Posts From June, 2013

Payroll administrator jailed for £123k fraud 

A payroll administrator who "betrayed" her employers by paying herself twice her salary has been jailed for her crimes.

Over the course of 18 months, Julie Barrett, 51, siphoned £123,000 of Southend-based Simply Better Services' money into her own account.

Her employers were so concerned about the unexplained loss of profits that they held crisis talks regarding laying-off some of their 500 employees. 

Simply Better Services managing director, Robert Stillwell, said: "I feel very betrayed. We are a very family orientated company, I had even invited her to my daughter's 21st birthday.

The worst thing is she sat in on a meeting we held last year where we discussed making redundancies because we could not understand where all of our profits were going."

The fraud was only uncovered following an internal audit, which picked up the unusually high amounts being paid to Barrett.

Her defence explained that she had taken the money to pay her bills and that she now planned to sell her home to return what she owed.

Having already pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at a previous hearing, Barrett was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Judge William Graham at Basildon Crown Court.

Posted by Gary Wilson Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:37:00 AM Categories: News

HMRC Budget Cut by 5% 

HMRC's budget is to be cut by 5% in 2015/16 as departments across Whitehall are forced to tighten their belts under the government's latest cost-cutting plans. 

Chancellor George Osborne announced the savings in Parliament today as part of the Treasury's Spending Review for 2015/16.

Among other notable measures is that the requirement for the Department for Work and Pensions to cut 9.5% of its current budget, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills to cut 6% of its budget and the removal of automatic pay rises for public sector staff. 

Osborne said the proposals, which total £11.5 billion in cuts, would move the British ecomomy from "rescue to recovery".

Posted by Gary Wilson Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:22:00 AM Categories: News

Extension to RTI easement gives breathing space to small employers 

Small employers are set to benefit from the extension of an RTI reporting easement that will now run until spring next year.

Companies with fewer than 50 staff are still required to report PAYE through the RTI system, but will be able to do so just once a month until April 2014, rather than each time they pay their staff. This relaxation of the rules was originally set to expire in October.

HMRC’s director general for personal tax, Ruth Owen, said: “The roll-out continues to exceed our expectations. We will now write to the minority of employers who are not on board, to establish how we can help them meet the requirements of reporting in real time.”

And Treasury secretary, David Gauke said: “The Department for Work and Pensions is already using the new system to underpin its Universal Credit pilot, helping it to be more responsive to changes in claimants’ income levels. This is all good news, but we will continue to listen to and work with businesses to ensure that all employers are reporting in real time by April 2014.”

John Allan, national chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Reporting payroll in real time is a big change for small firms, so it is good to see that many have stepped up to the challenge and are doing it. There is no doubt that it adds another administrative burden for business owners and in some cases additional costs as firms outsource their payroll.

“For those who want to manage it in-house it is good news that the temporary relaxation, which allows small firms to report once a month has been extended. We would like this to be made permanent so that after

April next year, when a business can be fined for reporting late, the smallest firms are not put under undue pressure.”

More than 1.4m employer PAYE schemes are now reporting to HMRC in real time since its launch in April, meaning that 83% of SMEs and more than 1m (77%) micro-employers have already begun filing.

Information for approximately 44.5m payments made to employees for the month until May has been passed to the Revenue.

HMRC says it will identify whether there are any unusual circumstances it needs to cater for in the longer term, but employers of all sizes need to plan to be reporting RTI from April 2014.

Posted by Gary Wilson Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:40:00 AM Categories: News

HMRC defeats £9m EBT tax avoidance scheme 

A tax avoidance scheme, which routed profits of a tax advisory business through Employee Benefit Trusts (EBT), has been closed by the courts.

HMRC challenged tax deductions of almost £9m by John Dryburgh from his companies, Scotts Atlantic Management and Scotts Film Management, which he paid into EBTs.

The scheme involved the extraction of profits from companies while at the same time securing corporation tax deductions. Employers paid money into an EBT which gave undervalued shares in a new company, creating a loss to the employer.

The payments came out of profits earned by selling tax avoidance film schemes, but the First-tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) ruling has now protected £2.4m of tax. FTT judge Howard Nowlan said: “There is no doubt that Mr Dryburgh not only lied to the Tribunal in a material way, but he appeared also to have fabricated evidence, forged documents and thrown away a memory stick in order to destroy evidence.”

Although Dryburgh is in bankruptcy and Scotts Atlantic Management is in liquidation, HMRC believes that the cash can be recovered.

Treasury secretary, David Gauke, said: “This scheme – like so many others – was not worth buying into. HMRC will always challenge this type of planning and the tribunal decision should send a clear message to anyone thinking they can get away with tax dodging – HMRC will pursue you and you will have to pay the tax due as well as interest, on top of the promoter’s fees.”

Posted by Gary Wilson Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:37:00 PM Categories: News

Company car advisory fuel rates updated 

HMRC has updated its advisory fuel rates for all journeys taking place on or after June 1 2013.

The updated rates are available from the HMRC website

For one month from the date of change, employers may use either the previous or new current rates, as they choose.

Employers may therefore make or require supplementary payments if they so wish, but are under no obligation to do either.

Posted by Gary Wilson Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:59:00 PM Categories: News

RTI: HMRC set to contact thousands of non-compliant PAYE schemes 

Up to 600,000 PAYE schemes have not switched to Real Time Information (RTI) yet and a large number of employers are set to be contacted by HMRC imminently as a result.

The exact number of non-compliant schemes will be confirmed by the Revenue before the end of the month.

While some of the businesses that have not started filing in real time yet are not required to do so before October, many are understood to be small businesses that were required to switch over from the beginning of this tax year.

An HMRC spokesman told Payroll World: “At the end of June, we will be writing to the small minority of employers whom we expected to start, but haven’t yet done so. We will confirm the final numbers before the end of June.”

The content of the communication is as yet unclear.

So far HMRC says 1.3m PAYE schemes have switched to RTI successfully though 1.9m are considered as RTI-appropriate.

It could be a fact that there are people that will ignore the requirement to register until they get a letter saying they will be fined, but there are also some that just find it difficult to comply.

These employers will all be very small businesses that can be difficult for HMRC to make contact with or who don’t use commercial payroll software.

HMRC also says pilot employers that did not submit a return by May 19 will be subject to a PAYE end of year penalty. This treats pilot employers the same as those who were not part of the pilot.

Posted by Gary Wilson Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:57:00 PM Categories: News
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