The law requiring companies to have an audit was relaxed from 1 October 2012. All small companies are now exempt from a statutory audit, although accounts still have to be filed at Companies House.
In addition, subsidiary companies with an EU parent company are able to claim exemption from an audit as long as the parent company guarantees the subsidiary company's debts, the shareholders unanimously agree, and the parent company includes the subsidiary's figures in its consolidated accounts which must disclose the exemption. Documents confirming these conditions have been met must be filed at Companies House before the subsidiary company's accounts are filed.
Click here to download Statutory Instrument SI2012 2301 which brought these changes into law.
On 17 December 2010 H.M. Revenue and Customs published a paper stating they intend to undertake 50,000 "Business Records Checks" (BRC) per year to review the adequacy and accuracy of business records within the Small and Medium Enterprise sector, accompanied by a tariff-based penalty regime for failure to keep proper records.
HMRC state they expect this to bring in £600m over four years. A quick calculation shows they expect to levy an average penalty of £3,000 per BRC.
Clearly it is now more important than ever to make sure businesses keep adequate accurate records. This will differ for each business, so it is important to take advice about what HMRC would be likely to consider 'adequate'.
In-line Extensible Business Reporting
Language (iXBRL) has been with us since 1 April 2011 at which point it became the only means
of filing Company Tax Returns and associated documents with HM Revenue
Traditionally Corporation Tax Returns and the associated accounts and tax computation were sent by post to the Inspector of Taxes. In recent years many accountants submitted them electronically, attaching pdf versions of the accounts and computation (readable on almost all computers using Adobe Acrobat and other similar software).
From 1 April 2011 all Corporation Tax
Returns had to be submitted electronically. The accounts and
have to be attached, but now they must be in iXBRL format, 'tagged' in
accordance with a 'schema' laid down by HM Revenue and Customs. The
minimum number of tags required by HMRC increases in April 2014 so that
more items in the accounts can be read by HMRC's computers
The Companies Act 1985 was revised and rewritten, and published as The Companies Act 2006.
Perhaps one of the most important changes for small companies is the reduction in the time given to file accounts at Companies House. This has reduced from 10 months to 9 (effective for year ends April 2009 onwards), and now lines up with the Corporation tax payment deadline.
The automatic fines levied for missing the accounts filing deadline have also been increased quite dramatically. For private companies up to one month late costs £150 after which it rises to £375. At three months it rises to £750 and after six months it costs £1,500.
The House of Lords pronounced on a very high profile case (Arctic Systems) on 25 July 2007 regarding the treatment of income in husband and wife companies. In a number of these businesses HM Revenue and Customs have sought to treat the wife's income as if it had been paid to her husband, thereby increasing the couple's overall tax liability.
In their unanimous judgement the Lords decided that the interpretation of the law being used by HM Revenue and Customs is incorrect. The Lords agreed with HM Revenue and Customs that by setting up a company with one share each the husband and wife were entering into a settlement arrangement, but they also said that the exemption for gifts between spouses applied, so dividends paid to the non working spouse were not income arising under a settlement.
The Treasury issued a written Ministerial Statement the day the judgement was issued stating that they intend to change the legislation as a result.
In his budget speech on 12 March 2008 Alastair Darling announced that the proposed changes to the law dealing with 'income shifting' would be delayed until 2009, and this has since been delayed further owing to the banking crisis.
Most commentators believe this is just a delay and that legislation will be enacted - it is just a matter of time.
UK Accounting Standards were traditionally set by the Accounting Standards Board, and before that by the Accounting Standards Committee. A European Union directive requires all listed companies (those quoted on a stock exchange) to prepare their accounts from 2005 onwards in accordance with International Accounting Standards, which are set by the International Accounting Standards Board.
From 2015 the UK standards (SSAPs and FRSs) will be replaced by three new Financial Reporting Standards (FRSs) numbered 100, 101 and 102. In addition the Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities (FRSSE) will be updated.
In addition a new regime of reduced disclosure requirements will be introduced for 'micro' entities.
UK Auditing Standards were traditionally set by the Auditing Practices Board. All audits for year ends 15 December 2010 and later now have to be audited under International Standards on Auditing. This unified approach to audits in all countries adopting these standards should make it easier to understand what audits in different counties mean.
From 2009 tax returns have to be filed by 31 October unless you file electronically, in which case you have until the following 31 January. If you want the Inspector of Taxes to calculate your tax bill for you the deadline is 30 September.
It should be noted however that it is impossible to file electronically unless you have been given a 10 digit 'Unique Taxpayer Reference' (UTR) by HMRC, and this can take HMRC some weeks in busy periods.
There are two very different regimes for Corporation Tax. Companies with taxable profits of less than £300,000 are taxed at the small companies rate(s). Those with profits exceeding £1½ million are taxed at the full rate. Those with profits in between are taxed on a sliding scale.
The 2011 budget announced a 2p reduction in the Corporation Tax rate. This referred to the full rate of Corporation Tax, which became 26% on 1 April 2011 as a result. This rate has reduced further and will match the 20% small companies rate soon.
The small companies rate was also reduced in the 2011 budget to 20% and this is not expected to reduce further in the near future.
© Howard and Company Chartered Certified Accountants Egham
Company is the trading name of Howard and Company (Egham) Ltd,
registered in England No. 9487557
Registered Office: 73a High Street, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9HE
Howard and Company
Spring Statement News. A number of consultations were announced, but there were no new measures.
14 March 2018
Our fax number has changed to:
12 March 2018
budget report is now available on our website: howardonline.com/
23 November 2017
Indexation on capital gains in companies to lose indexation allowance.
22 November 2017
Consultation on reducing VAT Registration Threshold.
22 November 2017
Stamp Duty reduced for first time buyers.
22 November 2017
Years in Egham
The autumn of 1987 saw Howard and Company arrive in Egham. We have now been in the same offices for 30 years.
2 October 2017