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HMRC goes for recovery powers on COVID-19 grants

HMRC goes for recovery powers on COVID-19 grants

Business owners who have fraudulently claimed coronavirus grants are in HMRC’s sights, should a proposed amendment to Finance Bill 2019-21 get the go-ahead this week.

In draft legislation posted on GOV.UK, the Revenue outlines how it will be able to recover payments where a recipient was not eligible.

The proposed amendment initially applies to the furlough scheme and the self-employed income support scheme.

A two-week consultation got under way late last month and closes on 12 June 2020, with the outcome due to be published in the coming days.

Should the amendment gain approval, unspecified penalties will be charged where HMRC can prove cases of deliberate non-compliance. Continue reading “HMRC goes for recovery powers on COVID-19 grants”

Sole trader tax returns swansea

We provide a cost effective tax return service for sole traders in the Swansea area and across the UK. We can help you complete your tax return online with minimum fuss saving you time and any possible stress. Contact us today for free unlimited advice for your business needs or read more about our Self Assessment services.

Yours for a pound: The firms sold on the cheap

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DIY chain Homebase has been sold for just £1, after its Australian owner Wesfarmers decided to abandon its disastrous foray into the UK.

Wesfarmers paid £340m for the retailer two years ago, but losses and other costs will bring its total bill to about £1bn.

The chain is being bought by restructuring specialist Hilco, which rescued music chain HMV in 2013.

The £1 price tag reflects the company’s negligible value, but Homebase is far from being the first firm to be sold for £1 by an owner wanting to ditch a loss-making business.

Here are a few more:


In 2015, Sir Philip Green sold the BHS department store chain for £1 to an investment vehicle called Retail Acquisitions run by Dominic Chappell.

BHS, which collapsed the following year, was part of his Arcadia Group that includes TopShop, Burton and Evans.

The decision proved to be ill-fated for Sir Philip: last year the Pensions Regulator said he sold BHS to avoid responsibility for its insolvent pension schemes if the firm went bust. Continue reading “Yours for a pound: The firms sold on the cheap”

Oldham bus firm first to be fined for pension law breach

A bus company has become the first UK firm to be sentenced for failing to enrol staff on a pension scheme.

Stotts Tours of Oldham, Greater Manchester, should have begun pension contributions for staff from 2015, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said.

The firm and its managing director Alan Stott previously admitted wilful failure to comply with pensions law.
They were ordered to pay more than £39,000 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Teresa Szagun said: “Initially Mr Stott’s attitude was to bury his head in the sand. This later left him in a position where he was out of his depth.”

The fines and court costs come on top of £14,400 in civil fines already owed for failing to comply with the law on automatic pension enrolment.

Stotts Tours must also pay an estimated £10,000 in backdated pension contributions for its staff, as well as ongoing contributions. Continue reading “Oldham bus firm first to be fined for pension law breach”

The year in business: A review of 2017

The year 2017 saw a burst of optimism among American investors and consumers, despite the turmoil sparked by President Trump’s first year in office.

The President strode from one political storm to the next as he took an axe to many of the policies of the Obama administration, but – on the economic front – the waters could hardly have been smoother.

Annual economic growth has been a healthy 3% while the United States stock market is up around 25% on the year. It is true that the dollar is down roughly 10%, which makes the real rise in share prices a little less impressive, but the improved confidence of many Americans is impossible to deny.

According to the US economist Irwin Stelzer of the Hudson Institute, it is the low unemployment rate of 4.1% that is the key factor. “There are six million unfilled jobs in the United States at the moment,” he says. “There are labour shortages, wages have started to creep up a little bit after a long period of being flat; and that makes people cheerful, makes consumers cheerful, makes consumers confident.” Continue reading “The year in business: A review of 2017”

Companies House rejects 50 potentially offensive names

Almost 50 company names have been rejected over the last year because they were deemed potentially offensive.

The list of proposed company names rejected by Companies House included Blue Arsed Fly Designs Ltd, Fanny’s Kebabs Ltd, Titanic Holdings Limited and Wags to Bitches Limited.

Some of the names may have been incorporated later if justification was given and accepted by Companies House.
A spokesperson said “the index of company names is a publicly available statutory register and it’s important that it is not abused by being used to register offensive names.” Continue reading “Companies House rejects 50 potentially offensive names”

Costly ISA inheritance loophole to be closed

A costly ISA loophole which has prevented spouses from inheriting the full amount of their deceased partner’s individual savings accounts (ISA) tax-free is set to be closed by the government.

Since 2015, married couples and civil partners have been able to inherit their partner’s Isas upon their death. But a gap in the rules meant that none of the growth in assets built up between the partner’s death and the point that the estate was finalised – a process that can take years – could be inherited free of tax.

For someone with a £1m portfolio in a stocks and shares ISA growing at 5 per cent per year, that growth could be worth about £160,000 over three years, according to Hargreaves Lansdown. It would not be possible to put this sum back into an ISA wrapper after being inherited, meaning the spouse could incur a tax liability covering the whole three-year period.

From April 2018, following an amendment to the ISA rules this month, a deceased partner’s ISA will remain sheltered from tax and will be passed on in its entirety to a spouse or civil partner tax-free following the administration of the estate, potentially saving thousands of pounds that could otherwise have been lost.

Under current rules, partners can inherit Isas, but rather than receiving the cash or investments inside them, they receive an extra ISA allowance equivalent to that amount. This is known as an additional permitted subscription allowance.

From next year, when an investor dies the ISA will be reclassified as a “continuing account of deceased investor” or a “continuing ISA”. No money can be paid into it from this point, but it will continue to benefit from the tax advantages of an ISA, so growth inside the wrapper will remain tax free. This status lasts until either the administration of the estate is complete, the ISA is closed, or three years have passed since death – whichever is soonest. The surviving partner will also be able to put the entire amount back into their own ISA.

“Committed savers and investors have been able to build up sizeable ISA portfolios – sometimes up to £1m or more,” said Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “The changes in April will cure these headaches, and iron out what has been a clunky and potentially expensive wrinkle in the rules.”

Source: Kate Beioley, The Financial Times