ministers had increased the £100,000 threshold in line with inflation these people would have been paying more than £1bn less in tax. The figures also show that the threshold being frozen at £150,000 since 2008 means 110,000 extra people have been pulled into the highest 45% tax rate, taking the total to 428,000. The IFS said “stealth” taxes have moved from being the “rare exception to being commonplace.” The IFS added the “most perverse case of all” was the reduction in the pension annual allowance for high-income individuals, saying: “In some cases, people with pension contributions in excess of £40,000 can face a marginal tax rate of more than 100%,” adding that they “would actually be worse off if they increased their earnings.” IFS director Paul Johnson said: “Recent governments have, rather stealthily, increased tax rates on high earners and the number of people facing high marginal rates of tax. If government thinks there is a case for more high-income people to pay more tax, it should be upfront about that view.” Elsewhere, City AM calls for a rethink of tax bands, saying that while a “long-overdue attempt” to prevent workers with modest lifestyles from falling into the 40p tax bracket by lifting the threshold should be applauded, “static thresholds continue to trap a growing number of employees.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 8 Daily Mail, Page: 75 City AM, Page: 2

Threshold change widens tax gap

Scottish workers earning under £27,000 – which equates to around 55% of the country’s taxpayers – will contribute less income tax than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK when new income tax thresholds are implemented on April 6. However, those earning more than this will pay more than taxpayers south of the Border. While Chancellor Philip Hammond raised the top rate of income tax to earnings over £50,000, Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced in October that the point at which the higher rate kicks would be frozen at £43,430. The change effectively widens the gap between Scotland and the UK for higher rate taxpayers, who pay 41% in Scotland compared to 40% in the UK.

Daily Express

Loan charge delay call

A number of MPs have backed calls for a six-month delay to the loan charge and an independent inquiry, with Justine Greening saying: “The approach HMRC has taken has been punitive rather than proportionate.” Elsewhere, Dawn Register of BDO commented: “This controversial tax charge has not received sufficient Parliamentary scrutiny.” She added: “With MPs’ time dominated by Brexit it is hardly surprising, however the flurry of evidence and activity in recent weeks suggests that more time is needed to consider the impact of the measure.” Meanwhile, the Loan Charge Action Group has called for the charge to be forward-looking rather than retrospective.

Financial Times BBC News

Pension tax break cuts risk crippling the NHS

The FT looks at the impact regulations restricting tax relief on pension contributions for higher earners are having on the NHS, with senior doctors opting to reduce hours or retire early.

Financial Times, Page: 10

UC impact on tax credit claimants revealed

A study by HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions into how tax credit claimants coped with a shift to universal credit found that 60% of those who reported struggling financially said their difficulties began when they made the move.

The Guardian, Page: 23 Daily Mirror, Page: 2


The new tax year starts on 6th April and we have reviewed the tax changes that come into effect this April and you can check these out in the downloads below..

Personal tax changes

2019-20 Personal Tax Changes

Business tax changes

2019-20 Business Tax Changes


BBC criticised over pay arrangements

The Commons Public Accounts Committee has said the BBC’s “muddled and chaotic” handling of freelance pay arrangements caused misery and hardship for staff. The report comes amid claims the BBC told freelancers to set up personal service companies so it could avoid paying millions in national insurance, with HMRC subsequently chasing staff over unpaid tax bills. The BBC’s attempt to reach an agreement with HMRC that would see it settle all outstanding cases with a lump-sum payment is taking longer than expected, the committee noted.

The Times, Page: 48 The Guardian, Page: 15 The Sun, Page: 4

Stores hit by online rivals

The Daily Mail reflects on a report which shows that one in eight high street stores are empty, saying “ruthless competition from tax-avoiding internet firms” has taken its toll. The editorial says such firms “pay microscopic sums to HMRC” and as they operate out-of-town warehouses “they avoid the suffocating business rates”.

Daily Mail, Page: 16

Pottery firm collapses

Pottery manufacturer Dudson has collapsed, with over 300 jobs lost. Of the 390 staff employed at the firm, 72 “will be retained to support the closing down of the business”. Administrator PwC said “a deterioration in sales and increased costs” had hit the business.

The Times, Page: 48


Late payment pain for small firms

Sathnam Sanghera in the Times looks at the impact late payment has on SMEs. He notes Federation of Small Businesses analysis which suggests about 50,000 businesses fail every year due to larger firms neglecting to settle bills, while Lloyds Banking Group research suggests that 65% of firms which report their payment practices took more than 30 days to settle invoices and 21% took more than 50 days. Mr Sanghera also points to a Small Business Commissioner report showing that a third of payments to small businesses are late, 20% of small firms have experienced cash flow problems due to late payments, and that the economy would see an annual boost of £2.5bn if bills were settled promptly. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office has written to Government suppliers saying they risk being barred from future public sector work if they fail to pay subcontractors on time.

The Times, Page: 43 Financial Times, Page: 2


Sales up but dip not offset

The latest BDO high street sales tracker shows that like-for-like in-store sales rose by 4.8% in March, with the increase not strong enough to rebound from a 10.1% dip seen in March 2018. The data also shows that online sales rose 18.7%, up on the 11% growth recorded a year ago. BDO’s Sophie Michael commented: “Retailers continue to trade on paper-thin margins and the impact of further increases in business rates and staffing costs will only add to the fears of further possible high street casualties.”

The Times, Page: 42 City AM, Page: 3 Yorkshire Post, Page: 9

Hiring slows

The monthly Report on Jobs by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation shows that the number of permanent job appointments in March fell to its lowest level since immediately after the 2016 referendum. The survey of 400 UK employment consultancies found that permanent appointments dropped for the second time in three months in March and at the steepest rate since July 2016, with political uncertainty said to have played a part. James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG, said: “Brexit has been sapping business confidence for months, and now it is causing the jobs market to grind to a halt.” “With unclear conditions ahead, many companies have hit the pause button on new hires,” he added.

The Times, Page: 48 The Sun, Page: 51 Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward

Tax Alert Friday 5th April 2019

Tax Alert Friday 5th April 2019



Non-UK Resident owners of UK property need to be aware of new changes

With effect from 6th April 2019 non-UK residents must pay tax on all UK land disposals – both residential and commercial.

They must file a non-resident capital gains tax return and pay any tax due within 30 days of sale.


All non-UK residents who own interests in UK land or property need to be aware of theses changes.  Professional advisers: Solicitors, Estate Agents and Land Agents need also need to be aware so that they can provide the necessary guidance.  KSK are able to assist with all UK tax matters relating to the disposals of property and should be your first point of call if queries arise.  Prospective sellers need to be aware that they will have to file a non-residential capital gains tax return with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and pay any tax due within a very tight time frame.


HMRC will seek to charge penalties for late returns and payments of tax.


For disposals of commercial property, as the new rules only come into effect from 6th April 2019, it is only the growth in the property value from 6th April 2019 that will be taxable.  Non-UK resident owners of UK commercial property may wish to consider obtaining valuations at 6th April 2019 so as to accurately calculate any future capital gains tax and possibly avoid later disputes with HMRC.


The new legislation applies to all disposals of UK property owned by non-UK residents.  A non-resident capital gains tax return is required even where there is a capital gains tax due.  HMRC will impose penalties even for “NIL” returns.


Professional advisers and non-UK resident owners of UK properties who have any queries regarding the new rules can contact Paul Southward for further guidance.

Paul Southward


The new tax year starts on 6th April and we have reviewed the tax changes that come into effect this April and you can check these out in the downloads below..

Personal tax changes

2019-20 Personal Tax Changes

Business tax changes

2019-20 Business Tax Changes




News Roundup Thursday 4th April 2019

News Roundup Thursday 4th April 2019



Half a million over-65s pay too much tax

Around 520,000 older workers could be paying unnecessary tax on their state pension as they have not taken up the option of deferring it until they stop work, analysis from insurance specialists Royal London shows. It is suggested that those who defer can potentially get an extra 5.8% a year on their pension for the rest of their life for each year they defer. Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of people working past 65, and most are claiming their state pension as soon as it is available. If their earnings are enough to support them, it makes sense to consider deferring taking a state pension so that less of their pension disappears in tax.”

The Independent, Page: 59 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 4 I, Page: 11 Daily Mirror, Page: 24 Daily Mail, Page: 21 Daily Express, Page: 2 Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

Super-rich pay 10% IHT

Analysis of HMRC data following a freedom of information request by asset manager Canada Life shows that estates worth £10m or more paid an average of 10% inheritance tax in the 2015/16 tax year compared with 20% tax paid by estates worth £2m to £3m. Neil Jones, market development manager at Canada Life, said the richest people often had access to “myriad potential solutions in an adviser’s kitbag” to help mitigate IHT, adding that the difference in net tax rates “isn’t always down to the value of the estate or the type of assets held … It’s often about a willingness to plan.”

The Guardian, Page: 35

EU: Britain gave illegal tax breaks to multinational firms

The European Commission has ruled that a tax scheme introduced in 2012 by then -chancellor George Osborne gave illegal tax breaks to some multinational companies. Officials say the scheme “unduly exempted certain multinational groups from… UK rules targeting tax avoidance”. Margrethe Vestager, competition and policy boss for the European Commission, said a probe into the Group Financing Exemption found that the UK “gave certain multinationals a selective advantage by granting them an unjustified exemption from UK anti–tax avoidance rules. This is illegal under EU State aid rules. The UK must now recover the undue tax benefits.”

City AM Financial Times, Page: 3

Probate changes will see ‘death tax’ on shares

Critics say changes to probate fees could discourage investment in shares listed on the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market, wherein certain stocks qualify for “business relief ” and so are exempt from inheritance tax.

The Daily Telegraph

Cuts to UK pension tax breaks drive NHS doctors to retire early

Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price has revealed that the 2016 cuts to pension tax breaks for high earners resulted in 2,000 NHS GPs taking early retirement between 2016 and 2018.

Financial Times, Page: 2

Workers boosted by allowance increase

The Daily Mail’s Sylvia Morris looks at the start of the new tax year, noting that the personal allowance for income tax is rising to £12,500, with Deloitte calculating that around 26m workers who pay the basic rate of tax will keep an extra £130 in their pockets over the year.

Daily Mail, Page: 47

Tax warning for royal baby

Fox Business host Ashley Webster has warned that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child faces US tax liabilities as an adult if it has US citizenship.

Daily Express


The new tax year starts on 6th April and we have reviewed the tax changes that come into effect this April and you can check these out in the downloads below..

Personal tax changes

2019/20 Personal Tax Changes

Business tax changes

2019/20 Business Tax Changes


Reeves accuses the Big Four of ‘anti-competitive’ behaviour

Rachel Reeves, chair of the business select committee, has accused EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte of “anti-competitive” behaviour, saying under-pricing has made it “very difficult for challenger firms to compete”. Writing in City AM, Ms Reeves also says the audit and consultancy arms of the Big Four should be divided to address a “lack of competition and quality.” She calls for a tougher regulator to replace the “passive and ineffective” Financial Reporting Council. In a counter argument, Maggie McGhee, executive director of governance at the ACCA, says dividing the audit and consultancy arms of the Big Four “will hinder access” to the specialist expertise they need to audit complex multinational companies.

Financial Times, Page: 2 City AM, Page: 19

Professor: Break up the Big Four

Karthik Ramanna, professor of business and public policy at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, agrees that the BEIS is right to champion the return of prudence to corporate reporting. Elsewhere, James Moore in the I looks at calls for EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte to be broken up, saying that while there are compelling arguments for doing so, “they’ve been that way for years and people have been talking about it for years.” He says that while the matter seems to be regularly up for discussion, “when it comes to action … Now is never the time.”

Financial Times I, Page: 39 The Independent

Debt repayment policy questioned

The Sun reports that people who owe money to HMRC are being left to pay more upfront than they need, saying a “deliberately misleading policy” is seeing tax officials fail to mention the minimum amount they would accept to set up instalment plans for outstanding tax bills. Patrick Sullivan, of the Parliament Street think tank, said “bullying” tax chiefs are “raking in cash from those who are struggling the most.” He added that staff “should be instructed to give honest advice in the best interests of the taxpayer.” John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, commented: “A twisted and complicated tax system means people sometimes fail to make payments, especially the self-employed. Staff must not force people into doing something they don’t need to.”

The Sun, Page: 11


Office Outlet closures announced

Stationery retailer Office Outlet has confirmed 16 store closures following its collapse into administration – leaving 161 jobs at risk. Office Outlook stores set to close on April 7 include those in Newcastle, Plymouth and Stratford, while those set to close on April 10 include outlets in Cardiff, Manchester and Old Kent Road in London. Deloitte’s Richard Hawes, joint administrator, commented: “While we are still open to a sale of the business in part or in whole, we cannot continue trading all the stores indefinitely in an administration process.”

I, Page: 39 Daily Mail, Page: 69 City AM

Bolton in High Court fixture

Bolton Wanderers are due in the High Court today where they face a winding-up petition from HMRC for £1.2m in unpaid tax and other debts.

The Times, Page: 65 The Guardian, Page: 47 The Daily Telegraph, Sport, Page: 7 Daily Star, Page: 42 Daily Mail, Page: 78 Daily Mirror, Page: 51


Banks could extend small business disputes scheme

The banking industry will consider extending the scope of a new redress scheme for business owners. As well as a dispute resolution service , on which banks are working with representatives of small businesses, a new scheme will allow the owners of small companies to ask for past grievances against banks to be examined where their complaint has not been assessed by a previous compensation scheme. A spokeswoman for UK Finance, the banking industry trade body, said that the steering group setting up the schemes would consider looking at complaints going back to January 2000. Lewis Shand Smith, the independent chairman of the dispute resolution service implementation steering group, said that the service would be “key to rebuilding a relationship of trust between banks and their small business customers”.

The Times, Page: 47


CBRE: Brexit fails to daunt inward property investment

Martin Samworth, international president of commercial property services group CBRE, believes that inward investment in property is “as strong as ever”. He says that despite Brexit uncertainty, international investment in the UK continues thanks to a strong appetite from Korea, America and the Middle East. He adds that international investors are increasingly setting their sights on regional cities such as Manchester and Birmingham in both commercial real estate and residential, while new infrastructure is also gaining in popularity.

Daily Mail


UK inflation highest of G7 countries, OECD says

Britain’s annual inflation rate was the highest of the G7 countries in February, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), due partly to the fall in the value of the pound pushing up the cost of imported goods. The UK inflation rate hit 1.8% in February, compared to the Eurozone’s 1.5%.

City AM

Brexit puts the brakes on UK construction

The UK construction sector contracted again in March, according to IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) construction purchasing managers’ index, which stood at 49.7 for the month – down from 49.5 in February and the first consecutive fall in output since August 2016. Notably, commercial construction was the worst performing area – with widespread reports of continuing Brexit uncertainty leading to lower client demand. Jonathan White at KPMG said: “It’s going to be a similar story for the months to come as we wait for more clarity to help make informed business decisions.”

City AM Financial Times, Page: 3 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3


No charge for striker

Brighton footballer Glenn Murray and his wife will face no criminal charges over an alleged £1.1m tax fraud, although HMRC have not ruled out a further investigation into the matter.

Daily Star, Page: 17 The Sun, Page: 11

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward

Tax Changes from 6th April 2019

Tax Changes from 6th April 2019


The new tax year begins on 6th April 2019 and with comes some changes to personal taxes.  In our latest download we highlight some of the more important changes.


The changes include: –

  • Increase to the personal allowance
  • An extension to the higher rate threshold
  • Inheritance tax changes
  • Increases to the student loan thresholds
  • Junior ISA increase
  • Workplace pensions get a revamp,
  • The changes affecting private resident [buy-to-let] landlords continue.


To get a full summary of the changes just click on the link below:

Tax Changes 6 April 2019


Making tax digital (MTD) for VAT officially started from 1st April 2019

MTD is the long-term project to modernise the UK tax system and to bring tax compliance fully into the digital age. The ultimate goal is for all regular transmissions of data between taxpayers and HMRC to be performed digitally, and where possible automatically, through accounting software.

This will take many years to achieve. HMRC needs to improve its own internal systems and provide new digital services to taxpayers for full digitisation of the tax system to be achieved. MTD for business is being introduced tax by tax, not by business size or type. Eventually, each business will have to submit separate MTD reports for the taxes it pays to HMRC.

To find out more about MTD for VAT just click on the link below:



For disposals after 6th April 2019, the minimum period for which certain conditions must be met to qualify for entrepreneur’s relief will be two years.

The one-year rule remains where the claimant’s business ceased, or his personal company ceased to be a trading company before 29th October 2019

Personal Company – new definition (for shares disposed of from 29th October 2018)

In addition to the existing share capital and voting rights conditions, a company will also have to satisfy two further conditions to qualify as an individual’s personal company.

The new conditions require the individual to be beneficially entitled to at least 5% of the company’s distributable profits and at least 5% of its assets available for distribution to equity holders in a winding-up.

The second change, expected to apply to disposals on or after 6 April 2019, is that the minimum period throughout which the relevant conditions (depending on the type of disposal) must be satisfied is to be increased from one to two years, although the new two year rule will not apply to businesses that ceased before 29 October 2018 where entrepreneurs’ relief is claimed in respect of the sale of an asset or shares within three years of the cessation.

Alphabet Shares?

There were concerns that the new rules would create issues for companies with alphabet shares.  After lobbying a late amendment was introduced.

The new test asks: “will the shareholder be entitled to at least 5% of the proceeds in the event of the disposal of the whole company?”

The new hypothetical sale test only applies to disposals made from 21st December 2019.

Entrepreneur’s “banking” from 6th April 2019

  • Applies when individual loses entitlement to ER as holding falls below 5% threshold due to a new share issue.
  • Elect to treat shares as disposed of immediately.
  • Deemed disposal at MV [with no discount for minority holding].
  • Resulting gain eligible for ER.
  • Shares reacquired at same MV.
  • Can postpone the ER gain until the year you actually sell the shares.


Not only are our tax rules complex but they are constantly changing.  To ensure that you do not get caught out with an unnecessarily excessive tax bill you should always consult with an expert before making changes that may give rise to tax charges.  To ensure you do not get caught out, contact Paul Southward.  Initial consultations are without charge or obligation.  You have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain form talking with us first.

Key Guides January 2019

Key Guides January 2019


Updated Key Guides now available

We are delighted to make available to you our updated and freshly designed Key Guides.  There are eleven updated Key Guides publications, covering a wide range of topics that we hope you will find interesting.

Each guide offers you an essential introduction to a key topic of financial planning, covering the latest developments announced in the 2018 Budget, and coming in to effect in April with the new tax year.

With key headline announcements coming into effect in April, such as the personal allowance increasing ahead of schedule, it is just as important as ever to make sure you are getting the latest advice. With the new tax year bringing deadlines for key allowances, you should make sure you’re making the most of the opportunities available to you.

Our updated Key Guides include: –

  • The 2018 Budget: With changes announced to the personal allowance, income tax thresholds, capital gains tax, property transaction taxes and more, our full set of guides covers the latest tax situation.
  • Updated planning points: Our handy pop-out tips have been updated across the range, helping you to ask the right questions about your financial planning.

The Key Guides are designed to give an insight into each topic covered and highlight some of the more important issues.  If you need any further information on any of the topics covered, contact Paul Southward or your usual KSK contact.

The download to each of the updated Key Guides can be found here: –


Key Guide – Investing Tax Efficiently


Contact: Paul Southward direct for the latest news and updates on preparing your business for Making Tax Digital


Key Guide – Pension Tax Planning


Key Guide – Fringe Benefits


Key Guide – Starting and Selling a Business


Key Guide – Strategies for a High Tax Environment


Key Guide – Tax Allowances for Business Investment


Key Guide – Accessing your Company Profits


Key Guide – Taxation of Property


Key Guide – Personal Service Companies


KEY Guide – Estate Planning

If you have any difficulties accessing the Key Guides or have any queries, contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward

Paul Southward

News Roundup Wednesday 28th November 2018

News Roundup Wednesday 28th November 2018




Check out the latest figures in our publication here:-

Advisory Fuel Rates

Accidentally rich’ face ‘unfair’ IHT

Experts have said that IHT should be cut for “accidental millionaires” as they are being forced to pay a bigger chunk of their inheritance than the ultra-rich. The Office for Tax Simplification found that in 2015-16, bequeathed estates worth between £2m and £8m paid a rate double that paid on estates greater than £10m. Someone who inherited a sum of £2m – now the value of many houses in the South East – would pay an average of 20% of the total in IHT, compared to just 10% of a £10m estate. Despite a new “family home allowance” introduced in April 2017, providing added protection for those passing on their home to direct descendants, experts described the effect of the reliefs as unfair. Andy Butcher, a tax expert at Raymond James, said: “In light of the figures that show wealthier estates are paying a lower effective rate of tax, I would be in favour of a tiered approach to inheritance tax re ducing the rate for estates that fall into the accidental-rich category. IHT is a tax on assets that have already been taxed so is already unfair”

The Daily Telegraph

OTS proposes raft of IHT changes

City AM’s Katherine Denham reports on the recommendations from the Office of Tax Simplification for reform of IHT. One key recommendation is to move to a fully integrated digital system similar to the self-assessment process. Clearer guidance is also suggested along with better communication from the tax office. Denham hopes that, although nothing is likely to be implemented any time soon, the hefty body of recommendations should eventually lead to an IHT shake-up.

City AM


Rush of probate applications expected ahead of fee hike

The ICAEW has warned that courts could be overwhelmed by a rush of probate applications as people hurry to arrange their affairs before the Government’s proposed new fee structure is introduced. The changes, expected to come into force in April 2019, will see estates worth £2m or more pay £6,000 in probate fees, up from £155 currently. Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing. Jane Berney of the ICAEW said: “When the MoJ first consulted on these changes in 2016, 97% of respondents were against them, yet the department is still going ahead. Probate offices will need to gear themselves up for an influx of applications in advance of the planned increases as executors rush through the process to try and beat the price hike.”

The Daily Telegraph Daily Express Daily Mail, Page: 46

FRC stays formal complaint against Autonomy CFO

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has announced that the formal complaint against Sushovan Hussain, former CFO of Autonomy, has been stayed, pending the outcome of his intended appeal against his conviction on 16 counts of fraud in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Mr Hussain has consented to an order suspending him from membership of the ICAEW until the formal complaint against him can be heard.

Financial Reporting Council The Times, Page: 41

Aim deals slowdown ahead of Brexit

Dealmaking on London’s AIM has dropped 28% in a year as investors adopt a wait-and-see approach ahead of Brexit. Research by UHY Hacker Young shows 21 M&A deals took place on Aim in 2017-18, down from 29 in 2016-17. The value of transactions also fell, dropping 65% to £1.32bn, down from £3.74bn in 2016-17.

City AM, Page: 7

Danske Bank scandal spurs UK crackdown on limited partnerships

The UK is to tighten rules on limited partnerships and Scottish limited partnerships requiring them to maintain a link to the UK and be registered via an official supervised agent.

Financial Times


Forensic audit hit Thomas Cook for £30m

The Standard‘s Jim Armitage reports on how a forensic examination of Thomas Cook’s accounts by EY after CEO Peter Fankhauser’s profit warning in September wiped an unexpected £30m off the travel company’s profits for the year. Separately Disclosed Items had been parked to one side without accounting for them in profits.

Evening Standard


UK Government in Funding Circle deal to boost SME lending

The British Business Bank has agreed to fund £150m worth of small business loans through Funding Circle in an attempt to encourage firms to continue investing in the face of economic uncertainty.

Financial Times

Small businesses overpaying for mobiles

A lack of competition in the mobile phone market means small businesses are paying £1bn too much for mobile services, according to a report from price comparison website Billmonitor. The firm estimates 49% of UK businesses pay more than twice what they should for mobile services from EE, Vodafone and O2.

City AM, Page: 17


Minimum wage rises have not led to job losses

Employment levels have been sustained despite increases in the minimum wage, according to the Low Pay Commission. Business had raised concerns over the costs of rising wages, but most have absorbed them and restructured workforces. The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over stands at £7.83 an hour and is due to rise to £8.21 from next April. The Guardian reports that about 23% of all of those over the age of 25 who are covered by the national living wage were underpaid this year. Meanwhile, ONS data show one in three new jobs created in the UK over the past decade has been in London. The north-east of England saw the lowest percentage increase in new jobs of any UK region or nation.

BBC News BBC News The Guardian


Brexit GDP claim disputed

A pro-Brexit economist has criticised research that claims the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal could reduce the UK’s GDP by up to 5.5% over the next 10 years. Researchers at the London School of Economics, King’s College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the withdrawal agreement could shrink UK GDP per person by between 1.9% and 5.5%. According to the think tank The UK in a Changing Europe’s report, the cost to public finances would be between 0.4% and 1.8% of GDP over the same timeframe. It comes the day after a separate report said the economy would be £100bn worse off under Theresa May’s deal. However, Arbuthnot Banking Group economic advisor Ruth Lea said that both studies were flawed, leaving many questions unanswered. “These ‘studies’ are barely worth the paper they are printed on, it is difficult to forecast 12 months ahead never mind 12 years,” she said. “So many assumptions have to be made. Will we have Thatcherite or Corbynite policies? How successful will our trade deals be? Will there be radical tax and regulatory reforms or not? How is the world economy going to grow?”

City AM

Contact Paul Southward if you have any queries.

Paul Southward

Business Update Winter 2018

Business Update Winter 2018


The latest edition of our Business Update series is now available

Unsettled weather ahead!

The weather this year continues on its topsy-turvy course very much like the current economic climate with all the political shenanigans and continued uncertainty over Brexit.

Making Tax Digital

Given the wide-ranging potential consequences of the negotiations with the EU, it is perhaps understandable that HMRC has just announced a new delay in the timetable for Making Tax Digital (MTD).

New horizons

As announced on 16 October 2018, the filing deadline for MTD for VAT has been moved to October 2019 for certain specialist and complex businesses. The April 2019 deadline is still in place for some VAT-registered businesses to submit their first reports using the digital system. At the same time, HMRC opened up the VAT pilot scheme for most businesses.

Unsettled front ahead!

With the Brexit deadline set for 29 March – and the possibility of a no deal departure still in the mix – this could mean that businesses are making their first filings at the same time as the VAT rules affecting customers and suppliers change. With such a potent mix of change, it is perhaps understandable that HMRC are taking some more time to prepare for the more difficult cases.

Business Update Highlights

The feature story in the new Winter 2018 edition of our newsletter, Making Tax Digital starts to take shape, looks at the new system, which will apply to all businesses whether they face the April or October deadlines. The sensible thing is to prepare your systems now. Being ready for MTD for VAT will leave you free to deal with whatever next year brings, when it brings it.

Other articles:

Other stories we cover include:

  • Closing loopholes around write-offs of director loans – If you are writing off a director’s loan, make sure you don’t incur unnecessary tax.
  • Intestacy and business continuity – We all know it is very important to make a will, but do you know what will happen to your business if you don’t?
  • Government cracks down on phoenixing – After some high-profile collapses, directors will have new responsibilities to failing companies.
  • Transforming remuneration in disguise – HMRC is bringing new controls to crack down on disguised remuneration schemes.


You can download the latest edition of Business Update here:-

Business Update Winter 2018

We will bring you another update in a few months. Please do get in touch with Paul Southward or your usual KSK contact if you think you may be affected by any of the topics raised.

Paul Southward

News Roundup Wednesday 19th September 2018

News Roundup Wednesday 19th September 2018



Lib Dems want wealth tax to create £100bn ‘citizen’s fund’

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has proposed the creation of a sovereign wealth fund built from taxing the richest and the sale of assets. The £100bn “citizens fund” would then be used to spread the UK’s wealth more evenly, Sir Vince said. Explaining the policy on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said he wanted to scrap inheritance tax and replace it with “a tax on people’s gifts through their lifetime”. Every gift worth £3,000 or more above a lifetime tax-free allowance of £250,000 would be taxed at the recipient’s income tax rate.

BBC News The Sun, Page: 8 City AM, Page: 5

Revenues from climate change tax rocket

A new study by UHY Hacker Young shows that businesses have been hit with £1.9bn in tax just from the climate change levy in the last year, up from £690m in 2007-8. Partner Clive Gawthorpe said: “Although fighting climate change is a very worthy cause, these are some eyewatering rises in tax revenue. Most businesses would like to see more carrot and less stick – tax incentives and not extra taxes.”

The Scotsman, Page: 34


Top companies failing to report fully on diversity strategies

Research by the University of Exeter Business School shows only 15 companies in the FTSE 100 reported properly on their diversity policies and initiatives to shareholders. The Financial Reporting Council, which commissioned the study, said it would be writing to the UK’s largest companies urging them to report more thoroughly on their efforts to introduce more diversity to the boardroom. The Times says the move is part of the wider drive to get more women and ethnic minorities into senior jobs.

The Times, Page: 40

Financial sector remains an impenetrable black box

Despite being 10 years on from the financial crisis, the FT’s Jonathan Ford says the financial statements of banks continue to be opaque, leaving investors in the dark.

Financial Times, Page: 16


UK businesses suffer 123% rise in mandate fraud

Losses from mandate frauds have more than doubled to £77m in the past year, according to figures obtained by RSM. Businesses reported more than 3,451 incidents of mandate fraud in 2017-18 – up 123% on the previous year’s 1,551. RSM partner Akhlaq Ahmed said: “Businesses must ensure their accounts staff are trained to recognise the hallmarks of a mandate fraud attempt. With the right training and controls in place, there’s no reason why these frauds should be successful.”

City AM, Page: 17

Appointing auditors by public body is just a start

A letter in the FT backs the idea of a public body appointing auditors but suggests a change of auditor is vetted too “to ensure it is not a punishment for insisting on transparency.”

Financial Times, Page: 10


Stride assures small firms as HMRC advises on no-deal Brexit

British companies trading with the EU will today receive a letter from the HMRC advising them on how to deal with the complexities of a no-deal Brexit. Small businesses could find themselves having to apply new customs, excise and VAT procedures to their goods and having to fill out customs declarations for the first time, the Times reports. The paper talks to Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, about how hard it will be for businesses to navigate a no-deal Brexit. He insists there’s no need to panic: “I am confident that while we won’t on day one of a no-deal scenario have everything up and running as we would want to … we will have free-flowing goods coming into the country.”

The Times, Page: 44

New CBI leader seeks to be ‘more effective’ at taking on government

In a wide-ranging interview with the FT, John Allan suggests the CBI and other business organisations should receive funding to provide more support to small businesses preparing for Brexit.

Financial Times, Page: 10


Hancock considers auto-enrolment care fund

Ministers are considering a new type of insurance fund to pay for elderly care. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Telegraph that the proposals being considered are modelled on the “auto-enrolment” system of pensions. He said: “If you make it the norm, tell people what it is they have to do to look after themselves, it’s often the case that very few people will opt out.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 7


BCC warns of “snail’s pace” growth

The British Chambers of Commerce has warned that GDP growth will slow to “a snail’s pace” this year due to uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The business trade body cut its outlook to 1.1% from 1.3% and lowered its sights for 2019 from 1.4% to 1.3% in its latest quarterly update. The downgrades are driven by a weaker outlook for trade and investment. Exporters face more subdued growth over continued Brexit uncertainty and slower growth in key markets, the BCC says, while the high upfront cost of doing business in the UK and the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU are expected to continue to stifle business investment.

The Times, Page: 37 City AM, Page: 7 The Scotsman, Page: 37


KBW predicts 31% chance of Corbyn taking power this year

City analysts say the chances of the Tory government collapsing following a failure to reach agreement on Brexit, leading to a snap general election and a Jeremy Corbyn victory, have increased. Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods say there is now a 31% chance of Labour coming to power this year while it was “highly improbable” the Conservatives would maintain a majority in another election. They calculate a 6% chance for a no deal Brexit. KBW recommends buying stock in Asia-focussed banks HSBC and Standard Chartered and ditching some challenger banks such as OneSavings Bank and Charter Court.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

Contact Paul Southward if you have any queries.

Paul Southward

News Roundup Friday 14th September 2018

News Roundup Friday 14th September 2018



HMRC will use social media to pinpoint tax evaders

HMRC has said it will “observe, monitor, record and retain internet data”, including blogs and social networking sites, to detect tax evasion. The guidance on criminal investigations for tax offences also mentions other ‘open source’ internet sources which HMRC will monitor such as news reports, internet sites, Companies House and land registry records. “The guidance confirms what we already know – that HMRC plugs huge amounts of data into its state of the art ‘Connect’ computer system to identify those who may not be paying the tax they should,” said Steven Porter a tax disputes expert at Pinsent Masons.

International Adviser

Self-employed fearing tax rises

The Times’ James Hurley says last week’s cancellation of a long-promised tax relief for the self-employed has caused unrest amongst those who work for themselves. Andy Chamberlain, deputy director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, comments: “There’s a feeling that the government does not want people to strike out on their own, which is somewhat counter-intuitive for [a Tory administration].” Craig Beaumont, director of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, adds: “There’s this sense that since a lot of money needs to be raised, small businesses and the self-employed are a soft target.”

The Times, Page: 49

Boris’s tax cuts plea rejected

The government has brushed off demands from Boris Johnson for sweeping tax cuts to boost Britain’s economy. A spokesman for the Prime Minister commented “I can point to this Government’s record of cutting taxes for hard-working households.”

Daily Express, Page: 5

Oil tax breaks could be scrapped

The oil industry has urged the Treasury not to raise North Sea taxes, despite the resurgence in prices. Ministers are said to be considering reversing some of the significant tax breaks introduced in 2015, when oil prices crashed.

The Times, Page: 44

HMRC fraud team collects £5bn in extra tax

HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) has collected £5.47bn in 2018, according to Pinsent Masons. The figure represents a 7% increase on last year and follows political pressure to increase the number of successful tax prosecutions in both the UK and abroad. In July of this year, HMRC published a consultation document, focusing on changes that could simplify the process of accessing taxpayer information through third parties, such as accountants, retailers, and social media platforms. The report suggested that the removal of having to go through a tribunal before securing this third-party information would help with increasing the efficiency of the process.

Accountancy Age

Labour budgeting for 15 years in power

Labour’s John McDonnell has said the party is preparing for a 15-year stretch in government, with plans to spend £500bn in the first 10 years. The shadow chancellor said Labour’s spending commitments would be funded by increasing taxes on the top 5% of earners, rises in corporation tax, a tax on financial transactions in the City of London and tackling “industrial scale” tax avoidance and evasion. He also claimed the measures were backed by the CBI, although the lobby group has distanced itself from Mr McDonnell’s comments.

The Times The Daily Telegraph, Page: 8-9 Financial Times, Page: 3 Daily Mail, Page: 12 City AM, Page: 4

Boris tax cut promise is ‘sheer folly’

The Times’ Daniel Finkelstein pours scorn on Boris Johnson’s suggestion of sweeping tax cuts to boost the economy. He says the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves is “seductive, but false” and that the Conservative Party needs to offer more to voters.

The Times, Page: 29

Thinktank proposes asset tax for over-65s

The Social Market Foundation has said homeowners and people with substantial savings should face a one-off “asset tax” of £30,000 when they reach 65 to fund England’s care system for the elderly. The thinktank estimates such a charge would raise £7bn a year and enable care in residential settings and in people’s homes to be delivered free, rather than based on a means test as now. It argued that it was not fair to force people of working age to pay more tax to fund care for older people. The Social Market Foundation said that the charge of £30,000 should be levied on anyone with assets worth more than £150,000 and paid when they turned 65 or deferred until their death.

The Times, Page: 2

Archbishop of Canterbury attacks tax-avoiding Amazon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked Amazon over its tax affairs, accusing the internet giant of denying funds to health, education and defence. Justin Welby won a standing ovation at the TUC conference for rounding on companies that were “paying almost nothing in tax” and “leached off the taxpayer”.

Sky News Daily Mirror, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 1 Daily Mail, Page: 8 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1

Lower taxes must be part of the mix

In a letter to the Times, Tom Clougherty, head of tax at the Centre for Policy Studies, says sustainably lower taxes on work, investment and profit must be part of Britain’s growth agenda.

The Times, Page: 32


Concerns for small firms after railway arches sale

Network Rail has agreed to the £1.5bn sale of over 5,000 railway arches that are home to shops and small businesses around the country. It said the proceeds of the sale to Blackstone Group and Telereal Trillium would help fund railway upgrades. However, the Labour party has called for the deal to be halted, saying that the “highly irresponsible” transaction risked damaging thousands of SMEs. Campaign group Guardians of the Arches also warned the sale would lead to higher rents for tenants.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 Financial Times, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 19 The Guardian, Page: 7 The Sun, Page: 4 Daily Mail, Page: 63 Daily Express, Page: 7 City AM, Page: 1

Funding for Brightpay

HG Capital Trust has made a £15.4m investment in Brightpay, the technology company that develops accountancy and payroll software for SMEs in Ireland and the UK.

The Times, Page: 52

Battered by business rates

The Mail steps up its campaign for an overhaul of business rates by focussing on the impact that the levy has had on the Devon town of Sidmouth. According to research compiled for PwC, an average of 16 High Street stores across the UK closed every day in 2017, meaning an estimated 8,400 shops have closed since the rates were revalued last April. According to the PwC data, there were substantially more closures in the second half of last year after changes to business rates led to higher bills for more than half a million shops, restaurants and pubs.

Daily Mail, Page: 36, 41

FCA closes book on mis-selling scandal

The Financial Conduct Authority has said banks will face no further action over interest rate swap mis-selling. The improper sale of complicated interest rate derivatives led to the collapse of many small businesses and ranks as the second most expensive banking scandal behind payment protection insurance.

The Times, Page: 44

Labour warned against RBS lending plans

A former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury has warned Labour against using the taxpayer’s stake in Royal Bank of Scotland to direct lending to the British economy. Sir Nicholas Macpherson said Labour’s policy suggestion that RBS would be ordered to lend to small businesses using government funds would be “corrosive” for banks and taxpayers.

The Guardian, Page: 41


Finance firms could gain from VAT loophole

Philip Hammond is facing a multibillion-pound hole in his budget projections as City businesses use Brexit to reduce their tax bills. Treasury officials have warned that unless there is a change to the law after Britain leaves the EU, the government could lose £7bn in corporate VAT receipts. It is feared that after Brexit firms could take advantage of a loophole allowing financial services businesses to claim back domestic VAT for the services they provide to individuals and companies outside the EU.

The Times, Page: 9

Union calls for Carillion criminal investigation

The Unite union has called for a criminal investigation into the collapse of Carillion, claiming that the probe being launched by the Insolvency Service was “too little too late”.

Daily Mirror, Page: 43

Publisher faces insolvency proceedings

The viral publisher Unilad faces insolvency proceedings in the High Court next week after HMRC issued a winding-up petition against its parent company.

The Guardian, Page: 19 The Business Desk


Government urges pension schemes to be ‘socially responsible’

New government regulations will require trustees of pension schemes to disclose where people’s savings are going. Using internet dashboard-type tools, pension scheme members will be able to see whether investments take into mind environmental concerns, are managed with poor corporate governance or socially harmful practices.

City AM


Bonuses for low-wage workers who save

HMRC has launched a new savings scheme which could benefit up to 4m people on low incomes. Investors will receive 50p from the Government for every £1 they pay in to the Help to Save scheme. Up to £50 a month can be paid in over four years, with a maximum saving of £2,400 resulting in an overall bonus of £1,200.

Daily Mail, Page: 4 Yorkshire Post, Page: 6

Divorcing spouses unaware of pension entitlements

A charity has argued that women going through a divorce should be given the right to see the size of their husband’s pension pot. Age UK says thousands of women are being left worse off in retirement because they are not made aware of their legal entitlement to their husband’s private pension as part of the divorce process.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1 Daily Mirror, Page: 26


Busy accountants help lift economy, ONS says

The UK economy grew by 0.3% in July, and by 0.6% over the three months to July, according to the ONS, the fastest pace in almost a year. “The dominant service sector again led economic growth in the month of July with engineers, accountants and lawyers all enjoying a busy period, backed up by growth in construction, which hit another record high level,” said Rob Kent-Smith from the ONS. John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said the latest data justified the decision to raise rates last month, while Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, added: “Uncertainties a nd risks around Brexit are likely to make the Bank of England particularly cautious during the critical months ahead”.

BBC News The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 The Guardian, Page: 28 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 41 City AM, Page: 3

Wages growth hits three-year high

ONS data shows wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace for three years during the three months to July. The 2.9% increase was only the second time since July 2015 that the level has been reached, and earnings have now outstripped inflation for four months.

Financial Times The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 1-2 The Guardian, Page: 25 The Independent, Page: 62

Wages yet to reach pre-crash levels

Annual wages have failed to recover since the financial crash, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The institute’s analysis shows median annual earnings were £23,327 last year, 3.2% lower than in 2008 when the average wage was £24,088. People in their 20s and 30s have been hit hardest. People in their thirties are the worst hit in terms of pay, with median earnings 7% lower than in 2008, while pay for those in their twenties is 5% lower.

The Guardian, Page: 41 The Independent, Page: 61 The Sun, Page: 22


Bain sets aside fees from South Africa tax authority work

US consultancy Bain will set aside more than $10m in fees from South Africa’s tax authority after evidence that its advice on a restructuring was used to pursue a political vendetta.

Financial Times, Page: 16 The Independent, Page: 62

Global tax agencies have largest US companies in their sights

A report by Baker McKenzie estimates that global tax authorities are currently scrutinising an estimated $75bn of capital held by the largest US companies.

Financial Times, Page: 14

ING CFO quits after laundering scandal

Koos Timmermans, the CFO of Dutch bank ING, has resigned following a money laundering scandal that led to a huge fine for the bank.

The Independent, Page: 54


Tax break for exotic dancer

An exotic dancer has won a tax appeal over her skimpy stage outfits. Gemma Daniels, who worked at Stringfellows in London, was told to pay £10,500 by HMRC after it ruled that she could not claim for travel and clothing as tax-deductible. However, a judge decided that her ‘naughty nurse and schoolgirl’ outfits could be deemed expenses as they were not suitable outside of work.

Metro Daily Mirror, Page: 17 The I, Page: 11

Hammond delays budget date

Philip Hammond has postponed naming a date for the autumn budget. The chancellor wants to avoid the budget clashing with the final stage of the Brexit negotiations and has put the Office for Budget Responsibility on standby.

The Times, Page: 9

Treasury needs more accountants

The Institute for Government has criticised the Treasury’s model of hiring generalists, arguing that it needs “more of the people managing public spending to be qualified in finance, accountancy or both.” The IFG also claimed Treasury officials are “too young and inexperienced” to make good decisions about where best to spend taxpayers’ money. The average age of a Treasury official is 31 and one in four leaves the department every year, it noted.

The Times, Page: 43

ACCA welcomes city mayors

ACCA chief executive Helen Brand says the election of the UK’s six city mayors could not have come at a more important time, allowing for a more high profile, bigger-picture approach to regional issues.

City AM, Page: 15

Contact Paul Southward if you have any queries.

Paul Southward