27 January 2012 by

First Hector, now Moira

In January thoughts often turn to matters of tax as this is the last month in which you can submit an electronic tax return for the previous tax year. While many returns are submitted with tax paid months ago, January is still the busiest time of year for accountants and tax practitioners.

Two recent tax tribunal cases have highlighted the difficulties experienced by taxpayers in submitting returns. In Astrid Koyeni-Efreeitems (Partnership) v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 13 (TC) a partnership unsuccessfully argued that a lack of online filing facilities was a reasonable excuse for failing to submit a return on time (while HMRC provides free online facilities for individuals, it does not do so for partnerships). The Tribunal felt differently, stating that commercial software which allows partnerships to file online returns is available to buy and that HMRC not providing a free facility was not a reasonable excuse.

Compare this to St Georges Bricklayers v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 800 (TC) in which the Tribunal came to the exact opposite conclusion, that it was unfair for HMRC to expect partnerships to purchase third-party software when individuals did not, viewing this as a form of discrimination.

There is only one lesson to be learned from these apparently contradictory cases, and that is to get your return in on time or face possible penalties, see previous blog ‘Penalty Kicks’ .

Another reason tax is at the forefront of people’s minds is that we are now approaching the end of this tax year, and the start of another. This period affords excellent tax planning opportunities and all taxpayers should review their affairs to ensure that they can structure their assets and finances in a tax efficient manner, for example through adding funds and/or shares to ISA accounts, using IHT annual allowances and making use of their annual CGT allowance. Gift Aid or income tax relief on property or shares donated to charity are also excellent ways of reducing your tax bill while benefitting your favoured charity.

A general review of your inheritance tax position is included within our Peace of Mind solution, see here. Please call Iain Aitken on 020 7288 4713 to find out more.

19 December 2011 by

The Governments Autumn Statement

On 29 November 2011, George Osborne delivered the Government’s autumn statement.

20 January 2012 by

Baby, it’s cold outside….

With the cold weather around the corner, snow and ice is a particular concern in the property sector. Injuries to occupiers or visitors are both distressing to those involved and potentially expensive for the responsible party.

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