Tax investigators collect record amount this year

27 May 2014

£23.9 billion was collected through tax investigations over the past twelve months, claims HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This is an increase of £3.2 billion on the previous twelve-month period, and £9 billion on the period before that. HMRC said it was almost £1 billion above the target set by Chancellor George Osborne.

According to official figures, over £8 billion of the haul came from large businesses. A further £1 billion came from criminals and £2.7 billion from tackling avoidance schemes.

‘The Government supports the hard-working, honest majority of taxpayers that play by the rules, and is determined to tackle the minority that seek to avoid paying the taxes they owe,’ said Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke.

He continued: ‘We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges’.

HMRC said it aims to secure £100 billion between May 2010 and March 2015 through investigations into unpaid tax.

New act strengthens intellectual property rights

23 May 2014

The new Intellectual Property Act received Royal Assent on 15 May, better protecting the rights of UK businesses.

New powers now allow the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which is the central part of introducing a single patent across most EU countries. It is thought this could lead to collective business savings of up to £40 million per year.

Protection for designers is also included, removing red tape and uncertainties for businesses when protecting their designs. Online services will be launched to help with the management of intellectual property.

Lord Younger, Minister for Intellectual Property, said: ‘Continued investment in intellectual property is vital to all businesses, as it contributes £16 billion to the UK economy each year. It is essential that we continue to work hard to create the right environment for them to flourish so we can benefit from their creative designs, inventions and ideas.

‘I am confident that this Act will further strengthen our world-class Intellectual Property system – from research to market – and to help businesses of all sizes continue to thrive’.

The key policies set out in the Act include: providing new protections for pre-publication research; the introduction of a criminal sanction for intentional copying of registered designs; measures to help businesses assess the strength of their case before going through legal proceedings; expansion of existing patent opinions services; and an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to better protect pre-publication research.

The measures are expected to come gradually into force from October 2014 and later into 2015.

We are Recruiting…Tax Senior

Tax Senior Position

Nunn Hayward LLP is a Chartered Accountancy firm based in Gerrards Cross where an exciting opportunity has arisen for a Tax Senior to work in an innovative, friendly environment.

You’ll need to be:

  • ATT qualified (or studying for it)
  • Minimum 3 years personal tax return preparation experience
  • Will initially manage circa 150 personal tax clients under direct partner guidance

Working with and assisting 2 Tax Partners with their portfolios and ad hoc tax planning projects, you should be ambitious to learn and become the firms “go to” specialist in trust tax administration and planning.  Our ideal candidate needs to be a motivated self-starter with initiative and ambition to drive their ideas through to delivery. 

The successful candidate will be friendly, confident and enthusiastic with good organisational skills.  We are looking for somebody who has good written and verbal communication skills.  They should be somebody who is computer literate, with a good working knowledge of Microsoft packages, accounts package (ideally IRIS but not essential) and tax software.

Salary range according to experience

The successful candidate would be based at our Gerrards Cross offices but there will be travel to clients as necessary.

Please send your CV and covering letter to Steve Cook at info@nhllp.com

Calls for price cuts as energy firm profits soar

21 May 2014

Energy group SSE has reported a 9.6% rise in last year’s profits to £1.55 billion.

SSE’s raised prices last November by 8.2%, saying that profits from households had fallen due to lower gas consumption and milder weather. Britain’s second largest energy supplier said that all of the profit came from its wholesale arm rather than retail, which had seen considerable downturn.

SSE in recent months promised to freeze prices until 2016, but the Labour party are now saying that the supplier can afford to actually lower prices. Consumer group Which? also said that more of the gains should be passed on to the consumer.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: ‘With healthy group profits and wholesale gas prices falling, we expect SSE to promise not just to shield people from price increases but to fairly pass on lower costs to their customers’.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive, said: ‘We introduced our price freeze right at the end of the last financial year and it has been hugely popular. It remains the only such commitment available to all customers and will mean we take a hit on retail profits over the next couple of years’.

Besides retail losses, the many arms of SSE group have seen sustained growth. Transmission and distribution reported profit increases of 9.3% – electricity transmission in particular was up 48% to £136.7m in the year to 31 March. A one-off £90 million profit was also reported from the purchase of a gas field in the North Sea.

With pressure from Which? and political parties, other energy companies are likely to voice an opinion soon and possibly reignite talk of a price war.

Business groups react to Labour’s minimum wage proposal

20 May 2014

Plans for reform were set out this week after a low-pay review commissioned by the Labour party.

Full figures will not be announced by Ed Miliband until before the general election next year, but amounts around 60% of average earnings have been suggested by others.

Mr Miliband said: ‘This gets at a terrible scandal in this country of 5 million in low-paid work unable to make ends meet. We have got to tackle it and I just don’t think we can carry on as we are. The minimum wage has done a good job in tackling the worst of exploitation but we have now got to tackle low pay’.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), welcomed the call for higher minimum wages in the low-pay review, saying: ‘The minimum wage grew from a union campaign to a landmark achievement of the last Labour government. Now after years of real wage cuts, we need to see far greater ambition to achieve fair pay’.

SMEs ‘more likely to hire’ than larger businesses

14 May 2014

Small and medium-sized businesses are significantly more likely to hire new staff in the next quarter of the year than larger businesses, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed.

According to the research, SME employers are nearly five times more likely to take on new staff over the coming months than their larger counterparts.

However, the CIPD is warning that when planning for growth, small businesses should ensure that they remain focused on their business vision and values. Recent studies conducted by the CIPD suggest that having a clearly defined purpose and set of values plays a key role in the success of SMEs.

Commenting on the report, Dr Jill Miller from the CIPD advised, ‘We know that having a clearly articulated purpose and values is vital for business success, and our research among SMEs shows that they wholeheartedly agree. However, there is a danger that if these values are note a living part of daily operations, they can become diluted or even disappear as the business changes and the workforce grows’.

‘Keeping hold of ‘what you’re all about’ over time requires constant attention as culture, purpose and values will affect the standard and style of customer service delivered, the satisfaction, engagement and retention of your people and ultimately your organisation’s performance.’

Housing bubble could affect interest rates

13 May 2014

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has predicted that the housing market could force the Bank of England to raise interest rates early next year.

Predictions are that UK GDP will rise from 2.6% to 3pc. In a recent statement the CBI said it is ‘bringing forward its estimated date of an interest rate rise to the first quarter of 2015, when it is forecasting the first 0.25 percentage point increase’.

Director General of the CBI, John Cridland, warned: ‘We have to remain alert to the risks posed by unsustainable house price inflation, and the Financial Policy Committee is poised to act when necessary.

‘Housing has come back under the spotlight as annual house price inflation figures have reached double digits on some measures. While housing transactions are still running almost 30% below their peak in 2006, they are picking up steadily’.

Economists have claimed that Bank of England governor Mark Carney will confirm an interest rate rise this week.

The CBI has urged that ‘businesses must be at the heart of delivering prosperity for all’, and will publish its pre-election proposals in full later in 2014.