News story: ‘People with Significant Control’ Companies House register goes live

The People with Significant Control (PSC) register includes information about the individuals who own or control companies including their name, month and year of birth, nationality, and details of their interest in the company.

From 30 June 2016, UK companies (except listed companies) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) need to declare this information when issuing their annual confirmation statement to Companies House.

A person of significant control is someone that holds more than 25% of shares or voting rights in a company, has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors or otherwise exercises significant influence or control. This information will form a central public register of people with significant control, which is free to access.

The Prime Minister first put corporate transparency on the international agenda when he chaired the G8 summit in Lough Erne and secured commitment to action, the commitment to enhance corporate transparency in the UK was reaffirmed at London’s International Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016. Since then the EU and G20 countries have also agreed to act. The UK is the first country in the G20 to create a public register of this kind.

The UK has high standards of business behaviour and corporate governance. The overwhelming majority of UK companies contribute productively to the UK economy, abide by the law and make a valuable contribution to society. But there are exceptions.

Some of the features of the company structure which make it good for business also make it attractive to criminals. Companies can be misused to facilitate a range of criminal activities – from money laundering to tax evasion, corruption to terrorist financing. Sometimes those individuals running companies will not conduct themselves in accordance with the high standards we expect in the UK, posing a risk to other companies and consumers alike.

Information about the ownership and control of UK corporate entities will bring benefits for law enforcement, business, civil society and citizens. By making this information publicly available, free of charge, the government is setting a standard that we are persuading other countries to follow.

Source: Gov.uk

National Statistics: Commentary: benefits in kind statistics

Updated: Updated tables to reflect data for 2014 to 2015.

The statistics show the number of recipients, the taxable value of the benefits and the tax and National Insurance Contribution (NIC) liabilities on them. The main year covered in this update is 2014 to 2015 but there are also comparisons over time for the period 2007 to 2016.

Source: HMRC

International treaty: Uruguay: tax treaties

Updated: Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Uruguay/UK has been added.

2016 Uruguay – UK tax treaty: double taxation convention

The double taxation convention was signed on 24 February 2016 and entered into force on 14 November 2016.

The convention takes effect for:

a) taxes withheld at source, for amounts paid or credited on or after 1 January 2017

b) other taxes, for taxable periods (and in the case of UK Corporation Tax, financial years) beginning on or after the 1 January 2017

Notwithstanding the provisions in a) and b) above, the provisions of:

a) Article 21 (Capital) of this convention shall not take effect unless the Contracting States so agree through an exchange of diplomatic notes

b) Article 25 (Mutual agreement procedure) and Article 26 (Exchange of information) effective from 14 November 2016, without regard to the taxable period to which the matter relates

Tax Information Exchange Agreements

Tax Information Exchange Agreement: Uruguay – exchange of information

The UK-Uruguay Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) was signed in London on 14 October 2013. It entered into force on 20 October 2016 and has effect in both countries for:

  • criminal matters on 20 October 2016

  • all other matters covered in Article 1, on 20 October 2016, but only in respect of taxable periods beginning on or after that date, or where there is no taxable period, all charges to tax arising on or after that date

Source: HMRC

Form: Alcohol duties: application for a licence as a wine or made-wine producer or commercial grower (WMW1)

Updated: The online form service has been updated to include an attachment function.

You can either:

  • use the online form service (sign in to, or set up a Government Gateway account)
  • fill in the form on-screen, print and post it to HM Revenue and Customs

If you use the online form, you’ll get a reference number that you can use to track the progress of your form.

Form WMW1 should be used to apply for a licence where you’re:

  • intending to produce wine or made-wine for sale
  • a commercial grower wishing to receive wine, produced by a licensed producer for you, in duty suspense

Producers: what to include

You must submit a detailed site plan in addition to form WMW1 showing:

  • the position and description of the rooms, vessels, plant or equipment you intend to use in the production of wine or made-wine
  • where the wine or made-wine is to be stored

You can submit your detailed site plan by attaching it to the online form. The plan should be no more than 5MB in PDF or JPEG format.

Alternatively, you can submit your application and site plan by post to:

HM Revenue and Customs

Excise Processing Teams

BX9 1GL

Commercial growers: what to include

You only have to include a plan of where the wine is to be stored.

Before you start using the postal form

If you’re using the postal form and your browser is an older one, for example, Internet Explorer 8, you’ll need to update it or use a different browser. Find out more about browsers.

You’ll need to fill in the form fully before you can print it. You can’t save a partly completed form so gather all your information together before you start to fill it in.

Excise Notice 163: wine production

Source: HMRC

Detailed guide: Publish your large business tax strategy

Updated: More information on which businesses need to publish a strategy and when they must be published by has been added.

Who must publish a strategy

You’ll need to publish a tax strategy if you’re a group, sub-group, company or partnership, and in your previous financial year you have:

  • turnover above £200 million
  • balance sheet over £2 billion

UK companies or groups that are part of a Multi-National Enterprise (MNE) group that meets the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) ‘Country-by-Country Reporting’ framework threshold of global turnover over €750 million also need to publish a strategy.

A company or sub-group only has to publish its own tax strategy if it’s not covered by a published strategy at a higher level.

Groups

A group is a MNE group or a non-MNE group, depending on the tax residence of its parent company, subsidiaries or permanent establishments.

A UK permanent establishment of a non-UK incorporated business is treated as if it were a UK company, and a member of any UK group or sub-group that the non-UK incorporated business is a member of.

UK groups

The ultimate parent is a UK corporate body.

Foreign groups and UK sub-groups

The ultimate parent is not in the UK.

If a foreign group has UK subsidiaries all under a UK intermediate parent, together they will be a UK sub-group.

A foreign group can have more than one UK sub-group. The head of each sub-group is the UK company that’s not a 51% subsidiary of another member of the sub-group.

Each UK sub-group of a qualifying foreign group must publish a tax strategy.

A foreign group can also have more than one UK subsidiary that’s not under a UK intermediate parent. If the UK companies and branches are part of the same qualifying foreign group (‘sister companies’) they must each publish a tax strategy.

MNE groups

A MNE has the same meaning as in the OECD Model Legislation in the OECD Country by Country Reporting Implementation Package.

It includes:

  • multiple corporate bodies that are tax resident in different jurisdictions
  • a corporate body that’s resident in one jurisdiction and is subject to tax on business carried out using a permanent establishment in another jurisdiction – either jurisdiction can be in the UK

Non-MNE groups

A non-MNE group is made up of 2 or more UK companies or corporate bodies (not including Limited Liability Partnerships) where there’s a 51% parent/subsidiary relationship.

Companies in a group that do not have the same financial year end

Grouped companies must aggregate UK turnover and/or balance sheet assets to decide if they meet the qualifying conditions.

When a company or UK permanent establishment within a group does not have the same financial year end as the head of the group, include the turnover and/or balance sheet figures from their latest financial year which ends before the head company’s when aggregating.

Do not pro-rata turnover figures for overlapping periods.

Example

The head company of a UK group has a financial year that ends on 31 December 2017 with turnover of £150 million.

It has one UK subsidiary with a financial year that ends on 31 March 2017, with turnover of £80 million.

The group aggregated turnover for the financial year that ends on 31 December 2017 is £230 million, so a group tax strategy must be published for the financial year ending 31 December 2018.

Individual companies

A qualifying individual company has to publish its own tax strategy if it’s not a member of a UK group or UK sub-group.

Open-ended investment companies and investment trusts do not need to publish a tax strategy.

Partnerships

A qualifying partnership has to publish its tax strategy if it’s a:

  • partnership within the meaning of the Partnership Act 1890
  • limited partnership registered under the Limited Partnerships Act 1907
  • limited liability partnership incorporated in the UK under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000

Different strategies within a group

If different parts of a group or UK sub-group have different tax strategies then separate strategies must be published. Each strategy should make it clear which entity or entities it covers.

Where there’s a separate requirement for a number of UK sub-groups or sister companies to publish a strategy, HMRC will accept one strategy if the entities which it covers are clearly identified in it.

Who’s responsible for publishing the strategy

Your business is responsible for deciding if it meets the requirements for publishing a tax strategy.

UK groups

The UK head of the group is responsible for making sure the group tax strategy which covers all the members of the group is published.

The strategy can be published by any of the UK entities.

Foreign groups with UK sub-groups

The head of each UK sub-group is responsible for publishing a UK sub-group tax strategy.

It must cover all UK companies and UK branches which are members of the UK sub-group.

The strategy can be published by any of the UK companies that are members of the foreign group.

Foreign groups with UK sister companies

If a UK subsidiary is owned directly by a foreign parent without a UK intermediate parent each individual UK subsidiary is responsible for publishing its own tax strategy as a qualifying company. This applies even if the individual company would not be large enough to be a qualifying company on its own.

Depending on the structure of the qualifying foreign group, it’s possible that a number of sub-groups and/or sister companies (including UK branches) will each have to publish their own tax strategy.

Companies

The company is responsible for publishing its tax strategy.

Partnerships

The nominated partner is responsible for making sure the partnership’s tax strategy is published.

What must be in your strategy

Your tax strategy should be approved by your Board of Directors, be in line with the overall strategy and operation of your business and include:

It does not need to include the amounts of taxes and duties paid as part of your tax strategy, or information that might be commercially sensitive.

How your business manages UK tax risks

Include all information that demonstrates your business’s approach to risk management and governance. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • how your business identifies and reduces inherent tax risk due to the size, complexity and extent of change in the business
  • the governance framework you use to manage tax risk
  • the levels of oversight and involvement of the Board of Directors
  • a high level description of any key roles, responsibilities, systems and controls in place to manage tax risk

Your business’s attitude to tax planning

Outline your business’s attitude towards tax planning and give details relating to UK taxation. Also include all information regarding the approach your business has towards to tax planning, including:

  • details of any code of conduct your business has for tax planning
  • an outline of what influences your business’s tax planning and how this affects your tax strategy
  • your approach to structuring tax planning
  • an explanation of why you might seek external tax planning advice

The level of risk your business is prepared to accept for UK taxation

Explain:

  • what levels of risk your business is prepared to accept, and give details of the internal governance process for measuring this
  • the influence relevant stakeholders have

How your business works with HMRC

Explain how your business deals with HMRC. We may already know this but it must still be included in the document. It may include (but is not limited to):

  • an explanation of how the business works with HMRC to meet statutory and legislative tax requirements
  • how the business works to be transparent with HMRC on current, future and past tax risks across all relevant taxes and duties

Where to publish your strategy

Your tax strategy must be published on the internet and be available free of charge.

A member of the public should be able to easily find the tax strategy by browsing your business’s website, or searching online.

Your report can be:

  • part of a larger document (such as an annual report)
  • a separate document
  • published in other formats, as well as online (for example, in print)

If the entity that needs to publish doesn’t have a website, the tax strategy should still be available for free on the internet on:

  • it’s foreign parent company’s website
  • any other subsidiary’s website
  • another website, as agreed by your Customer Compliance Manager or other contact in HMRC

When your strategy must be published

You must publish a tax strategy for each of your financial years starting after 15 September 2016 when your business meets the qualifying conditions.

Your latest strategy must be available to the public free of charge, until the following year’s strategy has been published.

HMRC will check if you’ve published a tax strategy, but won’t contact you to confirm it has done so.

Time limit for publishing for the first time

If your business first meets the conditions in the previous financial year a tax strategy must be published before the end of the current financial year.

For example, if your financial year when your business first met the qualifying conditions ended on 31 March 2018 your first tax strategy should be published before the end of your financial year starting on 1 April 2018.

Time limit for publishing later strategies

Once a strategy has been published for the first time a new one must be published in the next financial year or within 15 months, whichever is sooner.

For example, if your business published its first tax strategy on 20 March 2018 and the next financial year ends on 31 March 2019, it must publish it in that financial year. However if the next financial year is extended to 30 September 2019, it must publish its second strategy by 20 June 2019.

If you no longer meet the requirements to publish

Your business does not have to publish a tax strategy for a year when it no longer qualifies, but the last tax strategy that it published must remain accessible for free for at least a year from the date it was published.

If you can’t publish the strategy by the date it’s due

You should contact your Customer Compliance Manager (or other contact in HMRC) if you think you may not be able to publish a tax strategy before it’s due, or if it can’t be accessed by the public for free.

HMRC may give an extension in certain circumstances.

When to publish future strategies

If your strategy has not changed, you still need to republish it in each financial year and make it clear which year it relates to.

It’s up to you to decide how you review the strategy each year.

Penalties

You may have to pay a penalty if you meet the requirements to publish a strategy and:

  • do not publish one
  • publish a strategy that does not include all relevant information
  • do not make sure a published strategy remains available for free for the appropriate period

The penalty will be charged on the entity that’s responsible for making sure the strategy is published, this could be the:

  • head of the qualifying UK group
  • head of the UK sub-group
  • sister company in a foreign group
  • individual UK company or partnership

Before we charge a penalty, we’ll issue a non-statutory warning notice for you to publish a compliant strategy within 30 days. This notice is not a formal time extension, but you won’t get a penalty if you publish a compliant tax strategy within 30 days of it being issued.

HMRC intends to review if it’s still appropriate to continue to issue non-statutory warning notices.

Penalties for failing to publish a compliant strategy run from the first day after the date by which the strategy should have been published and you may be charged:

  • a £7,500 penalty for not publishing a strategy
  • a second £7,500 penalty if the strategy has not been published 6 months after it should have been
  • another £7,500 penalty for each following month until the strategy is published

Penalty assessment time limits

HMRC must make a penalty assessment within 6 months of finding out that you have not complied with the legislation.

The final deadline for making a penalty assessment is 6 years after the end of the financial year when the strategy should have been published.

How to appeal against a penalty assessment

You can appeal in writing against a HMRC penalty assessment within 30 days of it being issued by HMRC.

Find out more about how to disagree with a tax decision.

Source: HMRC