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Larking Gowen weekly digest – latest news on direct/indirect tax, financial reporting and more…

Direct taxes

1. Tax refund scams: A client received a text message supposedly from HMRC asking for details and amounts in order to pay his tax refund. Although HMRC are using text messages more and more these are only for generic filing/payment reminders or for security login. Please be aware that HMRC will NEVER request bank details by text or by email. If you are concerned whether a text or email is genuine contact phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

2. HMRC online payment on account issues: We have been informed by HMRC that they have been experiencing issues with their online payment on account system, whereby reductions have not been processed. If you have made an online claim within the last couple of months it is worth calling HMRC to clarify your client's position and ensure that this has been processed correctly. Alternatively, they will update the payments on account over the phone.

VAT and indirect taxes

1. Simplification of VAT: During the Autumn Statement 2016, it was announced that the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) was to carry out a review of the VAT system in the UK. Matters to be looked at included VAT accounting for SMEs and the current VAT rate structure in place.

The OTS has confirmed that it will be publishing an interim report prior to the Spring Budget in March 2017, with the aim of delivering a final report in advance of the Autumn Budget later this year. The Larking Gowen VAT team will provide further updates as soon as the reports have been published.

Other

1. Inflation: RPI annual inflation in January 2017 was 2.6% (up from 2.5% in December 2016). The government's preferred measure, CPI annual inflation rose to 1.8% (up from 1.6% in December). The main contributors to the increase in the rate were rises in motor fuels and the price of food, which were partially offset by downward movements in the prices of clothing and footwear. CPIH, the new measure of consumer price inflation is 2.0% in the year to January 2017 (up from 1.7% in December) – CPIH will become the headline measure of inflation from 21 March 2017. The RPIJ in January was 242.5 (down from 244.0 in December).

Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this publication may not be comprehensive and recipients should not act solely on the basis of this information.