News Roundup Wednesday 2nd May 2018

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS

HMRC withdraws 6,000 APNs

HMRC has decided to withdraw 6,000 of its accelerated payment notices. Law firm RPC says APNs have been withdrawn due to miscalculations and suggests many more have been issued incorrectly due to the complex nature of the law. In 2016 the number of APNs retracted by HMRC was 3,000, doubling to 6,000 in 2017. RPC’s Adam Craggs commented: “APNs have always been controversial and these figures are going to do little to silence their critics or reassure taxpayers that HMRC is exercising its powers in a proportionate and lawful manner. HMRC said: “We have issued over 80,000 accelerated payment notices. Even where we withdraw APNs it doesn’t mean there is no tax to pay. We pursue the outstanding tax until it is paid.”

Financial Times Money Marketing

CIOT proposes improvements to scrutiny of tax legislation

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has made a number of proposals for improving parliamentary scrutiny of the Finance Bill and other tax legislation. Amongst its recommendations are that the Finance Bill Public Bill Committee takes oral evidence from tax experts and others, and that the Office of Tax Simplification publishes simplification assessments of new tax proposals. The CIOT also calls for a debate on whether the House of Lords should play a greater role in scrutinising tax legislation as it goes through Parliament.

Politics.co.uk

INDUSTRY NEWS

More needs to be done to improve value of auditing

In a letter to the FT, PwC head of assurance Hemione Hudson says recent reforms in the UK and EU appear to be having a positive impact on audit quality.

Financial Times, Page: 10

SMEs NEWS

Support for small firms after TSB fiasco

Paul Pester, the boss of TSB, has said the bank is on its knees as it attempts to recover from the botched switchover of customers between IT platforms. In an attempt to prevent an exodus of customers, TSB said it would waive all overdraft fees and interest charges for all retail and small business customers for April. Elsewhere, HMRC has also said it would be understanding if small businesses could not make payments. The Federation of Small Businesses said TSB’s small business customers had been unable to pay bills, transfer staff wages and check that invoices have been settled.

The Daily Telegraph The Guardian, Page: 37 The Times, Page: 6 Daily Mail, Page: 14

Women-led startups prove more fundable

A study by Access Commercial Finance reveals women entrepreneurs and small business owners are 18% more likely to receive business funding than men, but are 80% less likely to apply for it. The research shows that only 16% of applications received since July 2016 were submitted by women. However, some 13% of applications from women were successful, compared to 11% from men. Due to men making 84% of the funding applications, they received the vast majority of funding awarded – £4,051,052 in total, compared to £332,437 for women.

Business Matters

ICAEW backs new business adviser platform

The ICAEW has teamed up with Enterprise Nation to create a new dynamic Business Advisor platform to improve the accessibility of accountants and business advisors to small companies.

Press Release

PROPERTY NEWS

First-time buyers save £160m on stamp duty

Some 70,000 first-time buyers have collectively saved £159m in stamp duty since the exemption was introduced in November last year, an average of £2,300 each. The Government still collected around £1bn more in stamp duty (£12.9bn) in the 2017-18 tax year, compared to the previous 12 months. Analysis by estate agent Savills reveals that the upsurge in stamp duty revenue has been helped by high-value properties and second homes.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 38-39 City AM, Page: 12

Baby boomers scramble to release equity

Britain’s baby boomers are releasing unprecedented amounts of equity from their homes. Almost 15% of equity release went to under-65s last year, doubling from around 7% in 2015, according to insurance regulator David Rule.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5

CORPORATE NEWS

SFO faces uncertain future

The Times examines the appointment of former FBI lawyer Lisa Osofsky as the next director of the Serious Fraud Office. It notes that Ms Osofsky has backed controversial plans to bring the office under the wing of the national crime agency. She has also appeared to criticise the organisation’s policy of targeting big-name prosecutions. She said: “A classic SFO prosecution is about individual scalps and even big brand names such as Rolls and Tesco, but the scale of money laundering is much bigger but largely unknown.”

The Times, Page: 37-39

PENSIONS NEWS

ECJ says UK Pension Protection Fund cap unlawful

An opinion for the European Court of Justice says the Pension Protection Fund’s cap on payouts to high earners is unlawful, following a case where a pension was cut by 67%.

Financial Times

ECONOMY NEWS

Business lending up but mortgage lending falls

Net lending to businesses reached its highest level in a year last month, at £3.24bn. There was a 9% rise in lending to manufacturing companies in the year to March, according to the figures from UK Finance. However, gross mortgage lending dropped 2.3% in March, compared to the same month last year, to £20.5bn. There was also evidence of cooling in other credit markets. Net credit card lending increased by £10m on the month, the smallest rise since April 2016. Meanwhile, the number of people going bankrupt is expected to have jumped 14% in early 2018, according to RSM.

The Times, Page: 40 Daily Star, Page: 17

Contact Paul Southward for the latest Tax, Finance and Business news.

Paul Southward

Paul Southward