Good morning

HMRC's consultation on the Direct Recovery of Debts has led to recent debates by both the CIOT and the ICAEW on HMRC's powers. There is grave concern that HMRC is seeking further use of private tribunal hearings and measures which circumvent the normal appeals process. Reflect on these points, if you will:

  • This week we hear that the Adjucator upheld 90% of complaints against HMRC in 2013/14 paying out over £4 million in redress. HMRC's own review process failed to solve these complaints.
  • In two weeks we have seen two cases where HMRC has apparently abused its powers in respect of Schedule 36 Notices and in one case there is some considerable difficulty for the taxpayer to obtain redress as HMRC obtained its notice in a secret hearing of the First Tier Tribunal.
  • Recently reported late payment tribunal decisions on CIS late payment illustrate how different judges can come to apparently different decisions on the same topic. In three cases heard without a public hearing the judge came to decisions which may well be wrong in law, yet without a public hearing (and no doubt the benefit of representation) the taxpayer would not know that. 
  • At least one case on Tribunal powers is apparently not reported on the Tribunal website.
  • To cap it all HMRC are now proposing that it does not have to notify individuals of any change to their PAYE coding for up to 30 days after the employer has been notified.

I am confused as to why secret hearings are allowed at all and the modification of PAYE codes by stealth is extraordinary. I am certainly taking these matters up with my MP. Ironically the move to change PAYE notifications is being done by Statutory Instrument which does not get any parliamentary scrutiny.

The 2014 Finance Act has been reviewed opennly by both houses of parliament and it received Royal Assent last week. We have now updated our Finance Act "at a glance" tax planner for 2014/15 and included measures already decided upon or consulted on for future years. This is one of my favourite guides on the site and so this week's essential update.

Elsewhere on the site we have been busy updating guides for the new measures so you can review these at your leisure. 

Scroll down for news and updates.

Best wishes

Nichola Ross Martin FCA Tax Director

Your online Virtual Tax Partner®: practical support for accountants, tax advisers and their clients.

News (freeview)

Trouble at tribunal
CIS late filing penalty appeals: judges give different verdicts on proof of posting certificates.

HMRC plans stealth changes to PAYE codes
In a bid to disenfrachise taxpayers HMRC wishes to change the PAYE regulations so that it does not need to notify an employee of any changes to his tax code for up to 30 days after the employer is informed. Write to HMRC and object (template provided).

The Adjudictor reports on HMRC
Shockingly (because this makes such a mock of HMRC's own review process) the Adjudicator upholds 90% of complaints about HMRC and writes off £3.9m, mainly in PAYE.

DOTAS schemes listed for advance payment
Scheme users (tax schemes which are under enquiry) will be required by HMRC to make Accelerated Tax Payments from August onwards.

Are HMRC's power going too far?
HMRC's Director General of Business Tax joins the CIOT and IFS for a debate which largely focused on HMRC's proposals for the Direct Recovery of Debts from taxpayer bank accounts 

Consultations: employee shares (freeview)

Two new ones:

Subscribers: new guides and updates

Finance Act 2014: tax update & rolling planner
NEW: you won't ever feel overwhelmed with the size of the Finance Act with our guide to what's hot in SME taxes.

Theatre Tax relief
NEW: tax relief for Theatrical Productions

Company Cars
UPDATE: worked examples updated

Childcare and childcare vouchers
UPDATE: new proposals

Medical benefits and health checks
UPDATE: worth a read, there have been several changes in recent years.

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings
UPDATE: act now as the charge extends to property worth £1 million from 2015.

Finance Act 2014 new guides

Accelerated Payment & Follower Notices
NEW: clients who have used tax schemes or have ongoing tax enquiries may find themselves subject to a Follower Notice: comply now or face a fine. If you have taken part in any of the well publicised schemes that have failed in the courts then expect an Accelerated Payment Notice. There is an appeal process.

UK Agencies & Offshore intermediaries
NEW: At a glance guide: new provisions from 6 April 2014

Agency workers
NEW: changes to the agency rules from 6 April 2014 stamp out "false self employment". This guide contains both new and old rules.


Entrepreneurs' Relief
UPDATE: a re-write of this guide in order to clarify many of your FAQs.

Furnished Holiday Letting
UPDATE: new discussion on FHL held as either joint property or in a partnership and some potential tax traps for both Entrepreneurs' relief and IHT business property relief.

Directors' tax planning toolkit 2014/15
UPDATED: our rolling planner for this year

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