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Our focus is your success through combining the latest technology with traditional values.

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Don’t Miss Out on R&D Tax Relief

As part of the government’s ongoing commitment to make the United Kingdom a centre for knowledge advancement, there are attractive tax relief schemes available for Research and Development.

Whilst tax relief on R&D has been in existence since 2000, in the past, the process of making the claim was cumbersome and time-consuming.

The government has given clear instructions to HMRC to simplify and accelerate this process with the overwhelming majority of companies qualifying for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) R&D Relief.

Our Top Tip is to apply to HMRC for the R&D Advanced Assurance which, broadly speaking, guarantees that for the first three accounting periods, HMRC will allow a claim for R&D Relief without further enquiries. The process takes a couple of months to complete with HMRC but does give certainty.

R&D Relief would have the impact of reducing the Corporation Tax liability for your business if you are making a profit.

For start-up and early stage businesses making a loss, this R&D Relief can be converted into a Tax Credit payment which could provide vital working capital. As the model below shows, for every £100,000 spent on qualifying R&D activity, there is a potential Tax Credit payment of £33,350.

Total R&D Expenditure £100,000.00
R&D Multiplier 130% £130,000.00
R&D Tax Relief: Enhanced Expenditure £230,000.00
Tax Credit Rate 14.50%
Tax Credit £33,350.00


These rules apply for companies that qualify for the Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) R&D Relief. The qualification thresholds are:

Larger organisations can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) which is currently 11% of qualifying expenditure.

A point to note is that the SME scheme is not available if you have received subsidy or grant that is recognised as ‘state aid’ by the European Commission. In this case, RDEC would apply.

In determining that your R&D project qualifies for either of these schemes, you would need to be satisfied you could demonstrate that it involved a scientific or technological advance.

The key in this evaluation is the advance rather than the product or the process. It is not sufficient for the product is commercially innovative if there is no advance that was not readily available or deducible by a competent professional working in the field.

On the other hand, these schemes are not just for new products. Developing an existing product or process to resolve technological uncertainty or to make a substantive improvement could also qualify for R&D relief.

Moreover, the R&D project does not have to have been a success to qualify so long as it can be established that the goal was to achieve a scientific or technological advance.

We recommend keeping a Technical Journal throughout the cycle of the project to record the activities undertaken and the challenges encountered. The higher the level of the challenges, the easier to validate that there was uncertainty. Remember, the HMRC teams are tax officers not technologists so steer clear of jargon.

If you are content your R&D project qualifies, then you can claim tax relief on revenue expenditure in the areas outlined below:

Although capital expenditure is outside the scope of these R&D Relief schemes, there are other incentives available.

There are specific R&D capital allowances and mechanisms for claiming tax relief on R&D revenue expenditure that has been capitalised in your accounts.

For more general capital spend, the Annual Investment Allowance limit for plant and machinery expenditure is £200,000 per annum. This allowance enables qualifying capital costs to be fully expensed in the year of acquisition rather than being depreciated over time.

There is a cost in preparing and submitting an R&D Relief claim and a benefit of having expert advice but the fees should be proportionate.

The perceived scale of the challenge and the associated costs means that the HMRC have estimated that only a little over 10% of companies entitled to R&D Relief have made a claim. If you have not done so for prior years, all is not lost! You have up to two years after the end of the accounting period in which the R&D activity was undertaken to make a claim.

At CooperFaure, we have worked with many clients to ascertain whether their projects qualify for R&D Relief and, if so, to ensure that all the qualifying costs are being claimed. More importantly, we liaise directly with HMRC to secure the tax relief.

Our philosophy is to provide an affordable, personal service that starts with a conversation about your business and an honest appraisal as to whether you would qualify for R&D Relief.

If you would like to arrange an initial consultation that is free and without obligation to discuss your circumstances, please email us at tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

Budget 2017 Digest

No Change to the VAT Threshold and Support for First-Time Buyers but Major Changes to Tax Reliefs Under Venture Capital Schemes and a Possible Threat Ahead for Contractors in the Private Sector.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer used the Autumn Budget in the UK to unveil some significant tax changes.

However, for small businesses and many self-employed, the best news was that the government has listened to the vast number of representations, including those of CooperFaure, and have committed to maintain the VAT compulsory registration threshold at £85,000 for two years from April 2018 while a wider consultation is undertaking on the design and level of the threshold.

Among the key proposals in the Budget are:

There was welcome news on the doubling the annual allowance from 6th April 2018 for people investing in knowledge-intensive companies through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to £2m and the annual investment those companies can receive through EIS and the Venture Capital Trust schemes to £10m.

However, there is a commitment on introducing a new test to reduce the scope for investment in low-risk businesses through these schemes together with the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

This will be a principles-based test to determine if, at the time of the investment, a company is a genuine entrepreneurial company.

For the tax reliefs to apply on investments from 6th April 2018, the requirement will be both that a company has objectives to grow and develop and that there is significant risk of loss of capital.  In other words, where the amount of the loss could be greater than the net return to the investor.

The HMRC will cease to provide Advance Assurances on proposed investments that would appear to meet the new conditions from the date of the publication of draft guidance which is yet to be confirmed.

For contractors, there may be troubled time ahead.  Despite the HMRC’s constant reassurance that this would not be the case, the Budget Report states, “The government reformed the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35) for engagements in the public sector in April 2017. Early indications are that public-sector compliance is increasing as a result, and therefore a possible next step would be to extend the reforms to the private sector, to ensure individuals who effectively work as employees are taxed as employees even if they choose to structure their work through a company.” The government has committed to a full consultation in 2018 on this.

Over the weekend, we will be publishing a detailed review of the Budget together with our 2017-18 UK Tax Guide.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss how the Budget or the new measures that come into effect from April 2018 will affect you, please email us at tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.


Budget 2017 – What May Be In Store For The Entrepreneur and Investor

The 2017 UK Budget will be delivered to parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday this week and, in advance of this, the press has been awash with speculation of what may be included.

Whilst much of this is driven by special interest groups, a good measure is ‘kite-flying’ by the government to gauge the public reaction to mooted proposals. It is clear that the public finances are in a perilous state. Rather than overtly increasing tax levels, there seems to be more appetite to reduce tax thresholds or reliefs to bridge the gap, with entrepreneurs and investors potentially paying the price.

As ever, CooperFaure will be streaming a live Twitter feed whilst the Budget is being delivered followed by a digest newsletter on Wednesday evening and a detailed review on Thursday morning.

In particular, we will be watching and reporting as to whether any of the following three measures are introduced:

A Reduction to the VAT Registration Threshold

The current annual turnover threshold where a business has to register for VAT is £85,000. The Office for Tax Simplification undertook a review earlier in the year which outlined that this level was one of the highest in the world and a potential deterrent to business growth. It suggested that by reducing the threshold to the European Union average of £26,000 it would add around 2bn to the current annual VAT raise of £120bn.

However, no account seems to have been taken on the practical impact on the small business or the self-employed person that would be corralled into VAT for the first time.

For those whose customers are individuals and, therefore, unable to reclaim the VAT, it would mean either a 20% price increase or the business absorbing the VAT into their current prices. Not to mention that VAT is a complicated system that, in many cases, would create an additional cost for the professional support to ensure that the VAT return submissions are correct.

The likely reality is that cutting the VAT threshold would actually result in many small businesses ceasing to trade.

A Change to the Enterprise Investment Scheme Rules

Another review this year, this time carried out by HMRC, was into Patient Capital, the mechanisms that allow individual investors to claim tax relief on their investments into UK incorporated businesses.

Under particular scrutiny was the Enterprise Investment Scheme that allows the individual investor to claim 30% of their investment in a qualifying company as an Income Tax relief. The view taken was that the scheme was focused more on the tax incentives for the wealthy rather than the investment.

As a result, three options have been floated:

Although HMRC figures show that £1.9bn was invested under Enterprise Investment Schemes in the 2016-17 tax year, no account seems to have been taken on the impact on both early stage and developing businesses if the rules are changed which are potentially catastrophic.

These schemes are a vital lifeblood and, if investors are not incentivised to take a risk with their money, as there are no clear alternative sources of funding many businesses will stall or fail.

Changes to the Taxation of Dividends

In the spring Budget earlier in the year, the Chancellor announced that the annual tax-free Dividend Allowance would be cut from £5,000 to £2,000 with effect from the 2018-19 tax year.

The snap General Election resulted in this measure being dropped from the trimmed Finance Act.

However, the expectation is that, at the very least, this will be re-introduced with further speculation that the Dividend Allowance may be abolished completely or the tax rates on Dividends increased.

At the moment the tax rate on Dividends for a basic rate tax-payer is 7.5% compared to 20.0% Income Tax. For a higher rate tax-payer, the rates are 32.5% and 40.0% respectively and, for an additional rate tax-payer, 38.1% and 45.0%.

Closing the gap between the tax level on dividends and on other income is seen as an easy win for the Treasury.

However, remunerating business owners and investors through dividends based on the success of the business is a key financial strategy that encourages growth by reducing the burden on operating costs.

At a time of great economic uncertainty, it is counter-intuitive to make the landscape less attractive either to establish a business or to encourage a business to thrive and prosper. All three of these measures are fraught with risks that appear not to have been factored into the stark mathematical calculations.

As has been seen countless times, the effect of tax changes can diverge spectacularly from the anticipated result. For example, when the Off-Payroll Working Through An Intermediary, commonly known as IR35, was introduced in April 2000, the expectation was that there would be an additional Income Tax and National Insurance raise of £300m a year. In reality, a Freedom of Information response exposed that only £9.2m had been raised in total between the 2002-03 and 2007-08 tax years.

As was seen with proposed change to the National Insurance rates for the self-employed in the last Budget, a backlash of public opinion can cause a hasty reversal of policy. If any or all of these measures are introduced in the Budget, we encourage everyone to make their voice heard.

How to prepare for GDPR

Jon Cooper, Director of CooperFaure Accountants covers the following:

Click here to read the article.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

The Essential Areas you must Consider to Take your Business to the Next Level

John Warchus, partner in Moore Blatch’s Corporate group in Richmond, specialising in commercial and technology law has shared his knowledge and experience in the following fields:

Company Structure 

Shareholder Agreements 

Running the Business


Jon Cooper, Director of CooperFaure Accountants has outlined the following topics:

Business Plan 



R&D Tax Credits


Is your Company Structure Optimal?

Incorporating a Limited liability company is normally the most suitable vehicle for your business. You need to consider the business name and carry out basic due diligence to ensure the name will not infringe existing rights.

Once the company has been set up you need to distinguish directors and shareholders as companies are owned by their shareholders, but managed by their directors.

Have you got a Shareholder Agreement in place?

Do not overlook Shareholder Agreements as they govern the relationship between the shareholders (owners of the company).

They are put in place to take care of the following:

Running the Business

NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) are essential to be put in place between your company and your clients to protect pure ideas/business concepts. In particular, if commercially sensitive information being disclosed to a third party.

Are you using the correct Contract Structure?

Remember to use Heads of Terms wherever possible and the key terms in any commercial contract will be: precise obligations, price payable, any timescales, limiting liability if things go wrong.

Employment law issues must be considered in particular remember that employment law applies even before you have taken someone one – e.g. claims for discrimination in the recruitment process. Following the correct procedure is as important as the decision taken.

Employment contracts are not a case of “one size fits all” – e.g. in relation to restrictive covenants, they must be reasonable to be enforceable, so the covenant for a receptionist will need to be very different from that of an FD/sales director.

Remember that you need an IP policy that matches IP protection/exploitation with your business and its strategic aims, not the other way around.

Expanding your business may be dependent upon a mix of agency and/or distribution type agreements. The key terms within the agreements shall include the payment provisions, any targets for the agent/distributor and whether the third parties are appointed to work on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis for the business.

How to compose your Business Plan

A clear and comprehensive Business Plan is the vital component in raising finance from any source and there are four key elements:

1. An Investment Teaser of two or three pages that highlights the opportunity, the market and the solution at a high level, together with your proposal for the funding and a roadmap to a return for your investors.
2. A detailed three-year Financial Plan which can be presented at a summary level but can drilled down to the detail.
3. An Investment Deck that goes into more detail about you, your team and your solution, the competitors in your space and your competitive advantage.
4. A professional website that will serve to give potential investors confidence that you are a serious business, a further understanding and a gateway to their due diligence.

Whilst by their nature, the Investment Teaser and the website are in the public domain, we would strongly recommend that you insist on a confidentiality agreement before sharing the Financial Plan and Investment Deck.

The Funding that is Available

There are individuals and organisations that are looking to invest in business like yours.  The Investment Teaser is your chance to gain their attention, so it pays to make it clear, concise and attractive.

To make your overall proposal stand out, our five main points are:

  1. Demonstrate your investment and commitment to the venture;
  2. Ask for a specific amount to reach a defined milestone;
  3. Investors prefer a revenue model that has an element of recurring revenue;
  4. Presenting an idea that is innovative and scalable has an immediate cache;
  5. Assuming your investors are in the UK, make sure you are SEIS/EIS ready.
Ultimately, it comes down to a tight Business Plan and a pitch that reflects the personalities of the founders.


The UK offers some unrivalled tax breaks to individuals that invest in early stage businesses.
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme could allow your business to raise up to £150,000 and give your investors:

Even if your business is either too mature or has already secured funding under SEIS, EIS offers the same tax breaks except the Income Tax relief is 30% rather than 50%.


Both the UK government and the EU are supporting innovation by making grants through Innovate UK and Horizon 2020 respectively.

Under Innovate UK, as well as sector specific investments, there is an open programme for applications from any technology, sector or size of business.

Projects may last between 6 and 36 months and the total eligible project costs should range from £25,000 to £1 million depending on the type of R&D to be undertaken.

Under Horizon 2020, the EU can provide Phase 1 early stage funding of €50 000 and carry out a feasibility study.  To apply, the business needs to submit an initial business proposal of around ten pages.
Horizon 2020 also offers Phase 2 funding to cover the period between proof of concept and market maturity with grants ranging between €0.5 million and €2.5 million.  An application needs to be supported by a more detailed business plan.

R&D Tax Credits

If your business is investing time and money into R&D, the UK government provides some generous tax reliefs.
Although the process to claim the R&D relief may look daunting, do not be deterred.  There is no minimum amount that you need to have spent to qualify and, according to official statistics, the average relief is £46,000.
If your business has not generated a profit, the tax relief can be claimed as a cash payment to boost cashflow.

If you would like a Business Review call where we will identify which areas you need to focus on and what the next steps are please email us directly at welcome@cooperfaure.co.uk and we will reply to arrange a time. 

How GDPR will Benefit Small & Medium Sized Companies in the Long Term

Jon Cooper, Director of CooperFaure Accountants and Company Secretary at SteelEye, a compliance tech and data analytic firm, discusses how businesses can begin preparations for GDPR’s impending deadline and the benefits they may see as a result.

Click here to read the article.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

Webinar Presentation – The Fundraising For Start Ups

Watch our ninety minute webinar on Fundraising for Start Ups here and you can download the presentation.

In addition, you can register here for our next webinar on the Next Level Funding for an Early Stage Business which will be on Tuesday 15th August at 7:30pm.

Advanced Subscription Agreements – The New Alternative Funding Mechanism?

A traditional route for companies to raise investment in the start-up and early stage has been to offer investors shares in the business in return for their funding.

In the United Kingdom, this can usually be underpinned by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which offer the investor some hugely attractive tax breaks.

The downside of this approach is that, by offering a number of shares for the investment, the company is explicitly attributing a value to the business.

Whilst friends and family are likely to base their judgement on the people, proposition and plan, for private investors this business valuation is pivotal.

However, for start-ups and early stage businesses, quantifying this value is notoriously subjective. For instance, you have a great idea and have developed a prototype. You have worked out that you need £1m of investment to get to market and are prepared to offer a 25% equity stake in return. In essence, you have given your business at pre-money value of £4m even though you have not generated any revenue.

Until recently, the common alternative has been the use of Convertible Loan Notes. Here the investment is initially in the form of debt with the option to convert into to shares or for the loan to be repaid. The conversion is usually triggered by a future event such as the next funding round or an exit and the conversion price determined at that point. For example, the price per share at the next funding round discounted by 20%.

The beauty of Convertible Loan Notes is that this postpones the contentious issue of valuation plus it gives the investor some protection as the debt ranks above the shareholders in the event of an insolvency.

The problem is Convertible Loan Notes do not allow the investor to claim the tax reliefs under SEIS or EIS.

An Advance Subscription Agreement is a funding mechanism aimed to resolve this. In essence, the funds provided to the company at the date of the agreement convert to shares upon a future event.

However, the investment is not a loan with the right of repayment. Neither is there the right to earn interest. Essentially, it is a prepayment for share capital that must convert at some point. Should there be no next funding round nor exit, this would be on a defined date or on insolvency.

As the investment no longer has the downside protection of a convertible loan, if structured correctly, it could become eligible for SEIS or EIS relief.

An Advanced Subscription Agreement usually is underpinned with the following clauses:

The combination of the SEIS and/or EIS tax reliefs and safeguards plus a defined future share price is an extremely attractive option for the investor.

However, the structure of the Advanced Subscription Agreement is critical to ensure SEIS and EIS eligibility and HMRC look at this on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if the terms stipulate a conversion to anything other than Ordinary shares, the investment would automatically be outside the scope.

At CooperFaure, we have vast experience of helping business start-ups to secure funding and, in particular, benefit from government schemes. So far this year, we have supported clients in raising over £3m in investment finance through numerous channels.

If you would like an initial call or meeting to discuss your circumstances, please email us at startup@cooperfaure.co.uk to arrange a time.  It is absolutely free and there is no obligation.

BREAKING NEWS – The Treasury Announce a Delay and Reboot of Making Tax Digital

To read the latest regarding MTD, as of October 2021, read our blog post here.

Following intense lobbying from the Treasury Committees, business, software developers and the accountancy profession, including CooperFaure, the government have announced a delay and a reboot of Making Tax Digital.

In the Budget before the election, the intention was for it to be mandatory all businesses to report quarterly and keep records digitally starting in April 2018 with the self-employed and landlords with a revenue over the VAT threshold, currently £85,000.

Now the government has announced that:

Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury responsible for Making Tax Digital stated “Businesses agree that digitising the tax system is the right direction of travel. However, many have been worried about the scope and pace of reforms. We have listened very carefully to their concerns and are making changes so that we can bring the tax system into the digital age in a way that is right for all businesses.”

This deferral will allow much-needed additional time for software development and systems testing. CooperFaure is part of the HMRC pilot programme for this and will be keeping our clients updated in the run up to April 2019.

Making Tax Digital will be offered on a voluntary basis for the small businesses and landlords with a turnover below the VAT threshold but there is a clear pledge that this will not become mandatory until ‘at least’ 2020.

The Treasury also confirmed that a Finance Bill will be introduced as soon as possible after the summer recess to legislate for the policies that were dropped from the Finance Act before the sudden General Election in June.

As part of this, policies originally announced to start from April 2017 will be effective from that date such as the changes to non-domicile rules and loss relief reform.

If you have any questions or concerns over either Making Tax Digital or the measures in the Finance Bill, please email us at tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

Who Needs to Complete a UK Tax Return?

In the UK, we are in the fortunate position where most people earning a PAYE salary or wage or receiving a pension do not need to complete a tax return.

However, each year, as working and lifestyle patterns change, the number of tax returns increases.  More than 11,500,000 were filed for the 2015-16 tax year.

For the 2016-17 that ran from 6th April 2016 to 5th April 2017 tax year, if any of the following apply to you, a tax return is required:

In some circumstances, you would need to submit a tax return to claim a tax rebate from HMRC.  For instance, on:

If you have not completed a tax return before, for all except sole traders and partnerships, register online with HMRC at: https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortforms/form/SA1

For a new sole trader, register with HMRC at: https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/registration/newbusiness

For a new partner, register with HMRC at:


If you are the ‘nominated partner’, you need to register both yourself and the business partnership at:


HMRC target to post your Unique Taxpayer Reference that enables you submit a tax return within two weeks of registration.

With this you can either prepare and file a paper tax return before the deadline of 31st October 2017, enrol for the HMRC online service that grants a longer deadline of 31st January 2018 or appoint a tax advisor to act as your Agent.

To appoint CooperFaure, we would need is your Unique Tax Reference, National Insurance Number and Post Code to act on your behalf.

If you would like to arrange an initial free consultation to discuss your tax affairs or would like any further information, please email us at tax@cooperfaure.co.uk

Ever Wondered Why the Tax Year in the UK Starts on 6th April?

Have you ever wondered why the tax year in the United Kingdom runs from 6th April to 5th April?  The reason is steeped in history.

Prior to 1752, the New Year’s Day in Britain used to be in on 25th March, the Spring Quarter day, and the tax year started on the same day.

Back in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII had reformed the calendar from the Julian predecessor to the new Gregorian calendar.  To improve accuracy, the length of a year was slightly reduced.

Britain was slow to adopt this change – by 1752 their calendar was eleven days out of sync from the rest of Europe.

To correct this, Wednesday 2nd September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14th September 1752, a change that literally led to riots on the streets due to the lack of compensation for the loss of income from the short working month.

The Treasury, mindful of this public fury, moved the start of the next tax year back by eleven days to 5th April 1753 so that the populous was not paying a full year of tax for only 354 days.

Although, as part of the change to the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day was moved to 1st January, the quarter days still are used in the determining when agricultural and commercial rents are payable.

The adjustment in the Gregorian calendar to slightly reduce the effective length of each year was to stop the century years from being a leap year, as they were under the Julian calendar.  As a result, 1800 was a day shorter than it would have been.  To reflect this, the Treasury moved the start of the tax year back by a day to 6th April 1800 and it has continued to be 6th April ever since!

BREAKING NEWS – Making Tax Digital Legislation Dropped from the Finance Bill

One impact of the government’s decision to call an early General Election in June is that large swathes of the proposed legislation in the Budget has been dropped from the Finance Bill to enable the core measures to be passed yesterday. This included the provisions for Making Tax Digital.

Whilst many of the dropped measures, such as the reduction in the Dividend Allowance, are likely to be reinstated after the General Election, the future of Making Tax Digital is less certain.

Treasury Minister, Jane Ellison, stated that the decision to drop Making Tax Digital was made “in light of the pressures on time”.

As there are only a matter of weeks between the General Election and the summer recess and with the government committed to allow the time for a proper consideration of the measure, it seems inconceivable that the Making Tax Digital legislation could return before the Autumn Budget at the earliest.

However, the publication of the letter from Robert Chote, Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, to the Rt Hon Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, that stated the OBR had given HMRC revenue estimates “a ‘high’ uncertainty ranking”, casts doubt on the future of the project as a whole.

At CooperFaure, we will be monitoring the situation to keep our clients informed. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please email us at tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

If you would like to read Robert Chote’s letter in full, please click here.



Are Your Prepared For The New Data Protection Regime?

In May 2016, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved by the European Union to come into effect from 25th May 2018.

As a Regulation, it is directly applicable across all EU Member States without the need for national legislation and will replace all current data protection legislation. For the United Kingdom, GDPR will replace the 1998 Data Protection Act.

Despite Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty finally being invoked in March, there is no doubt that the UK will still be a Member State of the EU on 25th May 2018 so this will happen and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is proceeding on this basis.

Indeed, although all EU Regulations would void on the date the UK leaves the EU, the early indications are the government would legislate to preserve much or all of GDPR.

In any event the territorial reach aspect of GDPR specifies that a company outside the EU which is “monitoring the behaviour of, or offering goods and services to, citizens in the EU” will be subject to the rules. As a result, many UK businesses and group will still be affected after Brexit whatever the UK government does.

GDPR has six defining principles:

GDPR has greatly broadened the rights of the data subject including the ‘right to be forgotten’ and to receive back their personal data in a structured and standard format so that it can easily be transferred, so called ‘data portability’.

For children under sixteen, GDPR states that the provision of personal data ‘information society services’ such as social networking sites will be subject to parental consent.

It is absolutely clear that this new regime will place much greater demands on businesses holding personal data to evidence compliance.

The concept of ‘data protection by design’ obliges the inclusion of explicit data protection controls at the blueprint stage of new projects involving the processing of personal data. Should the project be deemed potentially high risk under the ICO guidelines, a data protection impact assessment would be mandatory.

Internal records must be maintained for all personal data processed including the details of the purpose, the recipients, the time line for deletion and an overview of the technical and organisational measures in place to protect the data.

However, the most dramatic change is in the area of security breaches and the ensuing penalties. Under the Data Protection Act, there is no requirement to inform the ICO of a breach although there is an expectation for the ICO to be informed of “serious” breaches.

GDPR requires that, as soon as a company becomes aware a personal data breach has occurred, it should without delay and, ideally within seventy-two hours, notify the the ICO, unless the company can clearly demonstrate that the breach is unlikely to jeopardize the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.

If there is a high likelihood an individual’s rights and freedoms have been infringed by the breach, they must be notified promptly to allow them to take the requisite precautions and given guidance on the measures to take to mitigate potential detrimental effects.

Under the Data Protection Act, the ICO can issue penalties of up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches. GDPR will instigate a tiered mechanism for penalties that for the most severe breaches will be the higher of 4% annual worldwide turnover or €20m and for lesser breaches be up to 2% annual worldwide turnover or €10m.

As is frequently the case, although we are nearly halfway through the time until GDPR comes into force, many, probably most, companies have not started making preparations. Make no mistake, every company that holds personal data will to a greater or lesser extent be impacted.

Whether it is the transparency of your privacy notices and policies, reviewing the legal basis for using personal data, implementing in-house procedures or staff training to meet the requirements of GDPR, there is much to be done.

Data security needs to be at the heart. Systems that hold personal data must be reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose and secure from both internal and external breaches. We are in the age of two-step verification which should be the default minimum.

If a breach does occur, it is essential that the procedures are in place and understood to allow timely action.

The ICO have published a guide ‘GDPR: 12 Steps To Take Now’ that can be downloaded here.  If you have any questions or would like any further information on how GDPR will affect your business, please email tax@cooperfaure.co.uk.

2017-18 UK Tax Guide

Today marks the beginning of the new 2017-18 tax year in the United Kingdom with some significant changes coming into effect. For our free, downloadable 2017-18 Tax Guide please click here.

2017 Spring Budget – Key Announcements

The Chancellor of the Exchequer used the final Spring Budget in the UK to unveil some significant tax changes.

However, for the self-employed and landlords with an income under the VAT threshold, the best news was that the government has listened to the many representations, including those of CooperFaure, and deferred the introduction of Making Tax Digital by a year to April 2019.

Under Making Tax Digital, businesses will be required to use digital software to keep their tax records and to update HMRC on a quarterly basis.

Five of the key tax changes are:

For savers, the interest rate for the NS&I Investment Bond was confirmed at 2.2%. From April 2017, up to £3,000 can be invested in the bond over three years.

There was one small piece of good news for property investors. In light of consultations, the government is going to delay the reduction in the timeframe for the filing and payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax until the 2018-19 tax year.

However, deep in the Spring Budget document, the government is going to consult on the redesign of Rent-a-Room relief to ensure that it is targeted to support longer-term lettings. The insinuation being that it will no longer apply to Airbnb-type rentals.

To encourage innovation, there was a commitment to simplify the administrative burden of the R&D Tax Credit regime to increase certainty as well as improving the awareness of R&D Tax Credits in the SME community.

Over the weekend, we will be publishing a detailed review of the Budget together with our 2016-17 UK Tax Guide.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss how the Budget or the new measures that come into effect from April 2017 will affect you, please email us at welcome@cooperfaure.co.uk.