According to HMRC a record number of SA returns were filed online this year. So well done everyone.

What's new in tax?

The House of Common's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been continuing to investigate tax avoidance. They do quite a good job in unravelling these issues (thanks partly to the role of investigtive journalists) and as I keep noting this is positive: MPs have worked out that running a country is no different to running a business, take your eye off revenue and you can quickly get into debt. 

The tax avoidance debate has probably run its course although I would guess that some members of the PAC may like to interrogate some of the QCs whose opinions have buoyed up so many of the really aggressive schemes of recent years. It's like trying to catch water from a sieve; there are too many holes and most of the water has disappeared already. The new General Anti Abuse Rule will apply from July 2013 and this should in theory block some of the most hideous schemes of recent years, but with bigger business the PAC have discovered the impasse: MPs and the public don't like the way that multinational firms can play the rules and choose which rate of tax to pay by moving to whichever jurisdiction suits them, yet government wants to encourage bigger businesses to bring their HQs to the UK. I have no doubt that many individuals and UK businesses will see that as unfair. How can you compete with someone who is paying at least 10% less tax than you?

HMRC has been consulting over draft tax legislation for the 2013 Finance Bill. Changes to the Annual Investment allowance from 1 January 2013 are set to greatly complicate life for advisers and it would be most agreeable to see a rethink of the transitional rules. Likewise the proposals for simplified accounting for small business don't feel that simple although subscribers to our service can cheer up, we will soon have new guides on the site which will brief you fully on all the changes.

Best wishes


Nichola Ross Martin FCA
Tax Director
Your online Virtual Tax Partner: practical support for accountants, tax advisers and their clients

News headlines

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) here to stay 
ADR is designed to save the cost of a formal tribunal, we found our experiences within the pilot scheme very useful.

HMRC to appeal Rangers EBT case
Were payments made to players participating in Rangers EBT really disguised wages and not loans.

GAAR advisory panel announced 
Warning - may contain nuts: HMRC has appointed an interim panel to advise on the new General Anti Abuse rule - a potentially explosive cocktail of large accounting and legal firms mixed with anti-avoidance campaigners.

Big Four grilled by Public Accounts Committee
The Public Accounts Committee continued its investigation into tax avoidance and was concerned that the big firms are involved in consulting on new legislation.

Cup Trust: Gift Aid scam
A depressing sign of the times: UK charity + offshore trustees, bound to = trouble.

HMRC banking alert
Just to note that Santander had problems taking card payments for HMRC on the 31st January 2013.


Dividends: index 
Guides to dividends: minutes, warrants and tax on unlawful distributions

Directors' loan accounts: toolkit
HMRC's instruction to its staff is that they examine directors' private expenditure during the course of an enquiry into a close company's books and records

Tax penalties: RTI (Real Time Information)
NEW guidance

Tax penalties: SA late filing & payment
Guide plus examples: don't overlook the late payment provisions

Avoiding marginal rates of tax
Tax planning tips and examples

Tax-efficient profit extraction checklist (companies)
A new checklist and briefing too for companies and their owners

Relevant earnings for pensions purposes
A useful page to bookmark

Essential reading

for paying subscribers only

Distributions & striking off
NEW: this guide explains the rules now that ESC C16 has been legislated and notes potential planning points and pitfalls.

Joint property: legal v beneficial ownership
UPDATE: we have added a case on the pitfalls of combining joint bank accounts and gifts for IHT.

High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge
The new charge explained with helpful flow charts to decide who pays and when.

Accountancy & tax fees
What is allowable and what you need to add back

Employer pension contributions 
Last chance for income tax and NICs relief for pension contributions made on behalf of an employee's family

Disappearing tax reliefs 
Last change saloon! Tax reliefs that are disappearing in April 2013

Tax planning for income at marginal tax rates
UPDATE: strategies to avoid unexpected tax charges such as the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge (HICBC)

Private client tax planning for the 2012/13 year-end
UPDATE: topical tips on dealing with proposed changes in 2013

Directors' tax planning toolkit 2012-13
UPDATE: read this in conjunction with the Private client tax planning checklist above

Property profits & losses: toolkit
UPDATE: our toolkit covers the points made in HMRC's version but adds a great deal more information about what you can and can't claim

Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC)
NEW: an introductory summary for SME owners and advisers

VAT Update

Transfer of a Going Concern - properties
HMRC announces a change of practice where a seller grants a new interest in a land and property business, this follows the Robinson Family Company case. Some scope for repayments of VAT and SDLT

VAT: trading in the EU and abroad
UPDATE: a mini-guide

Recent updates

Tax masterclass: running an LLP & Co structure
Sample our Masterclass guide to business combinations. This one is ideal for trading companies and professional practices.

NICs on dividends
Key issues for those in tax schemes.

How do you tax ABC or alphabet shares?

For share awards outside family companies, see:

For a run down on the basic rules on taxing awards of shares and securities see:

If you are dealing with family companies and shares are being issued to family members, see:

Furnished Holiday Letting
Including examples on Averaging and Period of Grace reliefs.

Retirement: purchase of own shares
Menu and summary.

Employment status checklist
UPDATE: three new cases add some dimension to the existing tests

Capital Gains Tax: Entrepreneurs' Relief
UPDATE: comparing the disposal of part of a business and its assets

Furnished Holiday Letting
UPDATE: a major rewrite to include 2011 FA provisions including examples on Averaging and Period of Grace reliefs

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Here is a small selection of our guides (there are now over 900 guides and checklists available to paid subscribers)

Tax Data

PAYE late payment penalties buster

Overpayment Relief (formerly error or mistake)

What expenses can I claim?

Goodwill & incorporation: tax issues

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