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ICAEW technical round-up: April 2021

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 27 Apr 2021

This month’s top technical stories on ICAEW Insights include news on the fourth self-employed grant, new EU sustainability disclosure rules and how auditors can report on irregularities, including fraud.

Need to know

SEISS 4 claims open up: HMRC has contacted those potentially eligible for the fourth Self-employment Income Support Scheme grant. ICAEW’s Tax Faculty has updated its guidance and a webinar is available to all members.

Working from home tax relief continues, but new claims required: Employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic can continue to claim tax relief on costs not reimbursed by their employer, but a new claim will need to be made for the 2021/22 tax year, HMRC has confirmed.

EU sustainability disclosure rules - a far-reaching initiative, says ICAEW: The draft Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive adopted by the European Commission this week could be a game-changer for corporate reporting in Europe and beyond. 

Audit guide - how to report on irregularities, including fraud: ICAEW’s Audit and Assurance Faculty has produced a second “Know-How” guide for auditors who are reporting on irregularities for the first time. 

Audit quality - how to raise the bar: The long-awaited government consultation paper on changes to the corporate governance and audit system is expected to advance the debate around audit quality. But what steps can and should audit committees, audit regulators, investors and auditors in the UK take now to improve audit quality? 

Uber drivers are workers. What does that mean for tax and employment? Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled on a landmark employment law case involving Uber. Mark Hammerton, partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, explores the fallout and what it means for tax. 

ICAEW backs ‘file once with government’ ambition: Efforts to improve the quality, value and integrity of information on the Companies House register are welcome, but the government must proceed with caution when it comes to shortening filing deadlines, says ICAEW.

ICAEW calls for extension of super-deduction to leasing assets: ICAEW’s Tax Faculty has written to MPs highlighting that assets purchased with a view to leasing to third parties do not qualify for the new super-deduction or special rate first- year allowance for capital allowances purposes.

Simplify late payment penalties and defer CIS changes, says ICAEW: The new penalty regime for the late payment of income tax and VAT is “overly complex” and needs to be simplified, according to the Tax Faculty’s response to the Finance Bill. It’s also recommending the deferral of changes to the construction industry scheme.

Is my business affected by the Libor transition? While the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme dominated the lending headlines in 2020, a less prominent – but nonetheless vital – issue is the end of Libor.

Biden unveils plans to boost global tax paid by US multinationals: Can President Biden’s new Made in America Tax Plan halt the race to the bottom for international corporate tax rates? ICAEW’s Tax Faculty outlines the proposals.

HMRC - if you need support, get in touch with us: The message from HMRC is clear: where businesses are in distress it will provide support, but there must be ongoing conversations.

Business rates reform - escaping the shadow of 1990: There is a growing view among organisations that business rates as they stand aren’t fit for purpose. But the last big reform of local government tax ended in riots. Can it be done?

Other technical news and updates

ICAEW updates guidance on engagement letters: ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Services has updated its support for practitioners on client engagement letters relating to tax services. The Tax Faculty highlights the key changes.

HMRC outlines late-filing penalty notices data breach: ICAEW members in practice have been among thousands of agents who have received late-filing penalty notices which are not for their clients. HMRC has investigated and provided an update on what went wrong. 

HMRC issues notices to file income tax returns to non-resident corporate landlords: ICAEW’s Tax Faculty reports that notices to file income tax returns are being received by non-UK companies with UK rental profits despite such profits being subject to corporation tax since 6 April 2020.

HM Treasury calls for evidence on VAT and the sharing economy: Chris Sanger examines the VAT policy challenges for the sharing economy identified by the Treasury.

FRC seeks views on FRS 102 review: The Financial Reporting Council is seeking views from ICAEW members as part of a new periodic review of FRS 102 as it continues in its ongoing mission to keep the standard up to date whilst balancing stability, usability and cost-effectiveness for non-listed entities in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Fintech revolution: who stands to benefit? ICAEW has cautiously welcomed the government’s support for the UK’s burgeoning fintech sector as a driver of post-pandemic economic recovery but warned that developing the sector without addressing social and financial inclusion issues would be a missed opportunity.

Investor focus pushes sustainability into the mainstream: In a world of sustainable economies, moves to better define sustainable investment funds are ramping up concerns about widespread greenwashing continue. 

UK Endorsement Board marks a major milestone: The UK Accounting Standards Endorsement Board, the new body responsible for the adoption of international accounting standards for use by UK companies, took a step closer to being formally established this week after it successfully passed through the Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons. 

How the profession won back trust in the Netherlands: The Netherlands accountancy and audit profession faced a public backlash after high profile failures. Through collaboration and iterative improvements, it has steadily restored trust. 

Accountancy Europe - toughen the financial reporting ecosystem against fraud: The European umbrella body for accountancy institutes has stressed the need for a more holistic approach to tackling fraud, following concerns that a disproportionate focus on the role of auditors will do little to reduce the ever-growing risks.

HM Treasury identifies ways to make better use of the public balance sheet: HM Treasury’s Balance Sheet Review highlights significant opportunities already identified, reforms undertaken and savings delivered to manage the nation’s assets and liabilities. 

Local authority balance sheets in the spotlight: A recent legal battle over the transparency of Thurrock Council’s £815m debt-leveraged investments in solar power bonds highlights the importance of understanding and managing balance sheet risk in the public sector. 

Why boards need to address the generation gap: As many governments have taken action to improve the gender diversity on boards, James McMillan, a Non-Executive Director of the Stockport Credit Union, believes that more needs to be done to attract younger people to these roles.

Accountants and diversity - a regulatory priority: Diversity, breadth, range are all so important in our lives, in our professions and in how we are regulated, that it’s no surprise bringing it to the ICAEW’s Regulatory Board (IRB) is a serious priority.

Mitigating against exclusion as digitalisation transforms tax: COVID-19 is likely to further spur the global trend towards tax digitalisation. David Lyford-Smith from ICAEW’s Tech Faculty considers changes that will help automate processes to make them more efficient and points to ongoing challenges, such as digital exclusion.

Technical content exclusive for ICAEW members

The following have been updated by Technical Advisory Services for a minor update as a result of Brexit and Companies Act amendments:

Other content updated includes:

Technical Advisory Services has also updated the engagement letters and privacy notices helpsheet package as follows:

Part 2 L VAT – was previously 2 schedules – “A” (non-MTD) and “B” (MTD). It has now been split into four schedules in total (GB and NI variants of above) 

Other schedules updated:

Part 2 E – Personal tax

Part 2 F – Trusts and estates

Part 2 G – Partnership tax

Part 2 H – LLP tax return

Part 2 I – Corporation tax

Part 2 J-A – Payroll services (no off-payroll working)

Part 2 J-B – Payroll services (includes off-payroll working)

Part 2 O – Ad hoc tax advisory

All of the above have been incorporated into the complete download document

View the helpsheets at https://www.icaew.com/technical/tas-helpsheets/practice/engagement-letters