News Roundup Wednesday 19th June 2019

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS

Jesse Norman to meet MPs calling for loan charge suspension

Jesse Norman has confirmed that he will hold talks with Sir Ed Davey MP, the chairman of the Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), to discuss concerns about the loan charge. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury said he had already met with senior officials from HMRC and the Treasury as well as the CIOT and the ICAEW to discuss the issue. The loan charge was introduced in response to the Treasury’s concerns about “disguised remuneration schemes” which involved individuals being paid through loans, usually via an offshore trust in a low or no tax jurisdiction, which they did not have to repay. Workers from a wide range of professions have been hit with unexpected tax bills of up to tens of thousands of pounds dating back to 1999.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 1

Inheritance tax and the hard Left’s hypocrisy

The Telegraph’s Madeline Grant and the Mail’s Dominic Sandbrook both launch attacks on Labour’s stance on inheritance tax following the report commissioned by the party espousing reforms that will see a lifetime allowance for gifts to children of £125,000. Both writers slam the far left’s attacks on the notion of family and the idea that achievement might be rewarded in their ideological lust for a levelling down to the lowest common denominator. Grant says “Corbynistas are brilliant at taking traditional virtues and reframing them as vices [while] simultaneously practising these virtues in their personal lives.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 16 Daily Mail, Page: 16

CORPORATE NEWS

Underpaying workers proves costly for Staffline

Recruitment company Staffline saw its shares tumble again yesterday after it said it had almost doubled the sum it would set aside to compensate workers who had been underpaid. Staffline’s shares were suspended for six weeks between January and March after PwC delayed the company’s annual results and began to investigate allegations that it had failed to comply with national minimum wage rules.

The Times, Page: 41 The Times, Page: 35

SMEs NEWS

SMEs remain confused about MTD

A survey has found that 11% of SMEs are unaware of new rules on keeping digital tax records. More than one million firms with an annual taxable income of in excess of £85,000 are now legally required to submit VAT returns online. But nearly half of those polled who thought they were compliant were found not to be. HMRC has said it will take a “light touch” approach to penalties in the first year of implementation. However, this is only where businesses are doing their best to comply. Chris Evans, VP and country manager at Intuit QuickBooks UK, advises businesses to read up on Making Tax Digital or try QuickBooks’ free MTD Checker tool.

The Independent

Banks accused of overcharging small customers for forex services

Small businesses are being overcharged for foreign exchange services to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros a year by banks across Europe, according to research by the European Central Bank.

Financial Times, Page: 16

PROPERTY NEWS

Newly listed asking prices back near record highs

The national average price of a newly marketed property has been pushed up by 0.3%, thanks to buoyant property markets in the north according to Rightmove. Despite Brexit uncertainty weighing down house price growth over the past year, the average price of a property coming on to the market was £309,348, close to June 2018’s record high of £309,439. Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove said that resilient markets in the north and Midlands are helping to boost average prices due to the “relentless strength of buyer demand”. “Buyers in four regions are seeing higher new seller asking prices on average than ever before,” he added.

The Daily Telegraph Daily Mail

ECONOMY NEWS

London-Shanghai share trading initiative launched

Britain and China began selling shares in each other’s companies yesterday under a landmark deal between the UK Financial Conduct Authority and China Securities Regulatory Commission. Under the cross-border investment program called Shanghai-London Stock Connect, investors and issuers in the UK and China will have a mutual access to both capital markets through depository receipts. “This new scheme will deepen and strengthen connectivity between U.K. and China capital markets to the advantage of both countries,” FCA CEO Andrew Bailey said. The two countries have also agreed a protocol on beef trade giving UK farmers access to the Chinese market by the end of 2019.

Financial Times City AM Daily Express Yorkshire Post, Page: 1

Stockpiling hampering growth

New research from Lloyds Banking Group has revealed that British businesses have close to £600bn tied up in excess working capital, potentially stifling growth and leaving them exposed to economic uncertainty. Lloyds blamed increased inventories on political and economic uncertainty, with stockpiling at larger UK firms rising by a third in three years. Ed Thurman, Lloyds’ managing director of global transaction banking, said stockpiling “can be risky as cash invested in inventory is rarely easy to release, meaning firms are less able to invest in growth or respond to unexpected changes in demand”.

The Scotsman, Page: 36 The Sun, Page: 43

Global slowdown will continue into 2020

Fitch Ratings has warned that the global slowdown will continue into next year as mounting trade war uncertainty forces businesses to rein in spending and Chinese consumers turn cautious. Fitch trimmed its 2020 global growth forecast to 2.7% from 2.8%. It added that growth would slow a further 0.4 percentage points to 2.4% if President Trump carried out his threat to slap tariffs on the remaining $300bn of Chinese imports and Beijing retaliates.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 8

OTHER NEWS

Rise in middle-aged “money mules”

New figures from Cifas, the fraud prevention service, have revealed that criminals are increasingly recruiting middle-aged people to act as “money mules”. The research showed that the number of people aged 40 to 60 being used by criminals to transfer funds between accounts rose by 35% last year compared with the previous year. Cifas said that the 40 to 60 age group were easier targets because more of them were going online. Cifas also found that most victims of identity scams last year were young adults and over-60s. Cases involving victims aged 21 and under rose by 26%, and cases involving over-60s rose by 34%.

The Times, Page: 14 Daily Mail, Page: 2 The Scotsman, Page: 20 Yorkshire Post, Page: 9

ATT issues warning over new registration rules

New EU rules for trusts coming into force by March 2020 will require the trustees of all UK resident trusts to register their trusts on the UK Trust Register, regardless of whether the trust has incurred any UK tax liabilities. The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) is warning that the extension of registration rules will put trustees at risk of civil and criminal sanctions if they fail to comply. Jon Stride, co-chair of the ATT’s technical steering group, said: ‘While it is impossible to know how many more trusts will need to register under the new rules, the sheer scale of this task must not be underestimated.”

Accountancy Daily

Innocent bank customers suspected of money-laundering

An investigation by the Law Commission has found that bank officials are wrongly suspecting customers of money-laundering and freezing the accounts of innocent people. The commission said that banks, lawyers and financial services staff were wasting time and producing too many “low-quality and unnecessary” reports on suspected money-laundering. It added that one in seven reports was deemed unnecessary. The commission has recommended a new advisory board, statutory guidance and an online form for reporting.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 11 The Times

X Factor star’s accountant banned

A south Essex accountant who defrauded X Factor winner James Arthur of almost £600,000 has been discredited from the profession – and ordered to pay £7,750. Mark Livermore was jailed for four years in January after being convicted of fraud he had carried out to fund a gambling habit.

Basildon Echo

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward