NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
TAX NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
HMRC accepts quality of tax advice must be improved
HMRC has issued a call for evidence on the tax advice market accepting that standards needed to improve following a review into the loan charge. Sir Amyas Morse found that the tactics used by promoters were “reprehensible” – misrepresenting the DOTAS (disclosure of tax avoidance schemes) system to claim that schemes had been approved by HMRC, or providing opinions from Queen’s Counsel suggesting that HMRC would be unsuccessful if they tried to claim the tax. The independent review of the loan charge recommended the Government should improve the market in tax advice, including considering formal regulation, which HMRC has accepted.
Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 11
New social contract between business and public needed
A report from the Social Market Foundation suggests companies sign up to a new pledge to pay more taxes and to treat workers fairly in exchange for emergency support during the coronavirus crisis or risk a backlash from the public. Those which fail to uphold “standards of good conduct” could be named and shamed and even prohibited from bidding for public contracts, the think tank said. James Kirkup, director of the Social Market Foundation think-tank, explains the proposals in the Times, arguing for a broadening of Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 to promote more “expansive reporting of how executives promote the interests of employees, suppliers, local communities and wider society.”
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EMPLOYMENT NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
Working from home? Who’s watching?
The Telegraph runs a piece on how staff working from home may be surveilled by their employers to see if they are working or using their computers for private purposes. The paper notes software firms Time Doctor and Current-Wave as popular monitoring or productivity tools. Time Doctor’s CEO claims KPMG and PwC are among its clients but when approached for comment KPMG said it had no current record of its use, while PwC said it did not use the tool in the UK. Another company popular with firms who have lots of remote workers is Sneek, which came in for flack last year when it emerged that it has the ability to take photos of employees via their laptop webcams every five minutes to share with their team. Separately, a survey conducted by EY found that 41% of business leaders in 45 countries across the world are speeding up plans to automate their businesses as workers are forced to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9 Daily Express, Page: 50 The I, Page: 41
PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
Spend savings first, government tell virus jobless
The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed yesterday that people with savings of more than £16,000 will not be eligible to apply for the government’s universal credit scheme. Savings over £12,000 in a Help to Buy ISA will also be considered “capital” under universal credit rules. Anyone with savings over £6,000 will have the amount they are able to claim under universal credit docked. The Resolution Foundation last night called on the government to relax the rules around universal credit and suspend the so-called “capital tests” arguing that this would allow many more better-off families who face steep income losses to get some much-needed support.
FCA to lead crisis meeting with banks
Chris Woolard, the interim chief executive of the FCA, is to hold a meeting tomorrow with the Bank of England and the heads of the high street banks to figure out how consumers can be helped during the coronavirus crisis. The Times says Woolard will be keen to prove the FCA can move swiftly and ensure bank bosses understand what is expected of them in a national emergency.
The Times City AM
CORPORATE NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
Pubs and restaurants under pressure before COVID-19 hit
A study by UHY Hacker Young found the number of restaurant insolvencies jumped by 10% last year, while the number of pub insolvencies also increased by 10%. Many more insolvencies are likely as a result of the coronavirus shutdown, the firm reports. Peter Kubik, of UHY Hacker Young, said: “Both the pub and restaurant industry feel they need more specific assistance from the Government.” The warning comes as chains such as Carluccio’s and Byron hire insolvency experts to advise on next moves.
Daily Express, Page: 50 The Guardian, Page: 31 The Sun, Page: 9 Daily Mail, Page: 71 The I, Page: 38
FINANCE NEWS – MONDAY 30TH MARCH 2020
Loan defaults threaten £110bn motor finance sector
Nathan Thompson, automotive director at Deloitte, warns that the motor finance trade will have to react quickly to the downturn brought on by the coronavirus crisis as millions who have bought their car through financial products such as personal contract purchase plans (PCPs) find themselves out of work or furloughed on lower pay. “Lenders will need to be flexible including contract extensions, payment deferrals, interim loans and refinancing packages. Some may look to include personalised retention offers for customers coming to the end of their agreement,” says Thompson.
Bold steps to pump coronavirus rescue funds down the last mile
Agustín Carstens, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, proposes a series of measures to pump finance down to businesses, including loans to SMEs equal to the amount of taxes they paid last year.
How UK companies can access state COVID-19 bailout funds
The FT provides guidance on how both small and large UK companies can access funds from the government’s coronavirus aid package and how the state will cover furloughed workers’ wage costs.
UK landlords threaten legal action over non-payment of rent
Retailers and hospitality businesses in the UK are facing legal action from their landlords after many withheld rent to save cash during the coronavirus lockdown.
Deep pain to be followed by rapid bounce back
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) is predicting a 15% drop in GDP between April and June as the UK reels from the coronavirus crisis. Unemployment is expected to rise to 7% in July to August, from 3.9% in the three months to January. The CEBR also thinks house prices will fall by an average of 13% in the year to next March. However, it believes there will be “a sharp bounce back in the third and fourth quarter of the year” because of the measures put in place by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, leaving the economy down 4% for the year overall.
Daily Mail, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 40
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