Simon Robinson’s Viewpoint
Do you know where you’re going to?
As I sit and type this the American electorate is going to the polls to deliver their critique of the first two years of Trump’s Presidency. Here in the UK the news is full of conflicting signals about the Brexit negotiations, with 21 November down as a marker in the sand. We’ve been there before though, I believe!
Nobody knows what Brexit means for the UK yet, but i tcertainly feels like people are holding off making investment decisions and updating their business plans. This has been compounded by the trading headwinds caused by current trade policy in the US.
Any deal, if indeed there is one, is likely to be struck at the last minute and that of course loomed large in October’s Budget. While tax revenues have been encouraging and the economy has been performing better than had been anticipated, it still isn’t clear whether the country is going to benefit from any Brexit dividend or suffer a financial ‘black hole’.
The recent Budget provided a bit for everyone with some small bunnies pulled from the hat rather than a couple of big rabbits. See here for more information.
The latest figures show that as much as £12bn in government revenue is lost each year as a result of fraudulent VAT activity. We spotlight some of the scams and offer advice on how to prevent fraudsters from hijacking your VAT number to commit crimes.
Fraud is a growing issue costing the UK economy a staggering £190bn a year – that’s more than the Government spends on health and defence combined.
The key message is that nobody can afford to sit on their hands. Everyone should be investigating ways to protect themselves from fraud and deploying them as soon as possible. Good communication is just one of the best defences, as discussed in our article on page 3.
Staying on the theme of VAT, HMRC will soon be sending out letters to all VAT-registered businesses ‘encouraging’ them to get ready early for Making Tax Digital (MTD). The most important thing is to ensure that your accounting system is fit for purpose. See page 2 for some myth-busting around MTD.
As HMRC becomes more sophisticated in terms of data collection and analysis, it‘s freeing up more time to increase the level of tax enquiries it carries out. Luckily you can gain some peace of mind by using our Fee Protection Service. For a fixed annual charge, we’ll deal with any HMRC enquiries that may arise and you won’t have to worry about meeting the bill for dealing with it. If you already opt for this service, don’t forget that the renewal was due on 1 November. For more information please follow this link.
Global warming is back on the agenda following the release of the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It argues that the effects of climate change could be irreversible without drastic action to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This requires “rapid and far-reaching” changes in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. You’ve probably also seen the disturbing images of the plague of plastic waste that’s polluting seas, oceans and rivers across the world from the North Pole to the Antarctic.
Is there anything we can do to make a real difference?
The answer is yes. In one such example from an industry we know well at Shipleys, Bafta is embracing the green agenda through a scheme called ‘Albert’. This helps TV and film production companies measure how they’re reducing their impact on the environment and awards what is effectively a green Kitemark to productions that meet certain sustainability criteria.
For our part, I’m pleased to say Shipshape now goes out with a compostable plastic cover and inside this issue we explore how you can be greener while saving money – surely a win-win for everyone?
Enjoy the read.