Monday, 10 September 2012

New CIS guidance issued

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued updated guidance for subcontractors operating as limited companies on reclaiming any deductions taken from their payments under the Construction Industry Scheme.

Firms ‘at risk on insurance cover’

New research has shown that more than a third of UK small or medium enterprises (SMEs) could be putting their business at risk by failing to insure their key staff.

The latest RSM Tenon Business Barometer, a quarterly survey carried out by YouGov amongst senior management in SMEs, found that 42 per cent had failed to insure key staff.

Retailers hit by £205m e-crime bill

A pioneering study of e-crime has revealed that e-crime cost UK retailers at least £205.4 million in 2011-2012.

The first e-crime study from the British Retail Consortium, published on 22 August, found that the bill included £77.3 million in losses from frauds themselves as well as prevention costs and legitimate business lost as a result of those measures.

Keep HMRC informed, warns business group

An organisation representing small businesses has warned entrepreneurs to fully update HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about any changes to their operations, following a report that one firm is facing a £10,000 fine for not telling HMRC it had changed its name.

The Forum of Private Business revealed on 9 August that the firm, which did not want to be identified but which has always made VAT payments and submitted tax returns on time, was originally hit with a fine of more than £30,000 under VAT notification liabilities contained in the Finance Act 1985 and the VAT Act 1994.

The fine was imposed after the business changed from a partnership to a limited company – adding a ‘ltd' to its name – without informing HMRC, even though it retained its old VAT number and HMRC received all the tax due.

The fine has been reduced to just over £10,000 after intervention by accountants and the forum’s tax adviser Andrew Needham, with work continuing to further reduce the penalty.
Mr Needham said: “I am concerned that this is a change in HMRC's long-standing policy of waiving its technical ability to impose this penalty fine in such circumstances.

"If this is carried through and sets a precedent it could result in huge fines being imposed on small businesses which, in reality, have done very little wrong.

"It is important that all small businesses are aware they could face steep fines unless HMRC is kept fully updated – but this heavy-handed approach is the very opposite of the support that is 
desperately needed at this difficult time."

Mr Needham highlighted a House of Commons debate in July 1986 on the legal clause to protect small traders making innocent mistakes from recently introduced fixed VAT penalties, a clause which was subsequently included in the legislation.

The forum is urging all small business owners to contact its Public Affairs team about their experiences of HMRC – including if they have received fines they feel are unfair or disproportionate. They can contact the forum at 01565 626016 or email

If you want more information then please contact accountants in Lichfield.

Contractors ‘could cut SME tax bills by £2bn’

Businesses could slash their tax bills by up to £2 billion by using self-employed contractors, according to professional advice website

1 in 3 businesses not aware of RTI, research finds

One-third of small businesses are not aware of Real Time Information (RTI) and how it will affect their PAYE systems, according to new research.

Business software specialist Sage surveyed 1,100 UK SMEs and found that 64 per cent were aware of the changes that will come into effect in April 2013. However, only one in ten questioned thought that RTI would be good for their business.

Taxpayers count £1,200 cost of failing to file returns

Around half a million people who have not yet submitted 2010/11 tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are now receiving additional penalty letters.

The number of outstanding returns almost halved in 2012, falling to 5.9 per cent of those due compared to 10.7 per cent in 2011. As a result, 518,000 fewer penalties are being issued.