Uber faces huge UK tax liabilities if drivers not ‘self-employed’ – Tax experts discuss the implications of the tribunal ruling on Uber drivers. It could mean the company is liable for millions of pounds in NI and VAT payments each month. Meanwhile, Annie Powell, an employment lawyer at Leigh Day, who brought the test case, said further claims from Uber drivers were in the pipeline.

Surge of interest in B2L loophole – A loophole that allows landlords to transfer buy-to-let properties into a limited company without having to remortgage is attracting growing interest. The “beneficial interest company trust” allows landlords to avoid the higher buy-to-let tax being introduced next April. Around 40 landlords have already used the loophole, promoted by Cotswold Barristers, and another 50 have inquired since the failure of an attempted judicial review which sought to overturn the tax. However, accountants have warned that the loophole could fall foul of tax avoidance laws and leave landlords open to allegations of mortgage fraud. Nimesh Shah, of Blick Rothenberg, warns that HMRC is likely to look for signs that transferring the property was “an artificial structure or tax-motivated manoeuvre.”

Small business and enterprise

RBS admits it may have to compensate business owners – Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan has admitted the bank could be forced to pay compensation over allegations it deliberately destroyed businesses. He conceded entrepreneurs who claim they were victims of its global restructuring group might end up with payouts and accepted GRG had sometimes fallen short of the bank’s standards. However, Mr McEwan also insisted there was no evidence of systematic wrongdoing. The Financial Conduct Authority is due to publish its report into the group’s practices shortly.

UK economy, finance and markets

Rents to increase faster than house prices – Rents are set to increase at a faster rate than house prices over the next five years, according to Savills, driven by would-be first-time buyers being forced to rent as housing market conditions get tougher as well as recent tax changes for buy-to-let investors. Meanwhile, Knight Frank has reported a sharp rise in “super-prime letting” in the past two years as increased stamp duty charges on prime homes and second homes and B2L properties discourages the wealthy from making transactions.

BoE raises 2017 growth forecasts – The Bank of England has raised its growth and inflation forecasts for 2017 and kept interest rates on hold at 0.25%. It now expects the economy to expand by 1.4% next year, with inflation set to surge to 2.7%, almost triple its current level. Growth of 1.5% is now forecast for 2018, down from the previous 1.8% estimate.

High street sales grow for the first time since January – The UK high street has seen its first sales growth since January as consumers spent freely, boosted by low unemployment and encouraging post-referendum figures. BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker recorded year-on-year growth of 0.7% for October, ending a nine-month run of falls that began with a 1.7% drop in February.

Other

Automation to wipe out accounting jobs? – The Daily Mail explores the effect the rise of automation has had on the American workforce. The paper states an unnamed study which claims that 86% of accountants, bookkeepers, and auditing work could be automated.

The Accountant – a comic book hero – The Accountant, the new film starring Ben Affleck as a high-functioning autistic accountant with a mysterious double life. He runs a modest business in the middle of an anonymous shopping mall but that is just a front for providing his services to some of the dodgiest criminal organisations on the planet. The film is described variously as a convoluted comic book adventure, violent but entertaining, preposterous and implausible. The Times says it is essentially The Bourne Ultimatum meets Rain Man.

Trouble brewing – A survey of 2,000 bosses and employees indicates that 51% of managers have never made their workers a cup of tea or coffee. Of those polled, 33% of bosses said they enjoyed taking part in tea-making. Headteachers are the worst offenders, with 59% not joining in, followed by small business leaders (55%). Builders and IT bosses are most likely to join in beverage-making rounds, with 64% and 60% taking part, respectively.

Christian Elmes, Partner

Christian Elmes trained at PwC and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1999, before moving to Morgan Stanley (2000-2002) as Associate in the Investment Banking Division (IBD).

He was appointed Director of Finance, Teather & Greenwood Investment Management in 2002 and moved with the Tax Efficient Solutions team to Smith & Williamson in 2004, becoming Deputy head of the department. He left to co-found Enterprise in 2011.

Over the last ten years, Christian has been responsible for developing a number of tax efficient products, particularly Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS). He is able to lead on tax efficient product development from inception through to completion, because of his financial and tax background and commercial experience.

Christian is competent across a broad range of sectors including, leisure and hospitality, media, property and renewable energy.

Christian is a non-executive board member to a number of leisure and hospitality companies, Casper & Cole Ltd, Wright & Bell Ltd, Ruth & Robinson Ltd, Camm & Hooper Ltd and Darwin & Wallace Ltd.

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