Posts Tagged ‘government

08
Oct
15

Do not bury your head in the sand

Sheffield based accountants Hart Shaw is urging business not to be complacent if they receive accelerated payment notices (APNs), after new figures reveal that the government has collected more than £1 billion through their use.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recently announced that it has collected more than a billion pound using APNs, since it was granted the new powers in 2014/15.

Under the accelerated payment rules, HMRC is able to make taxpayers pay disputed tax in advance, rather than waiting for the outcome of a tax tribunal ruling.

Once an APN is received taxpayers have 90 days to pay the outstanding tax, whether they feel it is due or not or face additional penalties. If the taxpayer wins the case the money is reimbursed to them with interest.

During the first year HMRC issued more than 10,000 notices to businesses or individuals who had used a disclosable scheme under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules.

Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner at Hart Shaw said: ““Receiving an APN should not be taken lightly, as it can have a serious effect on the liquidity and reputation of you and your business.

“The fact that HMRC have collected more than £1 billion, shows that they are serious when it comes to potential tax avoidance.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed in HMRC’s annual report on tax avoidance, that of the £596m received from APNs during 2014/15, some £28m was refunded after legal challenges.

“While many of those targeted by these new powers may have legitimately avoided paying tax, there will be some individuals and business who have been unfairly targeted and this is evident in the number of refunds already issued by HMRC,” added Christopher.  “Seeking professional advice sooner rather than later is critical.”

For more information please contact Christopher Brown on 0114 251 8850 or chris.brown@hartshaw.co.uk.

 

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26
Mar
15

The TTIP of the iceberg

The future of the UK’s SMEs could be threatened if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is introduced.

TTIP would bring benefits to big business, but SMEs seem set to lose out. A huge majority of UK firms are SMEs and they have been behind the economy’s growth for a long time. At the last Autumn Statement, the Government recognised this and rewarded them with a raft of measures designed to help. Now, their very existence could be hanging in the balance.

The aim of TTIP is to create a free market on both sides of the Atlantic and remove regulations, but a good many of these currently work in favour of SMEs. The European Commission’s Centre for Economic Policy Research has said that the agreement will boost EU economic output by 0.5 per cent by 2027. Export predictions are slightly more positive and put growth at 5–10 per cent over a 10–20 year period. However, given the current rapid rate of growth among SMEs, it’s hard to see why such a potentially disruptive move is a necessary intervention.

If you’re a small business in Europe that creates products adhering to EU rules, you may well find that under TTIP, your products are more expensive to produce than their US equivalents, due to their use of cheaper labour and materials that are not permitted under EU legislation. If some of the EU’s regulations are scrapped, a lot of US products that were previously banned are likely to flood the market and undercut prices.

A further problem for SMEs is the damage that TTIP could cause to local and home-grown businesses. In the UK, some councils operate schemes that aim to strengthen communities and help small local suppliers. In fact, the government recently pledged support to smaller businesses by setting a target for 25 per cent of its supplier contracts to be fulfilled by SMEs by May 2015. However, these arrangements would be deemed illegal under TTIP; further compromising the growth prospects of the UK’s SMEs.

For further details please contact Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner on 0114 251 8850 or chris.brown@hartshaw.co.uk.

 

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26
Nov
13

Consultation to be launched into late payments

Small businesses who struggle to get paid on time should be aware that the Government is to launch a consultation into the issue.

According to YouGov research, 85 per cent of small firms had experienced late payments over the last two years, despite the Government-backed Prompt Payment Code, which was established in 2008 to help small suppliers get paid on time.

Although around 1,500 firms are signed up to this scheme, it has been claimed that some have still managed to stretch out settlement periods to 120 days, despite an EU directive which says business-to-business payments must be made within half that time.

Now, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to launch a consultation into late payments, asking for views on areas such as encouraging greater responsibility for prompt payment, highlighting firms who are good payers and those who are not, how existing legislation can be better enforced and whether firms should be fined for making late payments.

Late payments can have a crippling impact on the cash flow of many smaller businesses, so it will come as welcome news to many that the Government is now looking into the matter.

The consultation is due to be launched later this year and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be. However, in the meantime, businesses who are experiencing cash flow difficulties or struggling to budget effectively may benefit from seeking expert advice as soon as possible to ensure that any problems are identified and addressed before they get out of hand.

For further information, please contact Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner on T: 0114 251 8850 or email: chris.brown@hartshaw.co.uk.

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