Posts tagged ‘Periods’

HMRC now have powers to name and shame individuals and companies who deliberately evade taxes, by publishing their names, address and details of their evasion on the HMRC website.

New Powers

The law that provides HMRC with the power to disclose is included at Section 94 of the Finance Act 2009.  This ruling can be used by HMRC for accounting periods starting 1 April 2010, it therefore may take a little time before anything ‘juicy’ is made public.


To be named and shamed the evasion must be deemed to be deliberate and involve tax of £25,000.

Preventing the embarrassment

A full voluntary disclosure of tax wrong doings without undue delay may help avoid the detail being published.

My thoughts

Once again HMRC have been given more opportunity to burden taxpayers with the subjective views of individual inspectors.

  • deliberate
  • undue delay and
  • ‘full’ disclosure

are all terms that I consider could be misconstrued or misrepresented and this allows different cases to be dealt with in different ways dependant on the mood, attitude or experience of the inspector.

If you are exposed to this new HMRC power, defending your position by challenging the inspectors opinion of your guilt may well be expensive and stressful.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

The new ‘VAT online service’ (VOS) was launched by H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in November in prepartion for the compulsory online filing of VAT returns and electronic payment of liabiliies for VAT periods commencing 1st April 2010.

These new regulations will be enforced and effect all

  • existing VAT registered businesses with a turnover (excluding VAT) of £100,000 or more (taken from the previous four returns submitted)
  • businesses that register for VAT on or after 1st April 2010, regardless of turnover.


Once your business has been required to file online once, it must continue to do so.  The only exemptions are businesses involved in an insolvency procedure or those who have satisfied HMRC that the religious beliefs are incompatible with the requirement to use electronic communications!

If your business is VAT registered, you can expect to receive a letter from HMRC during February 2010 notifying you of your obligations.

There are proposals for this to be just the first step of the process and that all VAT registered businesses should manage their VAT returns and payments electronically from 1st April 2011.

The new VOS will enable users to

  • Register for VAT
  • Enrol for electronic filing
  • View previously submitted electronic returns
  • Set up email alerts to remind business owners of when returns should be submitted

Of course, if you do not want to be burdened with this, your accountant will be able to act as your agent in the same way as they can file payroll and self-assessment returns.  They will ask you to an authority to act (HMRC form 64-8 is not adequate for VOS) and may re-issue their letter of engagement to clarify the terms of this service.

More information can be sought from your accountant or HMRC’s online services website

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post

When working with charities, the question I get asked the most is “is our TAR detailed enough?” as they naturally do not want to expose all, yet they appreciate that this is a key document that is clearly defined by the SORP 2005 and is crucial in demonstrating compliance with the public benefit tests (see previous blog post ‘Public benefit – your best defence…’)

To answer the question directly the report should:

  • be about 4-6 pages of A4 print, font 11 for a small to medium sized organisation
  • clearly explain how the organisation fulfils it’s objects and adheres to it’s governing document
  • use plain English and refer to the accounts to which it is attached, but not regurgitate the accounting information
  • use the prescribed format set out in the SORP.  i.e. use the 7 key headings.

For those who are not familiar with the SORP 2005, these prescribed headings are:

  1. References and administrative details of the Charity, its Trustees and advisers
  2. Structure, Governance and Management
  3. Objectives and Activities
  4. Achievements and Performance
  5. Financial Review
  6. Plans for future periods
  7. Funds held as a Custodian Trustee (if appropriate)

Model reports are available on the Charity Commission Website

Some key points that are often missed

  • In paragraph 2 explain how trustees are recruited and outline the policies for induction/training of trustees.  Mapping the skills of the board and recruiting to fill skills gaps is a sign of great governance.  If your organisation has carried out this exercise, brag!
  • When explaining to the reader your objectives, paragraph 3, focus on the positive impact significant activities have had and explain how they have contributed to the achievement of the stated objectives.  If the organisation is grant making, ensure the policies are explained and if volunteers are utilised, readers need to understand their role and contribution.  If possible, quantify this in terms of hours, locations etcetera
  • bs00876aPerformance, paragraph 4, should identify milestones and KPI’s so that achievements can be benchmarked against objectives.  The public are keen to know the percentage of resources allocated to overheads, they need to understand the ROI i.e. impact per pound of funds raised.  This is obviously difficult to quantify as many of the aims are emotional, not financial, but trustees should not shy away from trying.  I have often seen larger, national charities measure their impact in terms of taxpayers money saved.
  • The financial review needs to look at each fund and state the principle financial policies adopted.  Take time to clearly explain the reserves policy in particular as the Charity Commission will be monitoring this.  Make comment on how the current years performance and the current activities effect reserves.  Also, outline any financial commitments such as borrowing or obligatory grants.

This list is not exhaustive, but I hope I have set out the key points, please call me if you would like to discuss your TAR or would like me to review your draft.  Please note however, that an auditor can not write this report for you so please don’t ask!

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.