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Last feed update: Friday June 29th, 2018 01:30:32 AM

Five things you need to know about tax, 29 June 2018

Thursday June 28th, 2018 11:14:54 AM
Highlights this week include Form 12 requests from Revenue, Main TALC minutes, the latest Talking Points schedule and new tools to close loopholes in the EU VAT system. Ireland 1. The 2017 Form 12 bulk issue from Revenue is due to commence shortly.  The advice is to notify Revenue of the marriage now to prevent demands for a Form 12 issuing to you or your clients.  Read more here. 2. The approved minutes of the Main TALC (Taxes Administration Liaison Committee) meeting held on 1 May are now available for you to read. UK 3. Take a look at HMRC’s forthcoming Talking Points events and book now. 4. The latest HMRC news on digital support for agents and business is available. International 5. Political agreement was reached by EU Member States recently on new tools to close loopholes in the EU's Value Added Tax (VAT) system.  Read more here.  

Is it time to take a break?

Thursday June 28th, 2018 11:14:46 AM
Summer has arrived but some people might still be wrapping up studies with a year-round programme, thesis-writing and so on and it might be a bit hard to keep the focus while the rest of  us are lathering on sunscreen and planning trips to beer gardens, the beach, barbeques. It might be a good time to consider how best to use downtime. The value of a break cannot be underestimated. Breaks are written into everything we do in a formal setting. In school, there was “little break” and “big break”. In employment acts, there are specific amounts of time allocated to defined lengths of work time. Professional drivers legally have to break for rest stops. We have intervals at theatre shows and who can remember when there used to be breaks at the cinema? Little breaks Don’t underestimate the value of a break. Every hour or so, you should stop, stand up, ideally leave the room and even more ideally, step outdoors for some fresh air. If this all takes just two to three minutes, that’s all it needs. That will give you a bit of oxygen into the brain and a fresh insight into what you’re working on. Bigger breaks Just as importantly, you should take a bigger chunk of time off whenever you can. If you have the luxury of this being a half day or day a week, you might be one of the lucky ones. Try for a meaningful block of time as often as you can. And here’s the important bit: plan something. If you don’t allocate yourself something to do, you will inevitably schedule something mundane like folding laundry or bringing something somewhere for someone else. This time needs to be for you. First things first, get out of the house if you feel you need to. There will therefore be no temptation to sneak open your notes. Secondly, turn off your phone’s internet access. No checking of emails or social media is allowed! Your phone should just be about making arrangements for today, with actual conversations. Then it’s down to making a plan. Don’t be too ambitious. Chances are you’ll be preoccupied as it is so manage your expectations. Don’t aim for anything life-changing; the focus here is just a while of not thinking about your studies for even a short time. Try to not do anything involving looking at a television or computer screen or reading. Rest your mind and your eyes now. Here are a few suggestions. Some of them sound terribly wholesome but the aim here is not to have a nail-biting experience, spend a lot or to be out late, it’s about getting a mini-escape. Take the plunge: Is there a swimming pool nearby? Having a dip is refreshing and invigorating. Culture vulture: How about a gallery or museum? If you can find even 20 minutes to stroll around and look at nice paintings, sculpture, photography, it can be really calming. Get some fresh air: One of the nicest things is a long walk by any type of water. Do you live near a canal, the sea, a river or lake? Walking here can be very relaxing. Discover: Grab a guide book for your town, city or county and be a tourist. Randomly pick something you’ve never done and see a couple of sites. It’s amazing what is right in front of you that you don’t see. Even a cheesy bus tour can be a good escape from the books. On your bike: Preferably one with a basket. Pack a small picnic, a rug and ideally arrange to meet a pal. Find a park, canal path, the zoo, beach. Whatever is nearby where you can sit or even better lie down to watch the world go by, listen to its sounds and have a sneaky doze in the sunshine. Go somewhere: are you on a train line? Why not take a day trip somewhere? Get the trusted guide book out again and find something new to see in a new place. Catch a flick: there’s nothing like being in the cinema in the daytime midweek. You’ll have the place to yourself and it’s pure escapism. Have a snooze: if you’re tired, admit it. A powernap for 20 minutes can really do the world of good. On your break, if you have a little sleep, go for a quick walk, you will find yourself far more effective afterwards. Be antisocial: while you may think that being on social media is fun and is taking a break, it can actually be harming your study capacity. It has been shown to increase stress and decrease focus: two things you ultimately don’t want to do. To sum up, the best breaks are those in which we rest our minds and exercise our bodies. Studying usually involves lots of sitting so when you feel restless, tired, or otherwise just not “into it” anymore: stand up and walk away. It will make the time after the break so much more productive and therefore you’ll be much happier…and hopefully had a nice experience to boot. Good luck! Amy Dawson Amy is a member of the Specialist Qualifications team at Chartered Accountants Ireland. With over ten years experience in arts administration, she has also worked in education administration, providing support for distance learners. From a postgraduate diploma to an online Masters to swimming, oil painting and theatre production, she's always looking for the next learning indulgence or to help you find yours: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/en/CPD/Specialist-Qualifications/

Technical roundup 29 June

Wednesday June 27th, 2018 12:30:31 PM
Developments of interest this week are outlined. ROI    IAASA has published its 2017 Annual Report.  The Report, which was laid before the House of the Oireachtas in recent days, details the work the Authority carried out throughout 2017 across its various areas of responsibility. The CRO have issued their regular gazette. UK The Financial Reporting Council has this week issued a consultation on proposed amendments to the FRC Taxonomies to support the objectives of enhancing the quality and accessibility of financial reporting in the UK and to enable digital reporting of IFRS and UK GAAP standards.  Investors are calling on companies to reassess how they report their performance metrics, according to a new report from the Financial Reporting Lab (the Lab). The FRC has recently withdrawn Practice Note 26 – Guidance on Smaller Entity Documentation. The current version of the Practice Note was issued in December 2009, and no longer supports the documentation requirements of a high quality audit. Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman FRC, speaks on corporate reporting at the FRC's Financial Reporting Lab's Conference, Reporting Now! International On 5 June 2018, CFA Institute and the IFRS Foundation hosted a panel debate at the Guildhall in London, asking whether traditional metrics are still relevant amidst rapid technological advancements. The June IASB Update has been issued which includes summaries of discussions at the recent IASB and FASB joint education meeting and the monthly IASB meeting.    

Ireland’s biggest accountancy body unveils new student education programme

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 01:44:21 PM
Ireland’s leading accountancy body, Chartered Accountants Ireland, today (Tuesday 26 June) announced the launch of a new education programme for its 6,665 students across the island. The new programme seeks to address current market and employer needs, anticipate future skills requirements and puts additional supports in place for its student body. The updated Chartered programme will include new final year specialist elective subjects, some for the first time anywhere in the world. Chartered Accountants Ireland is the only accountancy institute is the world to offer this unique blend of elective subjects to its final year students. The programme will be available to Chartered Accountants Ireland students from October 2018 and represents the largest single reform of the Institute’s education offering in more than a decade. Taken together, the new initiatives will make the Chartered qualification even more attractive for new graduates and experienced professionals alike.  The updated education programme includes the following significant enhancements and updates:  A new elective subject in financial services, available to final year (FAE) students, offered in partnership with the Institute Of Banking A new FAE elective in finance and accounting in the public sector, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) A new FAE elective, ‘Advisory’ replaces an existing elective and will appeal to students looking to specialise in consultancy New pathways to membership, for example more exemptions from the Institute’s professional exams will be offered to people who have already passed corresponding exams in university or with other bodies   To coincide with this, the Institute has also launched a new, all-island advertising campaign to promote the career opportunities available for Chartered Accountants, new flexible routes to the qualification and the updated education programme. The advertising will run for the course of the summer on radio and digital formats and will be supported by open evening events in Dublin, Cork and Belfast – see www.charteredaccountants.ie/study for details. Chartered Accountants Ireland Chief Executive Barry Dempsey commented: “Chartered Accountancy is Ireland’s premier business qualification, highly sought after by leading employers, and is a secure, attractive profession. “The new Chartered Accountants Ireland education programme responds to the changing nature of the accountancy and wider business sectors, and sets the profession on a sound footing for the future. “In planning the new programme, we have listened to and collaborated with a wide range of stakeholders including our network of member firms, employers, other leading accountancy bodies, and our existing students, in order to devise a programme that is best in class. “For anyone interested in an exciting and challenging career, my message is that Chartered Accountants are in extremely high demand, and the career opportunities on offer are exceptional.  The recent expansion of our entry pathways and flexible routes to the qualification now make it even more accessible for talented and ambitious graduates and professionals to progress in their careers with us.” Director of Education and Training Ronan O’Loughlin said: “Education never stands still and our programmes must keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment, new technologies and student expectations.  The new education programme does just that and will ensure that our members, Chartered Accountants, have the right blend of financial and technology skills and training to lead businesses into the future.” ENDS Reference: Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland: T: (01) 637 7268 Note to editors: Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s biggest accountancy body with over 26,500 members based in over 90 countries. Chartered Accountants Ireland is the biggest single educator of accountants in Ireland and is the sole educator and examiner for students of Chartered Accountancy on this island. Chartered Accountancy students train and generate relevant experience in firms including the ‘Big 4’, mid-tier and small practices as well as businesses of every size and the public sector. The qualification can also be followed independently through the Chartered Accountants Ireland Flexible Route.

France and Germany agree a common position paper on CCCTB

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:26:40 AM
France and Germany recently issued a common position paper on the proposal for a Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) which suggests a number of modifications to the measures proposed by the Commission. The position paper makes the following proposals: France and Germany favour the compulsory application of the CCTB Directive to companies subject to corporate tax. The profit and loss recognition rules proposed by the CCTB Directive should be supplemented with a general rule providing that the tax base is determined on the basis of accounting principles and calculated by applying the business asset comparison method, in order to apply a simple and comparable method and keep bureaucratic effort at a minimum. A harmonised corporate tax base should not feature any tax incentives, including research and development and equity financing. Both countries do not support introducing provisions on cross-border loss relief. The CCTB Directive should expressly state that national group taxation systems are to remain in force until implementation of the CCCTB Directive. France and Germany are not in favour of the adoption of delegated acts and all material legal rules should be directly set out in the Directive. The CCTB Directive should be introduced over a transitional period of at least 4 years. Amendments to the Directive are suggested under the following topics: revenues and expenses rules, asset depreciation rules, tax loss rules, rules for making hedging instruments, provisions and special provisions for insurance undertakings. France and Germany support the inclusion of anti-BEPS measures subject to certain amendments. Both countries consider that transfer pricing provisions should remain in the competence of the member states until the implementation of CCCTB-Directive. France and Germany want controlled foreign company provisions reflected in the CCTB Directive subject to a number of amendments. France and Germany support the introduction of a limitation rule on the deduction of interests, royalties and other remunerations paid in a country with a favourable tax regime (i.e. a tax regime leading to a tax rate below a certain percentage).  The Commission re-launched the CCCTB in October 2016. The proposed Directive is subject to unanimous agreement by member states before it can be implemented. 

Enhanced information exchange to combat VAT fraud in the EU

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:25:34 AM
Political agreement was reached by EU Member States recently on new tools to close loopholes in the EU's Value Added Tax (VAT) system. These inconsistencies lead to large-scale VAT fraud causing losses of €50 billion for national budgets of EU Member States each year according to the European Commission. The new measures provide for enhanced information exchange and cooperation between national tax authorities and law enforcement authorities. Once in force, Member States will be able to exchange more relevant information and to cooperate more closely in the fight against criminal organisations, including terrorists. The new cooperation rules will be published in the EU's Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later. As the implementation of the automated access to the information collated by the customs authorities and to vehicle registration data will require new technological developments, their application will be deferred until 1 January 2020.

New guidance on hard-to-value intangibles and the transactional profit split method under BEPS Actions 8-10

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:24:33 AM
The OECD released two reports containing Guidance for Tax Administrations on the Application of the Approach to Hard-to-Value Intangibles, under BEPS Action 8; and Revised Guidance on the Application of the Transactional Profit Split Method, under BEPS Action 10. The new guidance for tax administration on the application of the approach to hard-to-value intangibles is designed to provide a common understanding and practice among tax administrations on how to apply adjustments resulting from the application of this approach.  The revised guidance on the profit split method is developed as part of Action 10 of the BEPS Action Plan. This guidance has been formally incorporated into the Transfer Pricing Guidelines, replacing the previous text on the transactional profit split method in Chapter II.

Summer Economic Statement 2018

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:19:50 AM
The Summer Economic Statement published last week confirms to us that the government is targeting a deficit of 0.1 per cent of GDP for 2019.  This target will accommodate a budgetary package of €3.4 billion, of which €2.6 billion has been pre-committed to expenditure measures leaving €800 million for further allocation in Budget 2019.  The Statement tells us that the government’s prudent approach to its Budgetary Strategy will “facilitate the building-up of buffers for when times are less favourable and one that will help mitigate against potential future shocks”.  The Summer Economic Statement sets out the key elements of the Government’s budgetary strategy which revolves around five key areas: Ensuring steady and sustainable improvements in living standards; Rebuilding fiscal capacity The need for prioritisation and realism The need to avoid pro-cyclical fiscal policies That budgetary policy will focus on ensuring fiscal sustainability The Budgetary Strategy (Chapter 3, page 13) is framed “on the basis of what is right for the economy in order to ensure continued, steady improvements in Irish employment and living standards”.   Eliminating budget deficits, reducing debt, developing a “fiscal cushion” and creating the “Rainy Day Fund” are all budgetary priorities of government.  In an analysis piece in the Sunday Business Post, Dr Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation writes about “prudence” and the Irish government’s constraints for Budget 2018 as signalled in the Summer Economic Statement.  You can read the Summer Economic Statement on the Department of Finance website.  

New mandatory disclosure rules come into force

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:18:58 AM
The EU Council Directive, known as “DAC 6” requires the disclosure of cross border tax planning arrangements.  The first reportable transactions are those where the first implementation step occurs between 25 June 2018 (the date of entry into force of the Directive) and 1 July 2020 (the application date).  As we reported in Chartered Tax News earlier this month, DAC 6 applies from 1 July 2020 and the reports are due in August 2020.  However, transition measures provide that transactions implemented from 25 June 2018 will be reportable in August 2020.   Irish legislation to transpose the EU Directive into national law is not expected until 2019 (Finance Act 2019).  Clarification from the EU is needed on many features of the Directive, we understand from discussions with Revenue at the TALC forum that any such guidance is unlikely before 2019.  Revenue have published their own guidance by way of a new Tax & Duty Manual Part 33-03-02.  Revenue advised us at the TALC Direct/Capital Taxes Technical subcommittee recently that further guidance, sometime during 2019, is possible if the relevant clarifications are delivered from the EU.  

Revenue requests for a Form 12 tax return

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:18:34 AM
Members told us that letters have been received from Revenue requesting outstanding 2016 Form 12 tax returns in cases where Form 11 tax returns have been filed for the married couple.   Revenue advised us that an issue can arise where a married couple, one registered for income tax and one registered for PAYE only, are not registered as “married” with Revenue.  Although the married couple may have been filing Form 11 returns for a number of years, Revenue will continue to request the outstanding Form 12 as part of their compliance campaign.  The 2017 Form 12 bulk issue from Revenue is due to commence shortly.  The advice is to notify Revenue of the marriage now to prevent demands for a Form 12 issuing to you or your clients. Revenue told us that “where we receive the PPSN, date of marriage and the basis of assessment we can update our records accordingly.  The information can be provided via myEnquiries.  This will prevent a compliance notice issuing requesting the outstanding Form12 but also the future issuing of a Form12 return to the non-assessable spouse.” Information on the tax treatment of married couples and what you need to tell Revenue is available on the Revenue website. 

Main TALC minutes

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:18:00 AM
The approved minutes of the Main TALC (Taxes Administration Liaison Committee) meeting held on 1 May are now available  for you to read.  

Don’t be caught out by planned downtime, 25 June 2018

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:17:21 AM
Will you be using HMRC online services in the coming weeks? Don’t be caught out by the planned downtime to some services. HMRC are warning about the non-availability of specific services on the HMRC website, a range of services are impacted.  Check the relevant page for information on planned downtime. 

In the media, 26 June 2018

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:17:03 AM
In an analysis piece in the Sunday Business Post, Dr Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation wonders if the need for prudence seen in the government’s Summer Economic Statement is more by necessity than design.  His article in Irish Examiner on Monday looks at a link between tax and Strictly Come Dancing.

June corporate interest restriction deadline approaching

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:16:19 AM
Corporate groups within the scope of the Corporate Interest Restriction rules are required to submit an interest restriction return and should use HMRC’s online portal provided for electronic submission, accessible from the webpage Corporate Interest Restriction on deductions for groups. The normal deadline is 12 months after the period of account, but for those groups whose period of account ends between 1 April 2017 to 29 June 2017, this is extended to 30 June 2018. Where an interest restriction is due, a full return is required, containing the required calculations and allocations of restrictions to UK group companies. If there is no interest restriction, an abbreviated return can be made; this identifies the group members but does not contain calculations. Templates are available on the above webpage. Software developers can develop their own products, either to populate similar templates or create a bespoke return form providing the necessary information. The information should be presented in the same order as in the HMRC template. A small level of manual input is needed on the electronic form which forms part of the return..

Talking Points schedule, 25 June 2018

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:15:24 AM
Take a look at forthcoming online HMRC events.  HMRC ask that you register at least five minutes before a digital meeting is due to start.   Inheritance Tax (IHT), enveloped UK residential property and related finance This webinar will provide an overview of the changes made to the IHT treatment of foreign assets whose value is attributable to residential property. The changes apply from 6 April 2017 and may restrict the availability of excluded property for non-domiciled individuals and trusts. Monday 25 June - midday to 1ns_ Register now P11D submission overview This webinar will give an overview of how to complete P11Ds, to ensure your client’s employees are paying the right tax on benefits or expenses that have been provided. Wednesday 27 June - midday to 1ns_ Register now Class 1A NICs overview – getting it right This webinar will give an overview of how to complete P11D(b)s and what you can do to help HMRC process them in a timely manner. Thursday 28 June - midday to 1ns_ Register now IPO - the value within In this webinar HMRC will cover how businesses can identify their intellectual property and talk through methods of valuation to help access finance. Tuesday 3 July - 11am to midday: Register now Income from property - what’s new This webinar will be looking at some of the recent changes to the taxation of property income that now apply to individual landlords including the finance cost relief restriction and the 2017/18 cash basis rules for calculating profits of a rental business.  Wednesday 4 July - 11am to midday: Register now Wednesday 4 July - 1.30pm to 2.30ns_ Register now If you have any questions for HMRC’s subject experts more than 24 hours prior to the meeting, please send them to team.agentengagement@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, including the title of the meeting in the ‘Subject’ line of your email. Any questions that arise after this time should be submitted during the live meeting.  These interactive meetings run on the ‘GoToWebinar’ platform. The organiser will run through how to ask questions on the day. Missed recent Talking Points events? HMRC only keep the recordings for a limited time, so this is your opportunity to catch up on the latest webinars:- Company tax returns online: Register and view Making Tax Digital: Register and view Corporation Tax loss reform: Register and view Negligible value claims and Share Loss Relief: Register and view Business expenses for the self-employed: Register and view These interactive webinars were run on the ‘GoToWebinar’ platform and the information was correct at the time they were originally broadcast. The future Talking Points programme and links to other recordings we’ve published will continue to be hosted on GOV.UK..

Digital Support for Business & Agents – May 2018 Update

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:10:56 AM
The May 2018 update contains the latest on the Agent Forum and Talking Points.  “Digital Support for Business & Agents – May 2018 Update  Agent Forum (AF)   As at end of April 2018 the Forum has 456 Agent subscribers, up 60 since the last progress report. And 131 HMRC staff. We continue seeking key stakeholder engagement to both use the Forum and recruit more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for provision of issue resolution responses. It has attracted nearly 34.5k views (up 3.5k), 2004 (up +159) posted messages on 381 (43+) current topics; which are moderated daily with appropriate responses given, as determined by subject matter, related traffic generated and referrals provided by line of business. Our priority continues to be enlisting formal SME engagements and focusing on recruiting more agents to register for and use the forum. A programme of promotion emails which commenced during February 2018 is ongoing at a rate of 1k p/w and expected to run to mid-June 2018.  Agent registration return rates across 4 email tranches are yielding approx. 5% of those emailed. We continue to work closely with the Issues Overview Group (IOG), made up of Professional Bodies (PBs), a number of whom also sit on the VCG together with HMRC representatives.  It jointly determines what the ‘widespread’ issues priority classification should be, for earliest resolution. New arrangements for these meetings are in place and have moved away from a fixed schedule of events throughout the year to bespoke ones. Focus is on subjects of most concern, at which relevant Subject Matter Experts attend to both hear first-hand how Agents are impacted and to offer up or take away issues for resolution. P800 and related MTDfB issues are successfully being addressed. The Digital Support for Businesses and Agents (DSBA) Agent Team, staffed by 2.5 FTE Issues Resolution Managers (IRMs), moderate and run the forum. As and when required we bring in extra cover from our Agent Account Managers (AAMs) team to ensure we maintain response service levels, when going to Lines of Business for issues resolution.” END OF UPDATE

Dear Prudence

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:10:46 AM
 Sunday Business Post, 24 June 2018 The English novelist Henry Fielding was at his best when pointing out that prudence is a virtue most often exercised by those who have no choice except to be prudent.  The word “prudent” appears 10 times in the government's Summer Economic Statement (SES) which was published this week.  It seems this government is going to be terribly careful at the next Budget.  We are not going to be lured anymore by the prospect of largesse from the fiscal space, the amount which the EU rules will allow the government to spend including new borrowing.  Instead we shall be guided by principles of debt reduction and rainy day funds.   There can be no doubt at this stage that we live in a recovering economy.  As the SES points out itself, the state of the labour market is the best barometer of our economic trends.  The good economic news is that unemployment in 2018 should be below 6% and expected to fall further to below 5.5% in 2019.   Fair Weather The real measure of success of any government economic policy is how it helps sustain private sector job creation.  There is no better way of giving people an opportunity for a better quality of life, while at the same time containing the social welfare burden on the state.  So if the jobs barometer is pointing towards Fair Weather why are we being so prudent?  Paschal Donohoe is clearly concerned about the cumulative effects of EU pressure, the increasingly real threat of a disruptive Brexit and the deteriorating trading relationship  between the EU and the US, the latter most clearly evidenced by trans-Atlantic posturing on tariffs.  Then there are domestic political constraints he has to contend with.  The current government is still bound by the confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil, which means that the budget will have to be some form of collaborative effort.  It is now reasonable to question the extent to which government policy is actually driving the recovery.  This particular minority government isn't achieving very much.  It's a crude measure of government productivity, but the number of acts passed in the Oireachtas is in decline.  In 2015, which was the last full year where a majority government was in power, there were 74 acts added to the Irish Statute Book.  In 2017, the first full year of a minority government, there were just 44.  In the year to date, there have been only 9.   Less Auspicious While the employment statistics are good, some of the other economic markers are less auspicious.  The one currently receiving the most attention is the corporation tax yield, where there are concerns that it is too high to be relied upon.  The influence of foreign direct investment on our economy has been so prevalent in recent years that we have introduced a hybrid measure known as GNI* alongside the traditional measure of the size of the economy, gross domestic product or GDP.  GNI* may well be a more appropriate way of measuring the size of the economy.  It excludes some of the consequences of the relocation of foreign owned assets, notably intellectual property, in assessing the overall size of the economy.  However, because corporation tax yields are skewed by the presence of intellectual property, GNI* might not be the best yardstick to measure the impact of corporation tax receipts on the Exchequer returns. The focus on the high level by international standards of corporation tax in the composition of our tax yield masks another outlier.  We have one of the lowest levels of income tax relative to economic size within the OECD.  That apparently does not attract the same level of concern, possibly because income taxpayers vote whereas corporation taxpayers don't.  Conflicting Evidence Despite all this conflicting evidence, the SES offers comforting reassurance that the economy continues to grow and the taxes continue to roll in.  That makes it hard going for people like myself who think that targeted tax incentives are needed to stimulate economic growth and ultimately a sustainable tax yield.  Nevertheless, two of the most problematic areas for government – housing and healthcare – have deteriorated over the last decade.  I think both have suffered from the elimination of tax allowances and hence the willingness of individuals to contribute more, directly or indirectly, to their provision.   Tax relief for medical expenses and medical insurance was effectively halved.  In housing, mortgage interest relief was severely curtailed.  Tax incentives to provide rented residential accommodation were not just eliminated, but where relief had previously been granted, in many cases it was clawed back.  It would be too much of a coincidence that the elimination of these reliefs have had no bearing at all on the problems in health and housing.  Furthermore, the indigenous business sector needs boosting if we are to reduce our dependency on foreign direct investment.  The low take-up on incentives like the Employment & Investment Incentive, designed to offer funding alternatives for small and medium enterprise, suggests a real need for reform.  Indigenous firms are only mentioned in the SES in a discussion on productivity because they are falling behind.  Next week, the government will conduct its annual National Economic Dialogue.  Various civil society groups will be invited to share their views with Ministers on economic issues from taxation to environment to pensions and much else in between.  The SES will doubtless inform the discussions, but it will also constrain the agenda.   The over-arching message of the SES is that we have an economy which is not broken so it is not going to be fixed.  Forget about any missed opportunities for doing even better.  With so many internal, external and political constraints it has never been easier to be prudent. Brian Keegan is Director of Public Policy and Tax at Chartered Accountants Ireland

This week’s UK tax tidbits, 25 June 2018

Tuesday June 26th, 2018 09:08:35 AM
The latest Agent Update and Employers Bulletin feature this week. Agent Update 66 is available HMRC have updated guidance on trust taxable income, tax pools and deductions to reflect latest guidance on how the tax pool works HMRC are highlighting that submitting online Construction Industry Scheme refund claims before the 5 April deadline may cause delays or an incorrect payment The latest Employer Bulletin is available A new post, “Disguised Remuneration and how we tax waste is changing – Talking Points” has just been published on the HMRC working with tax agents blog HMRC has updated its departmental plan Check which sports clubs are registered with HM Revenue and Customs as community amateur sports clubs as at April 2018 An updated list of upcoming tax tribunal appeal hearings, including details of previous cases has been published The following corporation tax return forms have been updated:- Corporation Tax: Restitution Tax (CT600K (2017) version 3), Corporation Tax: charity and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CT600E (2015) version 3) and Corporation Tax: controlled foreign companies and foreign permanent establishment exemptions (CT600B (2015) version 3) Inheritance Tax account (IHT400) has been updated Rates and allowances for Income Tax and Rates and allowances: Stamp Duty Land Tax are available The following factsheets have been updated:- Compliance checks: tax avoidance schemes - penalties for follower notices - CC/FS30a, Compliance checks: penalties for inaccuracies in returns or documents - CC/FS7a, Compliance checks: tax avoidance schemes - follower notices and accelerated payments for Income Tax and NICs through PAYE - CC/FS27 and Compliance checks: penalties for VAT and excise wrongdoing - CC/FS12 Find out which country's social security legislation applies to you has been updated HMRC has published guidance on the definitions that make an individual an enabler of tax avoidance under legislation introduced in the Finance (No.2) Act 2017 HMRC has issued revised guidance on the non-resident capital gains tax rules for UK residential property sales as one in three face penalties for late filing HMRC has updated the corporation tax guidance to explain about registering a company when it becomes active

The changing world for women at work

Friday June 22nd, 2018 01:34:44 PM
According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, it will take women 217 years to reach parity in the workplace. Julie Fenton of EY, explains what needs to change for women in the workplace. We have all read the research and know it to be true, women's advancement and leadership are central to business performance and economic prosperity. However, the World Economic Forum is currently predicting that it will take 217 years until women have parity in the workplace. That's clearly too long. Change is required to speed this up. The question is, what needs to change for women at work? This is a great question and one that, in my experience, organisations are struggling with. We are: working in a world where technology is evolving at great speed, where the way we work is changing; and employing people who view their career path differently than we did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Despite this, the fact remains – we are not progressing and retaining woman in our organisations through to leadership positions as quickly as we should be. Many organisations are reviewing the data to understand the “problem”; an essential first step, and forms the basis of any robust diversity and inclusion strategy, of which gender is a central element.  Knowing when and why women leave an organisation; if they are being promoted at the same rate as men; and the gender composition across all levels of an organisation are all key pieces of information that help shape the solution to the problem. There are some key organisational and tactical changes that need to be made and these changes are a business imperative. To quote my own firm’s view on the gender issue - it is not about fixing the women. Organisational change Organisations need actively support women though helping them see the opportunities – helping them understand what top jobs are open to them, and creating an with an environment that expects women to occupy leadership roles. This helps junior women see and believe in the path before them. This is particularly important when women are mid-career, when the challenge to accelerating a career can coincide with other life events such as having a family. Organisations also need to look at their work environment and ensure it is supportive. An organisation needs to work to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias. Practical steps are needed to create a workplace that is more supportive of women would help and encourage more women to move up the ranks. So the questions is, what are those practical steps? What needs to change? McKinsey & Company, in conjunction with the 30% Club, has been working on this issue in professional services firms. Three areas that have been identified and where real change can be made on the ground today are around flexibility in the way we work, active sponsorship and in work allocation. First, organisations need to actively support women by helping them see the opportunities – helping women understand what opportunities are open to them, combined with creating an environment that expects women to occupy leadership roles. This is particularly important when women are mid-career, and the challenges of accelerating a career can coincide with other life events, such as having a family. It also helps junior women see and believe in the path before them. Second, progressive policies around flexible working need to be implemented and, most importantly, supported by all. They cannot be seen as just a part time arrangement to accommodate women. Informal flexibility – where, when and how men and women work, should be encouraged and supported. Organisations need to equip their people to work flexibly, as well as making it culturally acceptable. It needs to be able to happen practically and as a matter of course.  Third, an organisation needs to look at the work environment and ensure it is supportive by working to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias. Practical steps are needed to create supportive workplaces to help and encourage more women to move up the ranks. Initiatives such as sponsorship and formal mentoring programmes can be extremely beneficial for women. Organisations need to formalise their approach to ensure female talent is identified and actively sponsored by senior executives for progression. Finally, and I think most importantly, organisations need to challenge the allocation of work to women. Are women getting the jobs that give them stretch, and the chance to develop and be noticed? Are they getting business development opportunities? Are business leaders having open conversations with women about this or are unconscious bias and good intentions keeping challenging opportunities away from women in the workplace? These conversations need to happen. Julie Fenton is EY Assurance Partner and Partner Sponsor of the EY Women’s Network Ireland.

Real-time accounting with Receipt Bank

Friday June 22nd, 2018 11:40:20 AM
SPONSORED Bookkeeping productivity tool provider, Receipt Bank, offers solutions which increase efficiency for accountants whilst delivering business improvements for their clients. BY BARRY McCALL Chartered Accountant, Stacey Price, can remember the point when manually processing the paperwork coming in from clients became too much. “I remember thinking, if I have to reconcile one more bank account, I’ll lose my mind,” says the owner of Melbourne-based Healthy Business Finances. The scale of the problem faced by accountants and their clients is illustrated by research carried out by accounting software specialist Xero, which found that 51% of accountants say they spend most of their time manually processing transactions while 30% say most of it is spent chasing missing information. It’s little wonder then that the Xero research found that 94% of business owners want their accountants to use the latest technology. The solution These issues have resulted in quite dramatic growth in the use of bookkeeping productivity tools such as those available from Receipt Bank. Today, more than 5,000 accountancy practices around the world are using Receipt Bank’s solution to automate the collection and data extraction of receipts and invoices from their clients. Every month, Receipt Bank processes over 4.5 million invoices and receipts from more than 100,000 businesses globally who benefit from effortless bookkeeping and real-time accounting. According to Damien Greathead, Vice President, Business Development with Receipt Bank, the company’s software gives Chartered Accountants the tools to digitise the information flow from their clients and speed up the whole process. The software enables clients to upload their items to the cloud by taking a photo with our mobile app, emailing it in, or simply uploading receipts and invoices via their desktop PC. The technology unlocks the value of accounting data, automates the bookkeeping process and helps build more valuable relationships between Chartered Accountants and their clients. “Chartered Accountants are able to deliver month-end management reports much quicker and this makes the information more useful and actionable for the business owner, ultimately leading to much greater levels of satisfaction,” he says. Productivity gains One Receipt Bank customer who has experienced massive productivity gains is Murat Kurt who operates as a sole practitioner with his London-based firm, Accountancy Assist. In March of last year, he had 50 clients. He started using Receipt Bank the following month and now, just over a year later, he has almost tripled his client base – all without having to take on any staff. “When I became a Receipt Bank partner in late April 2017, I had around 50 clients. A year later I’m still working alone and I have around 140 clients – way more than I expected to be able to take on in a year. I couldn’t do it without Receipt Bank to be honest. I think now I could even manage 200 or 250 clients by myself.” Stacey Price saved her sanity at the same time as paving the way to business success. “I initially adopted Receipt Bank for my own sanity. Today, I’ve gotten to the point where roughly 80% of my time is one-on-one coaching – which is the work I love. The result of our hard work is that I now love my work and my business is snowballing.” Up-to-date information for clients was the key issue for Jessica Rachow, director of Australian accountancy firm, Be Accounted. “The only way I can help my clients is if I have real-time data”, she says. “I need up-to-date financial statements and current bank balances. I need to know where a business is every day, every week, and every month of the year. I won’t have those insights if I spend all my time going through bank statements, processing data and manually calculating receipts. Receipt Bank solved that problem for me.” Re-focus on value-adding services Better quality management information for clients, significant cost savings and productivity gains, and greatly improved information flows are just some of the benefits offered by Receipt Bank’s award-winning technology according to Greathead. “Automated bookkeeping services like Receipt Bank give firms the chance to focus on these value-adding services while staff get the opportunity to do more interesting work than basic number crunching and chasing clients for information,” he concludes. Visit www.receiptbank.com for more information or call +44 20 3699 5006 to speak to a member of the team.  

The dos and don'ts of the office summer party

Friday June 22nd, 2018 11:19:20 AM
With office summer parties now in full swing, Orla Brosnan of the Etiquette School of Ireland is here to help you to navigate this perilous social minefield. Yes, a summer party is supposed to be fun. It’s a much deserved opportunity to kick back and relax with the people you work hard with every day. It’s a thank you from the bosses, and the very nature of a summer office party spells a good time for all. It boosts morale, and it helps your employees get to know one another, which is essential for teams to succeed. Oftentimes, employees only get to interact with others within their department. Having an inclusive company summer party affords your colleagues the opportunity to mix and mingle with people they might not otherwise get to talk to on a regular basis. However, there are a few rules everyone should keep in mind before loosening the tie and slipping on the flip flops.  Go to the office party! You may not want to go, but it’s important to show your commitment to the company. Your absence will be noticed. Talk to your boss early while you are still both sober. You are less likely to say something stupid and your boss is more likely to remember the conversation. The company you keep should get less and less senior as the night goes on, particularly if you are planning to have a few drinks! Stay sober-ish. Know your limitations. If you are confident after three drinks, hilarious after five, and a demon after seven, set your limit between three and six drinks for the duration of the evening. And try and have one glass of water after every drink. (Admitted, easier said than done!) Get a meal. Realise the benefit of eating a substantial meal before an office party, as canapés are an impractical cushion and typically do not provide enough soakage. Mingle. To join a new conversation at the office party, catch someone’s eye, smile, and enter the clique on a break. If you see someone who wants to participate, pull her or him in when there is a lull. Switch groups. Instead of pulling the bathroom ploy, get used to saying, “It’s been lovely chatting with you. Please excuse me.” There is nothing wrong with moving on to speak with others. That’s the purpose of a party - to socialise. It is easy to fall into the trap of meeting someone that you would like to talk to and stay with them, but limit yourself to 10/15 minutes, as that person will also like to meet other people. Connect people. Introduce two parties and explain what they have in common. Then say, “I am going to leave you two to chat, I’ll catch up with you later.” Dress like you are going to a nightclub. It’s fine to take it up one notch – after all it is a party – but your attire needs to be suitable for a business event. Don’t wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low or too… anything, really. Fail to prepare your guest or significant other. Let them know about appropriate dress and topics of conversation to stay away from. His/her behavior will reflect on you, for better or worse. Discuss sex, politics or religion, and, more importantly, don’t gossip about colleagues. Have a talking plan. Be up to date on current affairs. It is not a time to discuss a pay rise or promotion with your boss, either. Keep the conversation upbeat and positive. Put negative comments on social media after the event. Keep everything you say publically about the shindig positive and don’t post photos of your colleagues engaging in inappropriate behavior. Strive to be a foot taller than everyone else. If you can be seen from across the room, you are probably doing something that you shouldn’t. While you may possess the dance moves of a young Travolta or know all the words of Gangnam Style in the original Korean, ask yourself, “Is the summer office party the correct platform to demonstrate this (obviously fantastic) ability?” Probably not. Take the words “free bar” as a personal challenge. Alcohol fuelled romance is often in the air at the summer office party. According to a recent poll, 20% of staff admits to having kissed a colleague, 14% said they flirted with the boss and 2% said they quit their job at the office party. The Irish goodbye If there are fewer than a dozen people in attendance, you should say goodbye to the host. If there is more than that, you can slip out quietly and send a thank you note, text or email thanking them for the invite without having endure people calling you a bore or buying you ‘just one more’ before you can slip out the door. Above all have fun! Orla Brosnan is the CEO of Etiquette School of Ireland. 

Balancing the authority gradient

Friday June 22nd, 2018 10:15:08 AM
Sometimes having a steep authority gradient can lead to poor decision making and is a sign of ineffective leadership in an organisation. Peter Gillespie explains how to avoid an unbalanced authority gradient. The term ‘authority gradient’ refers to the negative effect that the perceived degree of difference in status between members of an organisation can have on effective communication and decision making. Too steep a gradient – a significant gap between, say, the CEO and the rest of the management team – means the CEO can ride roughshod over them, getting insufficient challenge to decisions; too shallow a gradient and the search for inclusion and consensus prevents timely and effective decision making. The authority gradient has to be at a good balance for an organisation to work effectively and efficiently. Steep gradients are more common than shallow ones, have the most serious consequences, and the gradient steepens even further in stressful situations. The concept of an authority gradient is well established in aviation and health circles where the risk of making life-threatening errors has given rise to specific practices and procedures to cope.  While it would be a stretch to say that business decisions are as critical as those in cockpits or operating theatres, most of us have likely experienced a situation where we thought the CEO’s actions were wrong, but kept quiet because he/she was an acknowledged authority. Or, when you spoke up, it was in the form of a gentle, respectful question, rather than a more assertive challenge. Such situations are reflections of steep authority gradients, so the issue of authority gradient in business is still worth considering. A steep authority gradient There are a few things to watch out for that, if less unchecked can steeped the authority gradient in your organisation: CEO generally recognised as being far more experienced than the others around the table. Arrogant CEO who attacks and intimidates those who challenge decisions. Absence of diversity. The CEO’s direct reports largely come from the same era, background or training, resulting in an intimidating environment for anyone else. Policies and culture reinforcing the CEO’s relative authority – all trappings of power and status, restricted access, corporate governance policies, but without any compensating informal structures like the CEO meeting staff at their desks, or having an open-door approach. Why don’t junior staff challenge decisions? Often times, when there is a steep gradient in an organisation, junior staff lack the confidence to speak up, often a by-product of the environment in which they are working. The experience of the CEO and others around the table is perceived as far more than their own, and they haven’t seen the CEO explicitly do anything wrong. Because of the perceived experience of the more senior staff, junior staff might fear retribution, ridicule or embarrassment if they were to challenge decisions they disagreed with. Sometimes, it’s not the junior staffer’s fault at all. Their direct boss, fearful of their job, will curtail objection to the CEO’s decisions, even though the CEO would welcome the challenge. And, lastly, sometimes there is a lack of respect for the CEO. This is just the latest in a series of what one could consider to be erroneous decisions, so why bother to care anymore?  However, there are a few things you can do to encourage junior staff to challenge decisions: Be a CEO who listens, explains decisions and acts as a leader -- or encourage your CEO to do so; Create a positive, open culture in the organisation where anyone can speak up from the CEO to the newest intern; and Write policies specifically confirming the legitimate avenues of dissent. Creating a balanced authority gradient Finally, how can you challenge decisions you know are wrong? Trust your intuition and experience as a Chartered Accountant. If something feels wrong to you, it probably is. Be prepared, properly briefed on what is going on in the organisation, awake and listening. Stand up for colleagues who are being attacked for, or ignored when, challenging decisions. Be assertive, clear and concise with your challenges, giving solid business reasons for your arguments. Don’t automatically respect the party line of the “finance thinks it’s too expensive” variety – stick to the long-term logic of the business Don’t be fobbed off with some lame reply to challenges. Stick to your guns until your challenge has been accepted, or you’ve been convinced that it’s the right decision after all. Conclusion The issue of authority gradient should be considered whenever human issues of management are being considered.  Everyone – the company, the CEO and the junior staff – have their specific and important roles to play. Peter Gillespie FCA is the Director of Meaningful Metrics.

Investor perspectives on the reporting of performance metrics

Friday June 22nd, 2018 09:38:28 AM
Investors are calling on companies to reassess how they report their performance metrics, according to a new report from the Financial Reporting Lab. The metrics chosen by companies to report their performance should be clearly aligned to the company’s strategic goals, be transparent on how they are calculated, and provide sufficient information that allows comparisons to be made to previous years' performance. The report, Performance Metrics – An Investor Perspective, sets out investors' views on the reporting of performance metrics and is the outcome of the first phase of the Lab’s project on performance metrics. It includes a framework and set of questions for companies and their boards to consider when deciding on how they report their performance. The report supplements the current regulatory focus on the reporting of performance following the guidance on Alternative Performance Measures issued by the European Securities and Markets Authority and the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) reviews on the application of that guidance. The next phase of the project will seek to identify examples of how these principles can be put into practice. Investors and company representatives should contact financialreportinglab@frc.org.uk to take part in the next phase of the project. Performance Metrics – An Investor Perspective can be found here. Source: Financial Reporting Council.

2018 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey

Friday June 22nd, 2018 08:54:34 AM
The millennial generation is feeling uneasy about the future. The growth of Industry 4.0 technologies, from robotics and the internet of things to artificial intelligence and cognitive, has altered the nature of work while political upheavals challenge the established world order. In this environment, millennials and Gen Z yearn for leaders whose decisions might benefit the world, and their careers, according to the seventh annual Deloitte global millennial survey. The survey delves into respondents' perceptions of the evolving threats and opportunities in an increasingly complex world. For the first time, the survey also includes opinions of Generation Z, those following millennials into the workplace. In a fragmenting social and political environment, with Industry 4.0 driving profound changes, many millennials are exhibiting a marked desire for reassurance. They feel pessimistic about the prospects for political and social progress, along with concerns about safety, social equality and environmental sustainability. While young workers believe that business should consider stakeholders' interests as well as profits, their experience is of employers prioritising the bottom line above workers, society and the environment, leaving them with little sense of loyalty. Read the full 2018 Global Millennial Survey report here. Source: Deloitte.

FRC publishes new blockchain report

Friday June 22nd, 2018 08:46:54 AM
Much has been said about the disruptive nature of blockchain, but not necessarily in relation to corporate reporting. A new report from the Financial Reporting Council’s Financial Reporting Lab considers how current developments and use-cases of blockchain technology might impact corporate reporting processes in the future. It concludes that while cost, complexity and lack of standardisation of blockchains might be inhibiting factors, the growing use of blockchain means that those involved in corporate reporting processes need to consider its potential disruptive impact. The report is the second in a series of technology deep-dives (following the first report on XBRL) that form part of the Lab’s wider project on Digital Future. In the report, the Lab uses its digital reporting framework to explore how different technologies might impact the production, distribution and consumption of corporate reporting. Specifically, the following potential use-cases for blockchain are considered:   In the production of corporate reporting: how transactions processed on a blockchain may help to improve accounting records; In the distribution of corporate reporting: how a blockchain-based European corporate reporting platform (European Financial Transparency Gateway) may help to open up access to corporate reporting; and In the consumption of corporate reporting: how blockchain might help to rethink the way that reporting content is defined. The report recommends actions for various groups who have an interest in this area including:   Actions for standard-setters and professional bodies: regulators, standard-setters and professional bodies are encouraged to monitor blockchain developments and consider how they may impact corporate reporting. The report recommends the creation of a forum where all those involved in corporate reporting can share and learn; and Actions for preparers and users of corporate reporting: preparers and users should focus on gaining a greater level of understanding and consider experimentation and cautious innovation when costs and benefits are balanced. Phil Fitz-Gerald, Director of the Lab, said: "At its heart, blockchain is a technology that promises greater trust and resilience in the recording of transactions and information.  These are both essential elements in the system of corporate reporting. Whilst it is not clear whether blockchain is the answer, the current rapid developments in blockchain use mean that it has the potential to have a significant disruptive impact on corporate reporting processes. Download the report: Blockchain and the future of corporate reporting: How does it measure up? Source: Financial Reporting Council.






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