News & Views

Welfare service providers: protect your VAT relief

More providers of welfare services may now need to treat their supplies as exempt, so losing their ability to reclaim input VAT costs. Those affected should consider making a protective refund claim for overpaid VAT.

The change in VAT treatment follows the recent decision in the case of LIFE Services Ltd ('LIFE') v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (First Tier. Tribunal), a provider of day care services for adults with a broad spectrum of disabilities. The organisation provides its services directly to local authorities, to individuals managing their own care budgets and to care homes.

The ruling could have ramifications for any organisation that provides welfare services and may also affect some structures implemented by care providers in order to benefit from the addition of VAT to the services they provide.

Fourth successive year of decline in operating costs

Total annual operating costs in the shipping industry fell by an average of 2.4% in 2015. This compares with the 0.8% average fall in costs recorded for 2014, and is the fourth successive overall year-on-year reduction in such costs. All categories of expenditure were down on those for the previous 12-month period. This suggests continued pragmatic management of costs by ship owners and operators, as well as a reduction in active trading for some owners as a result of the prolonged worldwide economic downturn.

Zero rate tax allowances: Use them or lose them

Did you know that from 6 April 2016 all taxpayers have been able to pay 0% tax on up to £5,000 of dividend income each tax year? In addition, basic rate taxpayers can pay 0% tax on up to £1,000 of interest income each tax year, whilst higher rate taxpayers can pay 0% tax on up to £500 of interest income each tax year.

What’s the safest seat on a plane?

Many of us will have been on a plane with our families over the summer holiday and will be now building up frequent flyer points through travel. When picking your seats you might be focused on those that give you most leg room or enable you to get on or off quickly when boarding and landing. But do you ever think about which seats maximise your survival chances in the event of a crash?

Our team of engineers and scientists have provided an interesting outlook into this subject as despite the high volume of flights every year, flying is relatively safe.

Meeting the VAT challenge: how are businesses addressing their VAT risks?

Businesses see VAT as posing the biggest tax risk to their company over the next 12 months.
Our survey found that businesses could be doing more to protect themselves.

In our survey, 35% of respondents highlighted VAT as their riskiest tax area, although another 29% identified employment tax as highest risk. Concern about VAT may reflect the amounts of tax involved, the potential costs of getting calculations and submissions wrong and the sheer complexity of many of the VAT rules.

Reducing maritime fraud and corruption

Complexity is the friend of the fraudster.  An international trade transaction involves multiple parties that can increase complexity – buyers, sellers, ship-owners, charterers, ships’ masters or crews, insurers, bankers, brokers or agents. In addition, one also has to consider the opportunity for cargo handlers (loading and unloading), government officials, security staff, inspectors, surveyors, hold  cleaners and others to commit fraud or behave corruptly.
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