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January 18, 2013

Also in the news this week – 18 January 2013

Employee shareholder scheme 'means more red tape'

Proposals for new employee-shareholder contracts are flawed and will lead to more red tape, the Law Society has warned. The proposals are contained within Clause 27 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, currently before the House of Lords. The Law Society says it is concerned that small businesses, the prime target audience for this proposal, will be put off by the complex tax, company law requirements and extra costs. Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff has written to members of the House of Lords asking that the proposal be deleted from the Bill.

Small firms losing faith in their energy suppliers

Trust in energy suppliers has reached a new low among small firms – with just 36% of SME decision-makers saying they trust their energy provider. That's the finding of new research by business community Ingenious Britain, in conjunction with business money-saving experts MakeItCheaper.com. To put that finding into context, the 500 SMEs polled had more trust in their banks (50%), insurance providers (51%), solicitors (69%) and accountants (77%). And the research shows that, should allegations regarding price-fixing be proven, SME business owners and managers would overwhelmingly seek compensation – 84% said compensation should be provided and 77% said they would seek a claim.

100 new tax inspectors will target the 'affluent'

HMRC's Affluent Compliance Team is to recruit 100 additional tax inspectors. In addition to targeting taxpayers with an annual income of more than £150,000 and wealth of between £2.5 million and £20 million, the unit will also cover those with wealth in the range of £1 million to £2.5 million. Roger Atkinson, director of the Affluent Teams, said: "Good quality intelligence is central to catching the cheats and so we are expanding our Affluent Intelligence Unit fourfold. The new team will be fully operational by April and focused on delivering an additional £75 million a year. This is very good news for all honest taxpayers."

Business owners still unaware of personal tax return deadline

A new poll conducted in December 2012 by Crunch Accounting and OnePoll reveals that 68% of UK sole traders and business owners say they still don't know the deadline for filing their self-assessment tax forms. The survey also found that a worrying 61% are unlikely to file their self-assessment tax forms by the 31 January deadline. This reflects recent news from HMRC that 6 million people are yet to complete their return. It could also lead to HMRC cashing in on a potential £600 million in late return fines (£100 fine per person).