Welcome to Friday’s 9am Lowdown.
* * *
Swindon Town fined after AE foul
Swindon Town football club has been fined £22,900 by the Pension Regulator for failing to meet its staging date.
In a statement published on their website, the football club said it is “unfortunate” that it has been fined by the Pension Regulator.
The Robin’s pension woes started back in 2014 when it failed to enrol its eligible staff into a pension scheme before their 1 February staging date or write to their staff explaining how auto enrolment affected them.
After Swindon Town did not comply with the compliance notice, on 28 October 2014 it was hit with a £400 fixed penalty notice, which the club failed to pay. On 15 February 2015, the Pension Regulator escalated their payment notice, which resulted in a £2,500 a day fine.
The Pension Regulator stopped the escalation penalty on 26 February 2015 after Swindon gave assurance that backdated contributions would be paid within two weeks. But Swindon failed to make any contributions to the scheme, so the Pension Regulator issued a further escalating penalty notice. At the start of 2016, Swindon brought all outstanding contributions up to date, and then settled its pension penalty fine in full on 16 February 2016.
Commentating in the Regulatory intervention report, The Pension Regulator said: “This case illustrates the need to engage early with us where we have identified non-compliance… Had STFC responded to our initial contact and taken action quickly, £22,900 of penalty fines could have been avoided.”
Charles Counsell, executive director of automatic enrolment at the Pensions Regulator, added: “If things aren’t going well, then talk to us; don’t ignore us. Failing to comply on time will not save you money. Not only do you risk a fine, you will also have to make back dated contributions.”
Swindon Town said in a statement: “The fine related to the period when the ownership of the club was being contested by the former chairman and is yet another painful example of the severe adverse consequences that the uncertainty and instability caused in regularising the business affairs of the club.
"The club is now completely up to date and compliant with its pension obligations and contributions."
* * *
SDLT tax avoidance solicitors stuck off
Two Harrogate solicitors have been struck off from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for three years after running tax avoidance schemes.
According to Step, Richard Chan and Rajob Ali, operated various stamp duty land tax (SDLT) avoidance schemes through their Seychelles-based business, which took a commission. The SRA closed the firm in 2013.
This week, the SRA reheard the case after it appealed the firm’s previous penalty, where it was fined £15,000, as being too lenient. The pair were barred for three years, and ordered to pay a further £5,500.
* * *
Denmark considers 'meat tax’
While the government announced their so-called sugar levy during the Budget to curb unhealthy living, Denmark has set its sights on meat.
According to The Telegraph, The Denmark ethics council has called for a higher tax on red meat due to its impact on the climate.
The council said in a statement: “The Danish way of life is far from climate-sustainable, and if we are to live up to the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global temperature rise 'well' below 2°C, it is necessary both to act quickly and involve food”.
* * *
While not featured above, the big news story for AccountingWEB today is our redesign, which goes live on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, this means that you will not be able to comment or post content from 9am this morning. You can read more about the end of this version of AccountingWEB across the site, and also get a sneak peek at what you can expect from the new AccountingWEB, as teased in our Editor’s blog series.
From everyone at here at AccountingWEB, we hope you have a restful Bank Holiday weekend, and we look forward to welcoming you to the new AccountingWEB on Tuesday morning.
* * *