Tax, small business enterprises, UK economy and markets and more

Tax

Tough new fraud-busting powers on the way – The Times examines the Criminal Finance Bill which includes an offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. The paper’s David Kirk suggests that, like Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, which created the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery, the new law will probably prove difficult to apply due to difficulties interpreting complex tax laws and defining avoidance and evasion. Jonathan Fisher, QC, a practising barrister at Bright Line Law and Red Lion Chambers, and a visiting professor at the LSE, also comments on the topic in the Times. He asks whether the inevitable weakening of privacy rights that will come with the Bill is justified in the public interest. The introduction of an “unexplained wealth order” and the expected new offence of illicit enrichment are likely to rile certain sections of the financial sector, says Mr Fisher. They will say that there are legitimate reasons why successful businessmen may wish to conceal the origin and extent of their assets.

Corporate tax: avoiding the issue – The FT’s Lex column profiles the prevailing global pursuit of tax payments. “The net is closing. The overall direction of travel is clear,” Lex cautions.

More Britons paying unnecessary CGT bills – Britons are paying £208m in CGT, unnecessarily up from £158m in 2015, according to the 2016 Tax Action report from Unbiased.co.uk and Prudential. Almost 200,000 people face CGT bills totalling nearly £5bn, at an average cost of £25,906 each. Karen Barrett, chief executive of Unbiased, said: “The jump in the number of people making CGT payments this year is staggering.”

Small business and enterprise

Crowdfunding – a real success story? – Anthony Hilton reports on how crowdfunding is delivering solid benefits to entrepreneurs as well as investors, who are getting returns of over 40% when tax relief is taken into account, according to analysis of annualised returns on investments through Seedrs undertaken by EY. Mr Hilton notes how traditional lenders were somewhat disparaging of alternative platforms, suggesting investors may get stung by ventures “peddling misleading financial information”. Ironic, he says, considering the number of large corporates massaging their figures, using non-Gaap metrics, for example.

Digital-only lender OakNorth in profit after one year – OakNorth has turned a small profit in its first year and said it nearly doubled lending in the two months following the Brexit vote, approving more than £100m of loans to small businesses.

UK economy and markets

OECD revises UK growth – The OECD has said that Brexit will not have as serious an impact as originally feared and revised its growth forecast for the UK economy. The OECD now forecasts the UK economy to grow by 1.8% this year, a 0.1-point increase compared to the pre-referendum estimate, but then fall by more than it had previously envisaged. It has also downgraded its world growth estimates for both 2016 and 2017 by 0.1 point, to 2.9% and 3.2% respectively. The think tank added Brexit had so far had a limited impact on the eurozone economy, although it warned the full repercussions of the UK’s decision to leave the EU would not be fully apparent until next year.

UK government borrowing falls – The latest figures from the ONS show that UK government borrowing fell in August. Public borrowing dropped to £10.5bn last month, down £0.9bn from a year earlier, although analysts had expected the figure to fall further to £10bn. Borrowing in the current financial year to date (April to August) has reached £33.8bn, which is £4.9bn lower than the same point last year. The ONS said receipts from income and corporation taxes rose strongly compared with a year ago, but VAT receipts rose at their slowest annual pace since March 2015. The ONS added that there was no clear sign that the Brexit vote had affected the figures.

Other

London’s private banks shrug off Brexit concerns – Lombard Odier and Kleinwort Benson are both boosting staff numbers in a sign of growing confidence that the UK capital will retain its status as a centre for the global super-rich.

Millennials saving for property not pensions – Research by Nottingham Building Society has found 24% of under-35s’ top savings priority is property, while just 8% said pensions are the main focus of their savings. The research echoes comments made by the BoE’s Andy Haldane who said he would rather invest in property than pensions. The study also found a third of under-35s are saving for their first home or to move home, compared with 15% of the population as a whole.

Rise in over-65s entering insolvency – The number of over-65s entering insolvency has increased by 10% to 5,188 since the middle of the financial crisis in 2009, says Moore Stephens. The firm blames falling savings and annuity rates, which pay an income for life. Total insolvencies fell 40% to 80,188 over the same time.

Blair shuts down secretive advisory firm – Tony Blair is to close his advisory firm Tony Blair Associates (TBAs) and its underlying structures under the names “Firerush” and “Windrush”. TBA’s £8.9m in cash reserves would now be given to his not-for-profit activities, he said. Tax campaigners are highly critical of the structure of the organisation, claiming it was designed to be opaque. The Mail’s Guy Adams says the edifice of limited companies, limited liability partnerships and trusts, was devised by KPMG and Mr Blair’s lawyer Robert Barnett and represents “the most complex and secretive configuration of companies that it’s possible to legally create under UK law.”

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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