Member Since: 22nd Feb 2010
I started my career as a management accountant at a Lloyd’s of London syndicate (now called Novae Group plc) in 2000. I gained a place on Ernst & Young’s graduate tax rotation scheme in 2002. I worked in various teams including Global Mobility (preparing expatriate tax returns), Employment Tax Solutions (managing complex tax schemes for employees including employee benefit trusts) and Employment Tax Consulting, (advising on PAYE/NIC issues and undertaking due diligence investigations).
I settled in the Tax Risk Management team where I specialised in managing HMRC enquiries for individuals and companies. I project-managed one of HMRC’s largest Code of Practice 8 enquiries under the Litigation and Settlement Strategy.
In 2008 I moved to Alvarez & Marsal Taxand LLP, specialising in Code of Practice 9 enquiries, Code of Practice 8 enquiries, New Disclosure Opportunity reports and Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility reports for UK and non UK domiciled individuals and companies.
I left A&M in 2012 to set up Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP with Andrew Watt. We specialise in tax investigation work. I enjoy working closely with clients to understand their tax affairs, writing their reports, and the satisfaction I receive when the tax issue has been resolved.
I received a bachelor’s degree (2:1) in Geography from Oxford University. I am a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). I received a distinction in my Association of Tax Technician (ATT) exams. I am also part qualified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
I undertook a six month secondment at The Prince’s Trust in 2006 in the business development team, and completed their 270km Coast to Coast team challenge raising over £4,000. I also completed the London Marathon in 2007. I am a supporter of the National Trust, Landmark Trust and renewable energy.
15th Jun 2020
You say that the surface is superior, is that because the surface will not need repairing every 15 years going forward? Or does it make it better to play on?
There are some arguments in favour of repair. I assume they have not increased the dimensions of the courts and they look the same, except for the colour and the fence around is the same.
Some cases look at whether it is a renewal or replacement of defective parts of the ‘entirety’, (which would be a repair), or alternatively a renewal or replacement of substantially the whole property, (which would be an improvement). HMRC refer to the case of Conn v Robins Bros Ltd  43TC266 in BIM and it may be helpful.‘No doubt in the course of carrying out these works certain structural alterations were made, as one would expect with any extensive repair of a building over 400 years old, when repairs were being carried out at a time when building techniques have completely altered. But the fact that there were alterations in the structural details of the building does not seem to me to be a good ground for proceeding upon the basis that the work produced something new. On the contrary, I think it is implicit in the Commissioners’ finding that the result of this work was not to produce something new but to repair something which had previously existed. Upon that basis it seems to me that there is no ground for regarding this expenditure as a capital expenditure.’
The judge looked at circumstances which would lead to the conclusion that the expenditure was capital. The expenditure was not associated with the acquisition of the premises. If the work had not been carried out it would have been impossible to carry on the business. The work was incurred to allow the company to continue to earn profits by putting its existing asset into a proper state of repair. There was no evidence that the asset when acquired by the company was not in a fit state and that the cost of acquisition reflected it being in an unusable state (see BIM35450).
The key was that ‘the result of this work was not to produce something new but to repair something which had previously existed’. The character of the asset (see BIM35460) was unchanged by the work.
Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations)
28th May 2020
Taxpayers can face a penalty if they do not tell HMRC that an assessment is too low, therefore it is important that you keep any evidence of your correspondence to HMRC. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations)
6th Feb 2020
We are finding that HMRC are increasingly arguing that the tax adviser has been careless which might have implications for insurance purposes. Penalties for systematic "careless" errors can normally be suspended, however late payment interest will apply. Where a tax adviser is dealing with a complicated issue then they could warn the client of the risks and could advise them to get a second opinion where there is a lot of tax at stake - this would show HMRC that the taxpayer has taken reasonable care. Taking a different opinion to HMRC should not result in a penalty as long as it is clearly disclosed on the tax return. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP)
30th Oct 2019
7th Oct 2019
I think tax advisers need to be extra careful these days due to the penalties for enablers of tax avoidance. By submitting a tax return on behalf of a client with a dubious R&D claim, even if prepared by a third party, you may in HMRC's eyes be seen to be approving it. If the adviser is aware that the R&D claim is incorrect or misleading it may be necessary to stop acting for the client and make a Money Laundering report to NCA. HMRC could see a misleading R&D claim as tax "fraud". HMRC may see an incorrect R&D claim as a chance to review other aspects of the tax affairs such as VAT, CT, employment taxes the directors personal tax affairs. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP, www.wattbusfield.co.uk)
30th Aug 2019
An Amazon voucher would be a "voucher exchangeable for goods and services only (non-cash vouchers)", therefore I believe it would be a trivial benefit if it cost the employer £50 or less. https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-vouchers/what-to-report-and-pay (and) https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefits-trivial-benefits
4th Oct 2017
You could find a specialist tax enquiry/investigation firm to help your client. It may be useful to have someone independent involved and who may have more time to deal with an enquiry in the run up to the tax return deadline. There are lots of tax investigation firms out there with ex HMRC inspectors and you will probably find one local to you. Sorry for the shameful plug but FYI, we are based in London and our website is www.wattbusfield.co.uk
4th Jul 2017
On a slight tangent, we have an ongoing private residence relief case with HMRC where the taxpayer transferred half of the property to his new wife shortly after getting married - they married in June, transferred 50% of ownership in August, sold property in October the same year. HMRC are claiming that they are exploiting the CG annual exemption and are ignoring the transfer. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP)
22nd Nov 2016
An inspector has the right to look at all business records for the relevant tax year, which includes private bank accounts if business transactions have been put through a private bank account. This is why we recommend taxpayers use a separate bank account for business transactions.
If the tax inspector finds errors in the reported business income and expenses and has reasonable grounds to believe that some business income is under-declared, then they have the right to look at personal records eg to confirm how items have been funded through copies of invoices for cars/holidays, mortgage applications, credit card statements etc.
What is "reasonable" will depend on the circumstances of the case and the reasons the tax inspector has for doubting the business records. Therefore in some circumstances the tax inspector can request to see copies of personal bank statements for specific periods. However, its not automatic and they would need to justify their request.
Bank statements should be reviewed carefully before being provided to HMRC for any irregularities so that the investigation can be handled proactively. Copies should be made before being provided to HMRC and sent via a secure method.
We specialise in tax investigations and have to review bank statements on a regular basis. We charge £35 an hour to type them up into an Excel format acceptable to HMRC and to analyse into relevant categories. HMRC will often accept this analysis in lieu of the physical bank statements if a specialist firm has reviewed the original documentation.
Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP)
20th Oct 2016
HMRC normally ask taxpayers about physical cash eg in their home, in a safe, in their wallet during COP9 / CDF interviews. They always want to know the source of the funds and evidence that the correct tax has been paid eg income tax, VAT, capital gains tax. HMRC often associate cash with tax evasion or gambling winnings. Rebecca Busfield (Watt Busfield Tax Investigations LLP)