Every week we take a look at what is trending in the accountancy and tax press and share items that we think will interest you. However, these are only outlines and where they relate to tax planning should not be acted upon without looking into them more completely as everyone’s circumstances are particular to them. You need to take specific advice appropriate to your own circumstances.
While every effort is made to deliver accurate, informative and balanced articles this content is general in nature and should not be used as the basis for making decisions without seeking further advice and guidance.
According to official figures, 88.4% of annual accounts sent to Companies House in the 2020-21 financial year were filed electronically, up from 84.9% in the previous year
For all documents filed with Companies House, which was 11.6m in 2020-21 up from 11.3m in 2019-2020, there has been an overall increase in digital take-up from 88.4% in 2019-20 to 91.4% in 2020-21.
Companies House is encouraging businesses to use the electronic filing system as the benefits of going digital can help businesses save time and money and avoids rejections due to inbuilt checks to help customers avoid mistakes, meaning that they are less likely to receive a late filing penalty.
This year, an enhanced online filing service has been introduced that allows businesses to digitally upload nearly 400 types of documents which include company details such as director names and company address, annual reports, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs).
Furlough ends, redundancies begin
Nearly seven in 10 employers expect to make redundancies within the next year and for employers expecting redundancies 84% have employees on furlough.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has now ended which will force businesses to make decisions about their future.
Official figures released in September showed that there were 484,000 employers with 1.6m staff on furlough on 31 July 2021 but figures by the Office of National Statistics stated that 6% of the workforce was furloughed as of 22 August 2021 which is around 1m people.
The end of the reduced rate of 5% for VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions has also come to an end rising to 12.5% before returning to the full 20% in March 2022.
As well as the VAT increase and furlough ending, the pause to winding up petitions officially has also come to an end meaning that it will once again be possible to present a winding-up petition on the basis that a company has failed to satisfy statutory demand. HMRC will probably be busy!
Changes to flexible working rules
At the moment, no changes have been made to the flexible working legislation. The government has just launched a consultation, which is open until 1 December 2021. This means that any changes are still some time away.
The proposals in the consultation are as follows:
- Making the right to request flexible working a day-1 right by removing the current 26-week qualifying service
- Assessing whether the eight reasons on which employers can currently refuse a request are still valid
- Requiring employers to suggest alternative options when refusing a request. This is to make flexible working options more accessible, and encourages employers to carefully consider what they can offer
- Assessing the process for flexible working request. Specifically, this includes consideration of removing the ‘one request per year’ limit and whether changes should be made to the current 3-month response time that employers have to process requests
- Assessing requests for temporary flex-working arrangements and informal requests
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been found guilty of illegal campaign financing over his failed 2012 re-election bid. Prosecutors said his team spent nearly double the €22.5m (£19.4m) allowed under electoral law on extravagant campaign rallies and hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost. The sentence has not been announced and Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing,
WWF – Call to stop UK funding of deforestation
Nature charity WWF is calling on the government to stop UK banks and other financiers from funding deforestation in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, City A.M reported. The funding is provided through both investments and loans, benefiting companies involved in the production of beef, palm oil, soy, cocoa, timber, paper and rubber – all of which contribute to the destruction of the planet’s most diverse natural habitats
Around 300 City and UK-based financiers are providing £40bn in funding to companies that threaten rainforests according to WWF.
Social Media Scams
The Financial Conduct Authority is threatening action against social media platforms that do not crack down on financial scams.
Sites such as Facebook and Instagram serve as a “gateway” for fraudsters, the City watchdog said. It is “putting them on notice that we expect them to be involved in this process of protecting the community,” otherwise it will “have to take action”. The call comes amid a spike in online fraud which the Home Office says makes up about 86% of all fraud in the UK.
Afghan Banks close to collapse
The Islamic Bank of Afghanistan’s CEO has warned the country’s banking system is near to collapse as only withdrawals are happening, and most of the banks are not functioning, and not providing full services. In addition, inflation is rising in the country while its currency is falling.
Afghanistan’s economy relies on about 40% of its GDP to come from international aid. However, it is having to look for new funding, namely from China, after the West froze international funds. This included assets it could have accessed with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
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