SAOs must be the right fit

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The new Finance Act puts the onus on senior accounting officers to ensure tax accounts are accurately kept, but organisations should think carefully about who they select as their SAO, explains Gwen Souter.

The Finance Act 2009 obliges all UK incorporated companies with a turnover greater than £200m or gross assets exceeding £2bn (either alone or when aggregated with UK group companies) to appoint a senior accounting officer (SAO). This individual must take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure appropriate tax accounting arrangements are in place and certify to HMRC whether this was the case throughout each financial year.

Yet with such weighty responsibilities - not to mention the threat of a £5,000 personal fine for each lapse and possible reputational damage...

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