Member Since: 23rd Aug 2015
10th Oct 2019
The group annual report is a ridiculous 110 pages and the P&L starts on page 60!
Is there a market for a service that would take published accounts like this and condense them to standardized reports in accordance with traditional conventions (no IAS16 for example) without any "adjustments" or "normalisations", including a crystal-clear statement of cash flow? As an investor I would subscribe to such a service if the price was right. I find it very difficult to make use of modern company accounts because they are too long and I don't understand half of what they contain despite having been in business for 40 years and learning book-keeping from my father when I was a teenager. Such a service could be named "Old Fashioned Accounts"!
5th Oct 2019
I have for many years been a non-executive director where I am also the largest single shareholder (but well short of a majority holding). I have often been fobbed off when I ask questions, there is no audit committee, and in the past the only time I have ever been able to have any contact with the external auditor has been at the AGM. I think it is high time for non-execs to be given statutory powers to demand, not request, information which they need to enable effective scrutinisation, subject only to there being severe penalties to deter misuse of such information.
12th Sep 2019
'these misstatements principally related to the incorrect timing of when certain cost and rebate elements associated with supplier contracts and related arrangements were initially recognized.'..... 'rebates on long-term contracts were taken in the current year rather than spread across the life of the contract.'
Nowadays I don't pay much attention to P&Ls and Balance Sheets (or whatever they are called this morning). They can conceal this sort of shenanigans for quite a long time. I only look at cash flow now (while saying a prayer that I'm not looking at another Patisserie Valerie/Stonegate fraud).
11th Sep 2019
HMRC seem to be taking their cue from politics where lies, misleading half-truths, bullying, scaremongering, and twisted interpretations of the law are all seen as fair tactics.
5th Sep 2019
I was a chartered surveyor specialising in the in-house management of very large retail estates. In addition to the dangerous "Subject to Contract"one of my pet hates was "Without Prejudice". It's utterly meaningless unless a dispute has arisen which may lead to adjudication of some kind, but you often see it chucked in for good measure. Of course its misuse rarely has a financial impact so I'm just indulging my penchant for pedantry here (but my pedantry earned me a very good living for many years because I could spot things that lazier more careless people missed).
As to break clauses, my heart misses a beat every time I see those words. I woke up one morning with a sense of dread and when I got to the office I dug out the property management diary. The date for giving notice of our wish to break the lease of one of our biggest loss making shops had been incorrectly entered by one of the junior staff and we had missed it. Break clause notice deadlines are always "time of the essence" - I never came across an example of an extended notice period being allowed. Almost as bad as missing the deadline for response to a s.25 notice which I saw a solicitor do once, thereby locking their client into accepting a renewal of a lease of a profitable shop on terms which no court would have awarded if the matter had gone to trial.
If there is a message here it is to make sure you have the advice of a lawyer and/or a surveyor who specialises in commercial leases. You don't want someone who does mostly probate or family law or house sales, and a bit of commercial property work on the side. This is a game for specialists, and they typically eat amateurs for breakfast.
4th Sep 2019
Thanks. Our chairman does use a limited company. I will pursue the question at our next board meeting but I am still unclear as to whether the chairman's company (the PSC) or our company (the employer) must make the determination.
Your point about the term PSC not having a legal status is agreed but the term seems to be in use universally to describe any limited company (predominantly private) for which the only trading activity is provision of the services of an individual or individuals, and I think it's quite useful in that context.
1st Sep 2019
I am a director of a private sector organisation which is small according to the definition. The chairman is employed via his own PSC (and we also employ one other person who is treated as self-employed I think quite erroneously, and has been for years, but that is a separate matter).
The article says: 'Where the engager is a small private sector organisation, the worker’s intermediary - their personal service company (PSC) - will make [the employment status determination], as is currently the case.'
But then it says: 'The HMRC guidance tells the engager they must decide the employment status of a worker for every contract agreed with an agency or worker'.
Am I right to read these quotes as contradictory? In the case of our chairman's PSC who must determine whether the contract is caught by IR35 so that employment taxes must be deducted by our company?
And while I'm here, my wife and I are employing a gardener who is coming in for variable hours each week and telling us on each occasion verbally or by text message how many hours to pay at the agreed rate. We know she has other customers, I'm guessing between 6 and 10, and therefore we are treating her as a self-employed person who is responsible for paying employment taxes but I see the new IR35 rules catch private individuals and I'm just wondering what my wife and I ought to do.
30th Aug 2019
Concerning import tariffs (not VAT) if this is completely new to you here are the starting points:
Newcomers may be surprised how many classes of goods are exempt from tariffs when imported to the UK, for example agricultural tractors with wheels (not tracks) in code 8701 https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/headings/8701. This is because the UK is a member of the WTO.
So far as VAT is concerned I am really quite puzzled by the suggestion in this article that an item being exported from France to the UK will attract VAT in France and again when it is imported to the UK. In every country with which I have ever traded the rule has been that export items do not attract the local sales tax. I will be very surprised if the EU27 impose a rule that exports to the UK must attract local VAT. Even if the EU27 (or, more likely, the Commission) want to punish the UK for leaving they would (I think) be reluctant to inflict further damage on European finances by imposing a significant additional competitive disadvantage on their businesses.
26th Jul 2019
My wife and I own 4 residential property investments, mortgage free. It used to be 5 but we sold 1 to try and stay under the MTD threshold (a failed tactic). For the purpose of discussing Adam Taverner's subject I have to ignore 2 of the properties because they are within the curtillage of our PPR and we would never sell them separately. The 2 properties that are relevant to this are (A) a 2 bed terrace and (B) a 3 bed semi.
We know and have a friendly trusting relationship with our tenants, they are nice people and they look after the properties beautifully. A is a childless couple, B have kids from a previous marriage visiting but not staying. Both of these households really ought to be buying a property for exactly the reasons Adam Taverner gives.
Couple A say they do not want to buy because they hope to do more travelling and are fearful of becoming landlords themselves if they have a property they need to rent out while they are away (they have been frightened off by all the recent changes). I think couple B would buy if they had a deposit in cash but I don't think they are saving.
I have tried to devise a way of converting these two investments into some form of shared ownership. I think that some B2L investors would be interested in this and it would go some way towards mitigating the problem which the APPG is worried about. But there seems no ready-made route into this, our accountants and solicitors don't think they know enough about the ramifications to advise us, and clearly it is something that would have to be as foolproof as possible for us to take the risk.
I wonder if anyone is thinking about this idea? It might be quite popular once landlords discover that they can't regain possession using s21, and therefore they can't sell their investments with vacant possession.
10th Jul 2019
And all the time they were making a complete mess of this big case they were sending blue frighteners and debt collectors to collect peanuts from small fry, introducing MTD for pensioners with £10k of rental income, and failing to put resources into answering the telephone quickly and competently. HMRC seems to delight in making ordinary people's lives miserable but they let the big fish swim free either by stitching up deals behind closed doors or failing to land them when they have the chance. I cannot put into polite words what I think of HMRC.