Good morning

This time we have a "back to school" special: a gentle reminder of what's new in the 2014 Finance Bill and what topics are currently under consultation, and at last a bit of good news on RTI. I have to say "thank you" to HMRC for listening to our concerns about RTI. Great news that micro businesses need only report RTI monthly until 2016. This means that they can ignore the "on or before payment rule" until then.  

Finance Act 2014 has greatly extended HMRC's powers and measures outlined for Finance Bill 2015 include proposals for creating a criminal offence for failing to declare ownership of an undeclared offshore bank account and for the direct recovery of tax debts. Up until now, thanks largely to the banking crisis, cash collection has been a key government concern. The flipside of  the coin is HMRC error: you cannot collect cash unless you know that there is really a debt. Until HMRC has better systems it is questionable as to whether it should be given any "judge and jury" type powers, even if MPs agree that this is constitutional. In August KPMG reported that 36,000 PAYE penalty letters were issued in error, confusingly HMRC Debt Management and Banking did not think that there was any error. Last week the ICAEW was critical of the aggressive tone of letters in respect of the Higher Income Child Benefit Charge. I bet that there is not an accountant or tax professional in the country who is not spending some time each day in resolving disputes that arise from HMRC error, and there are many more employees, pensioners and self employed individuals wading through endless web pages, call centres and help lines trying to get to the bottom of mistakes. Resolving HMRC error is a branch of tax on its own: a substantial time-waster for advisers, but think of the cost to the UK economy? It's highly unproductive and simply breeds resentment from those affected.

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.

Quick News (freeview)

RTI: micro employer's reporting relaxation is extended until 2016
The months of complaining to HMRC have paid off: well done to all who have made representations to HMRC. Applies only to those with nine or fewer employees.

ICAEW members soon to be able to provide probate services
Members can start taking exams in September. This was a reserved legal authority and this paves the way for mixed accountant/lawyer practices.

Government proposals for HMRC Direct Recovery of Debts
Over the summer business leaders and banks have written to HMRC, joining the tax bodies in opposition to the proposed measures. There is also an online petition to have the measure withdrawn. If not withdrawn these new powers will be included in the 2015 Finance Act. 

PAYE penalties for 2013/14
These will be notified in late September 2014

Contractor loans: settlement opportunity
HMRC's latest offer sets a deadline of January 2014 for those using offshore arrangements to avoid PAYE. HMRC may use its new Accelerated Payment power to demand any disputed tax following victories at the tribunal.

Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF)
HMRC modified the settlement terms in August

COP 9 investigations: terms changed
The "denial" route was removed in June.

Partnership agreements
A cautionary tale from the courts 

Ranger's EBT: are "loans" made to players real loans?
HMRC given leave to appeal

PAYE penalty notice chaos 
Advisers warn that HMRC has sent 36,000 letters in error: it could be you, but check the payment dashboard to confirm.

Consultations (freeview)

Consultation watch: what's new

Subscribers: new guides and updates

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

Recording HMRC
Tips on recording phone calls and meetings

VAT: place of supply
UPDATE: at a glance guide.

Place of supply: Mini One Stop Shop
New VAT registration for e-sellers and broadcasters from Jan 2015

Theatre Tax relief
A new tax relief for Theatrical Productions

Company Cars
UPDATE: worked examples updated

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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