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9am Lowdown

9am Lowdown: HMRC penalties, tech & dateable profession

10th Feb 2017
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Good morning and welcome to Friday’s 9am Lowdown. Let’s see what’s in the news today.

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HMRC takes hard line on penalties

HMRC officers might bewrongly and unfairly” taking a harder line on penalties in attempt to raise revenues, speculates RSM.

Following a freedom of information request which showed a six-fold increase in ‘deliberate’ penalties over a four year period, RSM has questioned exactly why HMRC is so keen to increasingly claim that a taxpayer’s behaviour is ‘deliberate’.

RSM’s Mike Down said a claim of deliberate’ behaviour rather than careless behaviour will have a material impact on the level of extra tax due, not just on the penalty amount. He concluded: “It is right that those who deliberately understate their tax liabilities are subject to the full force of HMRC’s penalty regime. But we have real concerns that some HMRC officers might – in an attempt to raise revenue – be seeking to wrongly and unfairly deem behaviour to be ‘deliberate’ in cases where the taxpayer has made a genuine mistake.”

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SMEs want speed out of their accountant

The number one demand SMES want from their accountant is speed, and so accountants are improving their tech knowledge to satiate these clients, reports the SMEinsider.

A survey of 2,500 SMEs and accountants carried out by Exact found 67% of accountants are keeping up with the demand by utilising better admin software integration and 62% have replaced paper forms with online forms. Accountants’ willingness to embrace new technology has caused a 25% drop in spreadsheet accounting.

Gavin Fell, general manager of Exact, said: “Rising demand for information ‘now’ combined with advances in new technology mean that accounting is increasingly seen as a commodity. Accountants that can keep the pace providing real-time and in-depth business insight for clients, have the best chance.”

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Accountants set hearts racing

Accountants are far more ‘dateable’ than a personal trainer or cars salesperson, according to new research from Xero.

As reported in The Sun, Paul Bulpitt, Xero’s head of accounting, dismissed the “desk bound” and “nerdy” stereotype accountants are often tarnished with, saying “the reality couldn’t be further from this”.

Equally chuffed that accountants have climbed to fourth in the dateable professions list, accountant Richard Jenkins commented “I must admit when I tell girls I’m an accountant their attention tends to wander, but maybe now they’ll show a bit more interest…although I doubt it.”

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