Boom in gin distilleries and insurance tech sectors, BHS and Austin Reed in administration, UK economy slowing, and Spanish spy in the sky

Tax

Taxman takes £87m from missed online deadline – According to statistics released from the ICAEW, 870,000 people missed the 31 January 2016 deadline for filing their tax return online, leaving HMRC able to issue IOUs worth £87m. Anita Monteith, tax manager at ICAEW, warned: “Additional fines could reach up to £900, leaving people with a total bill of £1,000 by the end of July. What’s more, anyone who hasn’t filed after six months may face a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300 – whichever is greater. The costs could rocket”.

Rise in insurance premium tax sends premiums up – Motoring groups are blaming the rise in insurance premium tax from 6% to 9.5% on an increase in car insurance premiums. Data from the Association of British Insurers show that fully comprehensive cover cost £429 in the first three months of 2016 – up 10% compared with a year before.

Companies

Calls for Philip Green to repay £400m or lose knighthood – Former BHS owner Sir Philip Green is expected to be called to appear before MPs to face questions over the collapse of the retailer into administration. The Chairman of the work and pensions select committee, Frank Field, has said he intends to call on Sir Philip as part of an investigation into how the BHS pension scheme, which has a deficit of £571m, will affect the state-backed Pension Protection Scheme (PPF). Sir Philip and his family are estimated to have collected £586m in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans during their 15-year ownership of the retailer. John Mann, the Labour MP and member of the Treasury select committee, said Sir Philip should repay £400m of dividends or lose his knighthood.

Austin Reed enters administration, putting 1,200 jobs at risk – Menswear retailer Austin Reed, which was bought just last week by the distressed retail specialists Alteri Investors, has entered administration, putting almost 1,200 jobs at risk. A statement from the administrators blamed a “challenging” retail market and cash flow difficulties. “Austin Reed is a well-regarded and iconic brand. We are confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers,” said Peter Saville, one of the newly appointed administrators.

Small medium sized enterprises

Insurance tech start-up investment surges – New figures show investments in insurance tech start-ups increased from $800m in 2014 to more than $2.6bn in 2015.

Distilleries sector booms – The number of new distilleries opening in England has surged following increased demand for boutique spirits such as gin. UHY Hacker Young said 28 distilleries and 36 new breweries had opened in the past year alone. James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “The UK’s spirits industry remains strong…With sales hitting £1bn last year and continuing to rise, this trend does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.”

UK economy and markets

Mortgage borrowing at eight-year high – Mortgage borrowing reached its highest level in eight years in March as buy-to-let investors and second home buyers rushed to beat the stamp duty hike. A total of £17.1bn was borrowed for property purchases last month A total of £17.1bn was borrowed for. A 64% increase on a year earlier and the highest figure since April 2008, according to latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).

Economy slows –  New figures from the ONS that growth in the economy slowed to 0.4% in the first quarter, down from 0.6% in the final quarter of last year. Experts have warned of a further slide in the run-up to the EU referendum. “It is premature to blame this soft patch on pre-Brexit vote jitters. Unfortunately, the latter probably means that the hard economic data deteriorates further during the second quarter,” said Alan Clarke, UK economist at Scotiabank.

Other

Brexit and the City – the start of a brave new world? – David Buik from Panmure Gordon suggests a Brexit could be celebrated by the City and that any banks that chose to leave would soon return. “London is at the centre of the time zone and English the international trading language. London is also the legal and accounting centre of the world. The infrastructure here to raise capital and finance foreign trade is tried and tested and people from international backgrounds love working here.”

He adds that by comparison, Frankfurt and Paris are “financial villages” and that the “EU dream has turned into a nightmare.” “Guided by quality regulation from the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority under its skilful chief executive Sam Woods and the Financial Conduct Authority under the excellent Andrew Bailey – the City will be able to increase its international presence. Brexit should be a celebration for the City, not a funeral – the start of a brave new world,” concludes Mr Buik.

Spy in the sky boosts Spain’s tax take  – Spanish officials are conducting searches using light aircraft to photograph unregistered swimming pools and illegal villa extensions. Spanish town halls charge a tax on homes based on the size of the property and Spain’s treasury has identified thousands of tax dodgers this way. Last year the Spanish treasury recovered €15.6bn in unpaid taxes, a 27% rise compared with the previous year.

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. 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, Albion & East Ltd, Camm & Hooper Ltd and Darwin & Wallace Ltd.

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