Welcome to the March Technical Newsdesk

Once bitten, twice shy. 

ome (including no doubt CIOT Vice President Peter Rayney, if you’ve ever attended one of his presentations) will recognise this as a song by Ian Hunter, which (apparently – before my time!) reached Number 14 in the UK Charts in 1975. But as a concept it’s clearly something I should pay more attention to having stated confidently in my introduction to the February Technical Newsdesk (having also said it in January) that by the time you read this the Finance Bill would have received Royal Assent. Well, we do live in interesting times, but finally we now have Finance Act 2019. It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future!

So, let’s start first on safe ground, with a brief look back at our work during 2018. The changing fiscal timetable means that the technical teams of CIOT, ATT and LITRG have spent less time writing to policymakers etc and more time in face to face/verbal communication. I am old enough to remember Gladiators, so take a look at those stats, and read some of what we did last year.

We next turn to Making Tax Digital. We are now fast approaching 1 April, and we set out some key things to focus on. But developments around MTD come thick and fast, so do keep an eye on the dedicated MTD pages of the CIOT and ATT websites, and GOV.UK, for the latest information.

Without wanting to imply any link between MTD and practical problems with the tax system, we then look back at the 2017 /18 Self-Assessment season, and some of the difficulties faced by agents and their clients. We frequently engage with HMRC to progress and resolve these sorts of issue, but it is vital that they are reported in the first place. So, do see whether any of these issues look familiar, and (if you do not do so already) add your experiences on the Agent Forum.

We also summarise our responses to three recent consultations: Amendments to tax returns (and a big thank you to those who completed our survey), Corporate capital loss restriction: consultation on delivery and Stamp taxes on shares consideration rules. Two LITRG items follow: an update on the managed migration to Universal Credit, and its response to the pensions dashboards consultation. On a personal level, a pensions dashboard seems like a fantastic idea – I have at least four separate pensions from previous employments, and keeping track of them is certainly not easy.

Finally, are you up to date with your CPD? We finish with a reminder from our Professional Standards team about CPD – are your records up to date and readily available?