Tag Archives: Personal Tax

Autumn Statement 2012: The Facts

Yesterday the Chancellor, George Osborne, delivered his 2012 Autumn Statement to Parliament.

In the Statement, as well as discussing the economic outlook for the country, the Chancellor often announces proposed changes to our taxation system.

Because of this, the Autumn Statement and the Budget are particularly important days for those of us who work in tax. Announcements on the day can include, amongst other things, changes in rates and allowances, new types of relief, reliefs being removed and tax “loopholes” being closed.

On 5 December 2012 the Chancellor was fairly quiet on changes in tax (although more should be revealed when draft clauses for the Finance Bill are released next week). The speech focussed more on the economic state of the country and whether we were meeting our targets to reduce the deficit and national debt (this is what we would expect as most of the tax announcements would normally take place during the Budget speech in spring).

This year, some of the changes that were announced were measures to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, an further reduction in the main rate of corporation tax in Financial Year 2014 bringing it down to 21%, an increase in the personal allowance next year to 9,440 and a reduction in the pension annual allowance to 40,000. All of these are things which will affect our day-to-day roles as tax advisors.

Applicants for roles in Accountancy firms often say that the most challenging part of an interview to prepare for is the Commercial Awareness. If you’re applying for any role in an Accountancy firm but in particular if you’re applying for a role in tax then I would definitely suggest paying attention to the Autumn Statement or Budget. In fact, I remember that my interview for my internship at Grant Thornton took place only a few days after the Budget speech in 2009 and most of my Commercial Awareness responses were based around it! Even better, in the days following there will be a wealth of articles surrounding the subject on websites such as the BBC, the Financial Times and Accountancy Age and, of course, Grant Thornton’s own website.

With that in mind, I would recommend having a look at Grant Thornton’s response to this year’s Autumn Statement (complete with videos from some of our partners!):

http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/Services/Tax/Budget/

Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can read the full Autumn Statement document released by the Treasury here:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/as2012_documents.htm

Nick’s Diary – January 2012

With Christmas well and truly enjoyed, there wasn’t much time to continue with the lethargic and lazy lifestyle I had, yet again, developed over the festive period. January was the tax advisers experience of “jumping in the deep end” which was a sobering thought for someone who had kept warm on turkey and mulled wine for the previous fortnight.

The start of January was a great time for me to reflect, as I completed the first milestone of my anniversary with Grant Thornton. As the firm continues to bring in new and enthusiastic talent, I had the chance to meet Southampton’s new starters and welcome them to the firm. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year and meeting our new trainees reminded me of the excitement I had when I first joined – I’m pleased to say I look at year two with the same level of ambition and hunger.

A reflection on 2011 allowed me to dive into some good memories with the firm such as my first week at Bradenham, the numerous balls and parties arranged in conjunction with our office and my successes at work, including working on this award winning website. Of course, a rollercoaster doesn’t work without dips, and I won’t be drawing too much on the memories of my month long revision stint, but I guess if there’s no pain, there’s no gain.

That leads me onto a welcome event of January; the ATT results day. It seems all that hard work paid off and I was ecstatic to see that I’d kept a clean sheet and swooped up all exams in one go. On success of my exams, the congratulations literally couldn’t stop coming and I’m still overwhelmed by the thought of having a few more letters to my name.

The relentless drive of deadline-January had my celebrations waiting until the weekend. It was all hands on deck in the Personal Tax Compliance Unit where I was building up to the end of my secondment. It’s great to see yet more good results coming out of our efforts and I’ll certainly head back to Corporate Tax with a better understanding of tax, as well as a greater appreciation of the hard work our personal tax staff do during January. As ever, hard work is rewarded and an afternoon out with the team was a great way to say send off the month with a bang!

February seems like a month where I’ll get to relax a bit and start to build up reserves for what 2012 has to offer. That said, I get my revision texts for CTA half-way through the month so I guess there’s no rest for the wicked – just the way I like it.

Nick’s Diary – December 2011

As I moved into the second month of my Personal Tax secondment I began splitting my time in half between two departments. The variety helps to spice things up and December was a great month to pick out. I managed to get an invite to both the Personal Tax and Corporate Tax department Christmas lunches. To top it off, I and another 80 employees took to the Christmas party which was held over a three course meal and more wine than is necessary.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games, the end of the year is a hectic time for any company, and in terms of tax this is especially true for those with March or December year-ends. As a vast majority of my clients are March and December year ends and I was at full pace for the two weeks running up to Christmas, aiming to beat deadlines and avoid unnecessary penalties.

When 23 December came around, my final day in the office, the action of submitting the last tax return to HM Revenue & Customs was a feeling worth working for. We beat the rush.

Our office closes over the Christmas period which makes for a great chance to recover from the hectic rush. I’ve enjoyed being able to leave the laptop alone, catch up with friends and family as well as keep Mr Kipling in business. It’s been a good ten days.

I ready myself to go back to the office tomorrow morning for my final month in Personal Tax. The end of the month is yet another deadline and it’s all hands on deck to get through it. I feel refreshed and ready for the challenge, so bring it on!

January will also mark my first complete year at Grant Thornton and our office will be taking in another bunch of enthusiastic graduates and school leavers to Tax and Audit. It is farewell to 2011, a great year, but here is to 2012, a year which will hopefully be as memorable as the last.

Nick’s Diary – November 2011

As part of my training contract, I have the opportunity to sit the ATT and CTA exams. As November came round, seemingly all too quickly, I spent the first two days being examined on my knowledge of ATT and technical taxation. Whilst I never want to tempt fate, I think the exams went well, and I wait with anticipation until 17 January when the results will be posted online.

The five weeks I spent out of the office made for a fairly nasty shock to the system in terms of early mornings, but getting back to a full in-tray of work was great and I quickly got back into the swing of things. In addition, getting back to my colleagues and clients was a clear reminder as to why I put the revision hours in.

Before I left for my revision stint, I suggested to my manager that I’d like to spend some time in the office’s Personal Tax Compliance Unit (PTCU). I saw this as a good opportunity to get a wider experience and to be able to know what January is really like for the guys in this department (apparently it’s tough, watch this space).

So along came 17 November and I was seconded to the PTCU until 31 January 2012. Getting to the department and starting commencing my training reminded me of what it was like when I first started at Grant Thornton back in January. The learning curve is always steep and I was straight in the deep end of generating personal tax returns.

I’ve kept some of the more long term work I do in Corporate Tax so I’m not fully disappearing from the department, but on the plus side I’ve got invitations to more Christmas meals. Added to the Christmas Party, I’ve got three Grant Thornton meals to attend in December. Let the mince pie diet commence!