Charities against fraud: new web site launch

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsCharities against fraud: new web site launch

The Charity Commission, in collaboration with members of the Charity Sector Counter Fraud Group, has today launched www.charitiesagainstfraud.org.uk, a new website dedicated to helping charities in the fight against fraud. It provides an initial point of reference for trustees, staff and volunteers who want to find out more about tackling fraud in their charity, and includes guidance, top tips, case studies, as well as signposting users to other organisations tackling charity fraud.

The launch of the new website marks the start of Charity Fraud Awareness Week (24-28 October). According to the National Crime Agency, ‘individuals, the private sector and the charity sector lose billions of pounds each year to fraud’. The campaign – led by the Commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel – will be reminding charities how to limit their fraud risk. It aims to ensure that trustees and charity staff can recognise the warning signs of fraud and shape an effective and proportionate response.

Top tips to reduce your charity’s vulnerability to fraud include:

1.    Develop a strong counter fraud culture where staff are encouraged to play their part in the fight against fraud.

2.    Have in place and robustly apply internal financial controls.

3.    Encourage staff to voice concerns.

4.    Have a fraud response plan so that everyone knows what to do and when – stay calm but act quickly when incidents do occur.

5.    Ensure you report incidents to Action Fraud and to the Commission, via the dedicated reporting facility: RSI@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk.

David Kirk, Chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel, commented:
Fraud presents a serious threat to every organisation but unfortunately charities can be particularly vulnerable due to the high number of financial transactions they undertake. Fraud can manifest itself in many different forms and is constantly evolving – which is why we are urging everyone working with charities and not-for-profit organisations to join together and stop fraud against charities. Charity staff and trustees must stay alert to the risks and understand how to manage them.

Diana Isiye, Head of Counter Fraud at Oxfam GB said:
We know that charities can fall victim to fraud. Working together to encourage trustees and staff to start a conversation about fraud and share their experiences is a crucial way to ensure the sector is better equipped to meet the growing challenge posed by fraud.

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission added:
Fraud can thrive in an environment of weak governance and poor financial management, so we are reminding charity staff and trustees, as part of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, to seek out the good practice guidance that is widely available and to review their charity’s financial controls and procedures. We’re keen to work closely with charities to improve their fraud resilience and hope that the new site will enable charities to access and learn from the best practice that’s already out there.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week will conclude with the second National Charity Fraud Conference in London on 28 October, which will include panel discussions and presentations from Michelle Russell and Commission board member, Mike Ashley. Two regional events will follow in December and January for those not able to attend Friday’s conference. The Fraud Advisory Panel and the Commission will also be producing a conference report, summarising issues and conclusions and reminding trustees to maintain a counter-fraud focus.

If you’d like to get involved and help spread the word, a supporter’s pack is available and you can follow #CharityFraud on Twitter for live updates.

R & D Tax Relief explained

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsResearch & Development Tax Relief – Encouraging Innovation through the Tax System

For over sixteen years companies have been able to derive significant cash benefits from the Government’s Research & Development (“R&D”) tax regime.

Below leading R&D Tax Specialist, Paul Arnold (Tax Partner at Bevan & Buckland), answers many of the key initial questions companies frequently ask regarding this regime:

1.            What is the R&D tax regime all about?

The R&D tax regime provides companies with actual cash benefits which are directly linked to the level of qualifying expenditure incurred.

For example, SMEs may now derive an additional cash benefit equivalent to £26k per £100k of spend; or if they are loss making they may receive an actual cash receipt from HMRC of up to £33.35k per £100k of spend.

The cash benefit for companies claiming under the large company scheme is £8.8k in both scenarios i.e. since April 2013 companies without a corporation tax liability may now receive actual cash from the Government.

Companies have two years from the end of their accounting period to make, or amend, an R&D claim so there is often scope for companies to derive significant immediate cash benefits.

2.            How is R&D defined?

For this purpose we need to consider the tax definition, which is often more far reaching than many people perceive.

R&D can generally be thought of as work undertaken to develop new, or improved, products or processes.  For example, developing an automated process, or one that is quicker, more efficient or creates less waste etc. may potentially qualify.

3.            What expenditure qualifies for this enhanced relief?

There are a range of qualifying categories of expense, including staffing costs, contracted out activities, EPWs (for instance, agency workers), consumables, computer software, utilities and payments to the subjects of clinical trials.

However, knowing that staffing costs qualify is the easy part.  The complexity in preparing a claim involves, for example, identifying all employees involved within the R&D process and establishing the correct proportion of time they were engaged in qualifying activities.

4.            What do you view to be the most important aspects in preparing an R&D claim?

Firstly, to ensure the claim is maximised.  Preparing a standard R&D claim is far from complicated but unless a company takes proper, experienced advice they risk losing out on cash benefits to which they are entitled.  The real added value lies in identifying all R&D projects undertaken (including work on processes), all qualifying activities, all employees involved and all other qualifying expenditure incurred.

Secondly, the documentation submitted to HMRC in support of a claim is vital.    This helps HMRC to determine whether a company’s activities qualify and therefore a company needs to ensure that the R&D Report contains the required information.

Finally, as part of my consultations with a company, I believe it is important to develop an internal process to assist with future claims and to minimise the input required from their personnel.

Should you wish to speak to Paul he is contactable on paul.arnold@bevanbuckland.co.uk or 01792 41010 / 075575 03140.

http://www.bevanbuckland.co.uk/services/tax/r-d-tax-relief

 

Job vacancy – Trainee Tax Consultant

Bevan & Buckland Accountants logoTrainee Tax Consultant

Bevan & Buckland are now recruiting for a graduate trainee tax consultant to work in the Swansea office.

The position includes a competitive salary and a comprehensive study package for ATT and subsequently CTA.

Bevan & Buckland have been established for over 100 years and have 6 partners and over 70 staff across South West Wales.  The firm has a wide range of clients ranging from personal clients to large companies and offers a wide range of services.

The role will give you training and experience in taxation and business advice. You will work on a varied portfolio of clients’ files whilst enjoying mentorship from our experienced tax team.

Typical entry requirements are minimum 2:1 at University degree level. It is not essential that you have previously studied accountancy as we offer full training. It is, however, essential that you display an analytical mind set and the ability to problem solve and communicate efficiently.

The position is a full time 6 months temporary contract, potentially leading to a full training contract being offered.

It is preferable applicants are able to drive and have their own car.

Candidates who are successful in making the first interview stage will be informed by email before 11th July 2016.

Closing date – 8 July 2016

Please email your CV to Lee Bradley – lee@bevanbuckland.co.uk

Lee Bradley
Tax Director
01792 410119

email: lee@bevanbuckland.co.uk

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Swansea Tel: 01792 410100

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Haverfordwest Tel: 01437 760666

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Pembroke Tel: 01646 682383

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Carmarthen Tel: 01267 233115

Bevan & Buckland Accountants St David’s Tel: 01437 720352

Chartered Accountants, tax and financial planners Langdon House, Langdon Road, Swansea, SAl 8QY 01792410100 tax@bevanbuckland.co.uk

2016 South Wales Charity Conference

Bevan & Buckland Accountants logo2016 South Wales Charity Conference

SCVS, Neath Port Talbot CVS & CAVS would like to invite you to the 2016 South Wales Charity Conference being held on the 10 June 2016 at the new Wales Air Ambulance site in Dafen, Llanelli. The theme for this year’s conference is cybercrime and fraud. charity-conference

Our guest speaker is Kevin Weekes from Zen Solutions and there will be several workshops hosted by Bevan & Buckland, JCP Solicitors and MGB PR.

Refreshments and lunch are provided.

Please see the attached brochure for full details of the day and booking instructions.

For booking queries, please contact Christina Coates on 01792 529630 or by email christina.coates@jcpsolicitors.co.uk

For the full event details: Please read this PDF document

We look forward to seeing you on the 10 June 2016.

Event location
Wales Air Ambulance

Ty Elusen
Llanelli Gate
Dafen
SA14 8LQ

jcp-and-bb

Calling all Landlords

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsSettle your taxes before HMRC finds out you are letting residential property.

There are big advantages to making a voluntary disclosure using HMRC’s Let Property Campaign before HMRC enquire. These include:

Lower penalties

Reduced risk of criminal proceedings

•             HMRC has recovered over £50 million in additional tax as a result of a crackdown on landlords who have undeclared or under-declared rental income.

•             Since the Let Property Campaign began over 40,000 landlords who failed to come forward voluntarily have been sent “prompted disclosure” letters, resulting in increased penalties.

Landlord pictureHMRC have developed a powerful computer system which makes it very easy for them to identify people who may not have paid what they owe. They have access to:

·         The Land Registry

·         The Electoral Roll

·         Landlord Deposit Scheme Records

 

So HMRC may already know about your property income – tell them before they come knocking.

If you want to minimise penalties and reduce the risk of criminal proceedings, get in touch with your local tax team at Bevan & Buckland. With our experience in preparing successful disclosures we will talk you through the process at a free initial meeting.

Lee Bradley
Tax Director
01792 410119

email: lee@bevanbuckland.co.uk

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Swansea Tel: 01792 410100

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Haverfordwest Tel: 01437 760666

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Pembroke Tel: 01646 682383

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Carmarthen Tel: 01267 233115

Bevan & Buckland Accountants St David’s Tel: 01437 720352

Chartered Accountants, tax and financial planners Langdon House, Langdon Road, Swansea, SAl 8QY 01792410100 tax@bevanbuckland.co.uk

New Digital Tax Regulations

Bevan & Buckland Accountants logoWELSH ACCOUNTANTS READY TO ASSIST SMALL BUSINESSES OVER NEW DIGITAL TAX REGULATIONS

Leading Welsh accountancy firm Bevan & Buckland is warning of new legislation which will transform the way companies submit their tax returns.

By 2020 businesses will be required to move from annual to quarterly online tax reporting.

“This is going to be a culture shock and something of a sea change in the way companies operate their tax accounting,” said Bevan & Buckland’s Tax Director Lee Bradley.

“But we at Bevan & Buckland are there to help firms negotiate their way around the changes before they happen so they are fully versed with the incoming system.”

Added Lee: “There are fears out there especially with regards small business that because of the new digital system it will lead to previously compliant individuals becoming non-compliant.”

The Low Incomes Tax Group (LITRG) has already flagged up its concerns that smaller businesses run by non-digital literate owners or those who do not keep up to date with their tax records may face sanctions from HMRC due to not meeting the new quarterly requirements.

The most at risk from failing the new system include older and disabled people, and those living in remote areas.

There are so many concerns that Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the Treasury seeking assurance that businesses will not be compelled to pay tax any earlier than they do now, and that adequate arrangements will be made for businesses that do not use computers.

The proposals require businesses and individual taxpayers to move from annual to quarterly online tax reporting by 2020. The proposals will also include plans for all taxpayers to be using digital accounts, with HMRC information automatically upload.

Anthony Thomas, LITRG chairman, said: “It is very harsh that small businesses with the lowest profit margins may be required to undertake significant investment and training in computer technology simply in order to comply with HMRC’s reporting requirements, and for no other purpose.”

John Allan, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “The UK’s self-employed will particularly struggle with this change. We therefore want to see proper consultation with business groups and professional bodies, a clear statement of benefits to the business community and a package of support to help offset this new burden on business.”

For further information about how Bevan and Buckland can help your company with tax issues contact Lee Bradley on 01792 410100 or by email at help@bevanbuckland.co.uk.

 

Lee Bradley
Tax Director
01792 410119

email: lee@bevanbuckland.co.uk

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Swansea Tel: 01792 410100

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Haverfordwest Tel: 01437 760666

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Pembroke Tel: 01646 682383

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Carmarthen Tel: 01267 233115

Bevan & Buckland Accountants St David’s Tel: 01437 720352

 

Trustees must engage with finance guidance

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsPress release: Trustees must engage with finance guidance, says charity regulator

Charity trustees must engage with and use finance guidance from the regulator if they are to run their charities effectively, the Charity Commission tells charity trustees.

The commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has updated key finance guidance to show clearly that trustees are ultimately responsible for their charities’ finances, and respond to the need to make sure its guidance reflects the most current challenges facing thousands of charities.

Many charities face a daily challenge of making ends meet, balancing reduced income with potential increased demands or costs. Some inevitably end up becoming insolvent and need to wind up. With around 600 new charities being registered every month, competition for funding is very strong.

This climate makes the commission’s finance guidance essential reading. It covers the importance of having a good reserves policy and how trustees can manage their charities in charities in challenging circumstances. It says clearly what trustees must do, that they must understand the legal requirements, and know what they should do in terms of good practice.

The commission has also updated its popular ‘15 questions trustees should ask’ guide for trustee meetings to better reflect the current social and economic climate.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission said:

We recognise that charities operate in a very challenging environment, with some charities heavily reliant on single sources of funding. So it is all the more important that trustees are in control of their charity’s finances. This means actively taking steps to manage their charity’s finances through regular monitoring, asking the right questions and getting professional help where needed. Donors and beneficiaries rightly ask questions about issues such as reserves, and want to understand why charities do or don’t have them. Reserves policies help tell that story clearly and demonstrate that trustees are aware of the real risks.

These guidance updates are designed to help trustees make the right call and support them, not to overburden them. That’s why there are also guides on how to set a good reserves policy for small and large charities. As regulator there is a limit on how much we can do as these are individual decisions for trustees to make. But these tools will help them manage any difficulties properly and with confidence.

The 3 sets of updated guidance are:

Managing financial difficulties

The commission recommends in its updated guidance that trustees review the charity’s financial position and its performance against budgets and future projections at least once a month, but the extent of the review will vary according to the size and stability of the charity. Proper analysis of financial trends and changes in budget predictions may help to assist early identification of financial problems.

Where their charity has to close, the commission expects trustees to have planned for an orderly shutdown. The guidance covers what is meant by insolvency, and what steps trustees should take if they believe they are insolvent, including getting good professional advice.

Reserves

The reserves guidance confirms that there is no single level or even a range of reserves that is right for all charities. Any target set by trustees for the level of reserves to be held, or decision that there is no need for reserves, should reflect the particular circumstances of the individual charity. However trustees should not simply monitor their level of reserves annually, but keep them under review throughout the year. Where a charity hasn’t got the reserves it thinks it needs, it is exposed to greater risk and the commission expects the trustees to address this actively.

The updates to make the sets of guidance clearer and more streamlined come ahead of a full review of the guidance later this year.

Charities targeted by sophisticated scams

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsMandate fraud: charities targeted by increasingly sophisticated scams

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is urging charities to remain vigilant to the continuing threat of mandate fraud and the changing tactics that fraudsters are using to target charities.

Mandate fraud occurs when the fraudster tricks a victim into changing bank account details, in order to divert legitimate payments intended for a genuine organisation (eg a charity supplier) to bank accounts instead controlled by fraudsters. This often involves the fraudster impersonating an organisation representative, either by email, direct mail or telephone communication. The fraudster may also use headed paper and/or the company logo to lend credibility and to gain the charity’s trust.

The threat of mandate fraud is an on-going issue for charities, with cases continuing to be reported to Action Fraud from across the sector. We first brought this issue to the attention of charities in 2010.

In recent months, the commission has become aware of mandate fraud attempts where the fraudster has been able to use the email address of a regular contact at the legitimate organisation to deceive charities into changing change bank details.

The commission recommends that trustees and charity professionals spend a few moments familiarising themselves with the Metropolitan Police’s mandate fraud advice and ensure that their charity has robust authorisation and monitoring procedures in place for changing bank details and managing payments. The advice is clear – any request to change bank account details is an unusual occurrence and should be treated with suspicion.

As a minimum, charities should:

  • remain vigilant to the continuing risk of mandate fraud and raise awareness amongst those staff and volunteers with responsibility for charity finances – download the campaign posters produced by the Metropolitan Police
  • be suspicious of any change of bank detail requests until independently verified
  • check and verify all requests for change of bank details using contact information held separately by the charity
  • never rely solely on contact information provided in any form of external communication that requests a change of bank details
  • check that a sample of payments has been received by the legitimate organisation after the change of bank details has been actioned
  • do not rely solely on the organisation to inform your charity that legitimate payments have not been received – by then it may be too late to recover the money.

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, said:

The mandate fraud cases we hear about increasingly involve cunning tactics by fraudsters to gain the trust and confidence of their victims. There’s no doubt that fraud and deception tactics will keep on evolving. Awareness of fraud risk and the tactics used by fraudsters is the most effective way of preventing charities from becoming victims.

At the heart of charity is trust, but when it comes to control of charity finances, it’s crucial that vigilance and caution are the key watchwords.

It is also a timely reminder for trustees and senior charity staff to reflect on how fraud-aware their employees and volunteers are, and to review their charity’s financial controls.

Read more about the mandate fraud prevention methods recommended by the Metropolitan Police.

If you suspect you or your charity may have fallen victim to mandate fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud immediately.

Get in touch for a Tax Return free Xmas

Have a Tax Return free Christmas

Wales Access to Finance – Ask the Experts Breakfast Event

Bevan & Buckland AccountantsInsider: Wales Access to Finance – Ask the Experts Breakfast 2015//

 

Liberty Stadium September 22nd 2015

7:30am – Breakfast & Registration
8:00am – Meeting commences
9:00am – Approximate close
Guests are invited to remain behind after the formal close for coffee and networking

Confirmed speakers:

  • Matt Warren, chief executive, Veeqo
  • Harri Lloyd Davies, partner, Bevan Buckland
  • David Vieira, managing director, Go Commercial Finance
  • Stephen Yorke, area director business banking, HSBC
  • Betsan Powell, partner, JCP Solicitors
  • More to follow

We would like you to join us for an Insider breakfast event to explore sources of finance for ambitious companies. If you’re seeking cash to reach the next level, hoping to raise money for an early stage venture, or looking for better funding arrangements, this event should provide you with some ideas.

Matt Warren runs Veeqo, a Swansea-based inventory management software company that has raised more than £1m through crowdfunding and from other sources.

A panel of advisers and funders will give tips and insights in answer to audience questions. Topics for discussion could include:

  • Can I raise funds without losing control of the company?
  • Could crowdfunding help my business to grow?
  • How can I raise cash for an acquisition?
  • What do banks look for when lending cash?

If this is of interest, we hope you can join us and put a question in for the panel.

Our events are regularly over-subscribed therefore please register your interest as soon as possible. If you have been successful you will receive a confirmation email one week prior to the event. Please click here to register your interest.

If you wish to attend an Insider event and have any personal requirements in order to fully enjoy your chosen event then please let us know at the earliest date possible.

We have an inclusive approach and wish to ensure that everyone who wants to attend an Insider event is able to do so and to obtain full benefit from being our guest.

If you need any more information please contact Suzanne Wallace on 0161 907 9758.