While we rush to comply with SA filing obligations ahead of the 31 January deadline, HMRC have their own deadlines to meet. 

Many advisers will have received section 9A TMA 1970 notices announcing enquiries into last year's SA returns. So the introduction of a new topic onto our site: "Investigations" is most timely. We are delighted to feature ex-HMRC investigations guru Dave Williams. He is on hand to add his views on recent developments in his new blog as well as updating our investigations news and helping subscribers.

We have all the usual updates, but this time, we have changed the format of this update so that you can scan the news faster. Please read on also for new guides and updates. Do let me know if you like this version.

The next Adviser Update is scheduled for early February.

Best wishes


Nichola Ross Martin FCA
Tax Director

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


Directors' loan accounts: toolkit
UPDATE: this is our version of HMRC's toolkit for advisers but ours is a modified version to include additional planning points.

Use of home for business purposes
NEW: tax treat mini guide for your staff.

Pensions: carry forward of unused allowances
NEW: guidance on the mechanics of the carry-forward of deemed allowances from 2008/09.

Capital allowances
UPDATE: add this to FAVOURITES our plant and machinery allowances data card.

News and updates

Penalties & appeals

PAYE P35 penalties: HMRC appeal FTT
In HOK Limited judge Geraint Jones QC reduced the taxpayer's penalties and was heavily critical of HMRC's deliberate policy of delaying sending out penalty notices. HMRC to appeal this decision.

Tax penalties: Self Assessment late filing & payment (from 2010/11)
A quick guide.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for SMEs
A new pilot is launched in the North West - ADR can be better way of resolving disputes and is cheaper than litigation.

Business Record Checks
HMRC decides on a strategic review of the pilot amidst criticism that it has made a policy change.

Investigations and enquiries

Investigations and Code of Practice 9 Update
NEW: what HMRC did next (with data stolen from HSBC in Switzerland).

Civil investigation of fraud: don't attempt DIY
Don't try this at home...HMRC's latest disclosure opportunity for fraud cases: even it admits that this is one is not for novices.

Ain't misbehaving?
NEW: Dave Williams is unimpressed by HMRC's attitude in his new blog.

Ex-HMRC adviser guilty of charity share fraud
Was it worth it? Vantis director created a "pump and dump" via Gift Aid relief.

Contractual disclosure facility CDF
New arrangements for disclosing serious tax fraud.

Employment taxes

Pool car perils
NICs expert Peter Arrowsmith, writing in the ICAEW's Taxline draws attention to difficulties for employers in claiming a car is a pool car. We check out latest tax cases.

Collecting Tax Debts through PAYE
From April 2012 debts of up to £2,999 will be added to codes. These will be issued from now on.

Subscribers' Guides

Don't miss:

Fixtures: overview
UPDATE: confused about late claims for Fixtures and changes in 2012? Start here.

Disappearing tax reliefs
UPDATED: tax reliefs and changes that will affect your clients in the next 12 months.

Finance Bill 2012: tax planner
Our rolling CPD buster for SME advisers.

Training and course fees (employees)
UPDATE: this can be a confusing topic: if an employer provides work related training it is specifically allowed for tax. If an employee orchestrates their own training there is perceived to be a benefit and no deduction is allowed. We have added more case law to our list.

ESC C16: the last chance
From 1 March 2012 most companies will need to appoint a liquidator in order to cease trading.

Amnesties/disclosure opportunities to-date
Another quick guide!

Dividends: index
Start here for our new guide to dividends: minutes, warrants and tax on unlawful distributions.

Long-life assets
NEW: solar panels are added to the list.

Legal or unlawful dividends: Companies Act 2006
A mini-guide.

Essential reading

for Paid-up subscribers only

Subsistence (self-employed)
UPDATE: re-write of this classic: more examples and case law.

Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) - energy saving plant
NEW: with 100% allowances on ECA it is worth updating clients.

New Guides and Updates

Gifts to staff and trivial benefits and business gifts
UPDATED: to clarify tax relief on business gifts.

UPDATED: you may obtain tax relief on some costs of entertaining as this guide explains.

Recent updates

Close Investment Holding Companies
UPDATE: two recent reports from the Tribunals indicate how easy it is to overlook the rules.

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.

Most popular

Here is a small selection of our guides (there are now over 700 guides and checklists available to paid subscribers)

Directors' loan accounts: toolkit

ABC or alphabet shares: family companies

Can I back-claim capital allowances on residential property?

Tax Data

Striking off a company

Tax penalties: PAYE: late payment

PAYE late payment penalties buster

Overpayment Relief (formerly error or mistake)

What expenses can I claim?

Goodwill & incorporation: tax issues

Mini-guides and indexes


Tax planning for directors
Index to guides and updates

Retirement: a purchase of own shares
A menu and summary

VAT: a whole new section
Toolkits, practical guides, current reclaim opportunities and updates

Are you still happy with us? Subscribers please email Nichola with your feedback, it all helps.

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What do you get?

  • Open access to the entire Virtual tax database together with bonus material.
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  • Regular client tax briefings: these cover the latest business and employment tax issues and are designed to assist you plan meetings and improve your client services.
  • A regular Email update when there are new guides and tax issues that we think you MUST read.
  • Nichola’s monthly SME tax news summary (we do the reading and cherry pick the best of the press, magazines and websites for you).
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