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Strategic Tax Services

We provide a number of strategic tax related services such as assistance with:

  • Implementing and designing share schemes
  • HMRC enquiries and investigations
  • Inheritance tax advice
  • Corporate transactional work
  • Valuation reports

Share schemes advice and reporting

When considering key staff retention, many business owners will naturally think of increasing salaries, providing company cars and pensions.

However, it is becoming more common for companies to offer the opportunity for employees to own part of their employing company by granting them with options to acquire shares.
We therefore advise many companies upon the implementation of share option schemes – be that unapproved share option schemes or HMRC approved share option schemes.

In addition, we value the shares over which the option is to be granted, agree the valuation with HMRC (where appropriate) and liaise with lawyers who draw up the share option agreements

A key step in this process is to not only to report the granting of the option to HMRC but to complete annual returns declaring any share options that have been taken up by employees.

There are critical deadlines to adhere to in respect of certain tax-advantaged that share option schemes offer and not adhering to these deadlines can result in the tax-advantage being lost.
We therefore take the administrative headache away by doing as much or as little as you require.

 

HMRC enquiries and investigations

In the current era, there is considerable press around tax avoidance (legal) and tax evasion (illegal), with lines between the two being blurred. HMRC are under pressure to reduce the tax gap (the difference between the amount collected and Government estimates of tax collection) and enquiries are a good source of income for HMRC, where taxpayers have made mistakes or where there is a difference of interpretation. Whilst most earners will be honest, some will be dishonest and the action (civil or criminal) that HMRC takes depends upon whether they feel a fraud has taken place.

Tax enquiries and investigations can be opened as part of a targeted enquiry into a specific sector or even randomly by HMRC. It is important to realise that no-one is safe from such investigations and enquiries by HMRC.

An enquiry can be intrusive and will undoubtedly be a stressful time for the individual or company directors. It is important to reply quickly, truthfully and maintain an open communication with HMRC to avoid minimise any potential penalties.

We have extensive experience in assisting clients with a range of enquiries – be that self assessment, corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and P11D.

Our aim is to work with you to obtain the facts, provide support at meetings with HMRC and make appropriate representations to HMRC. We will also try to ensure that any penalty charged is reduced to the absolute minimum and in some cases suspended.

If you or your business is currently under scrutiny from HMRC then we can help, even if we are not your currently appointed accountants.

HMRC do run a number of campaigns which encourages voluntary disclosure (such as the Let Property Campaign). If you wish to make such a disclosure, we can assist with this too.

 

Tax enquiries protection

Given the increased risk of HMRC enquiries (LINK) all businesses and individuals should consider taking protection against the unexpected professional costs of liaising with HMRC, which can run to several thousands of pounds, as additional accountancy work may be undertaken together with time spent reviewing case law and statute to defend your position.

The actual fees will depend upon the work involved but the cost may be substantial.

For a small annual fee, you can take out our tax investigation service which essentially insures against the additional professional costs (not against any increased tax liability) of dealing with an enquiry.

You must be a client of ours (with an HMRC authority in place) at the time that you take out the policy and you can’t take out the policy after you have already received notice of an enquiry.

 

Inheritance tax advice and reporting

No-one likes to think about death. One day it will come to us all and when it does further taxes may be due.

If you own your home and/or hold investment assets (property, shares etc) and if the total value of your assets is above the inheritance tax threshold, then the taxman will tax the excess at 40%.

The press regularly refer to inheritance tax as a voluntary tax. There are many parliamentary intended reliefs available to us all. However, many of us do nothing about inheritance tax and some only when it is too late.

We can help you navigate the myriad of reliefs and allowances that are available to ensure that you leave as much of your estate as you can to the next generation.

We can help you plan for the inheritance tax liability and work with your solicitor to draw up your Will correctly.

We can discuss how a trust arrangement can be beneficial and talk to you about the variety of trust options available. Trusts can be effective ways to manage and protect assets and investments, whilst moving the assets and investments out of your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

We can help you with the trust reporting and annual tax obligations.

It may be that you decide to give some monies or assets away during your lifetime. We can help you consider the tax implications of such gifts and the reporting requirements of HMRC.

 

Corporate transactional work

Our corporate finance team helps many individuals and businesses raise funding, acquire other businesses and ultimately dispose of businesses.

We work closely with the corporate finance team in relation to due diligence assignments on acquisitions and disposals as well as with external lawyers in relation to tax warranties and indemnities.

We also work on other corporate transactional work such as:

  • Mergers
  • De-mergers – direct, indirect and s110 liquidation de-mergers
  • Other corporate re-organisations
  • Share for share exchanges
  • Corporate share buy backs / purchase of own shares
  • Raising funds via EIS and SEIS investments
  • Obtaining HMRC clearances for pre-approval of the above transactions

Our tax team has extensive experience of guiding businesses through various stages of growth and advising upon tax advantages and pitfalls of selected routes.

More information can be found under the corporate finance pages.

 

Valuation reports

Our tax team are frequently involved in preparing valuation reports in relation to share and business valuations for:

  • disputes between business partners who no longer wish to work together
  • matrimonial disputes
  • share option schemes
  • capital gains tax purposes – perhaps on the incorporation of a business or the gift of a business
  • probate purposes
  • business sales

 

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