Accountancy organisations have had it with the Government

Industry news roundup: week ended 13 March 2014:

It’s usually quite a big deal when a major trade industry body has a row with the Government over policy, but it’s even more serious when two of them do!

Well it’s true – not one but two accountancy organisations have chosen to voice their displeasure with new legislative changes that are coming down the pipeline. The first one this week comes from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, who have gone on record saying that the new Real Time Information PAYE system is more or less a load of bollocks.

All right, not their exact words, but you get the idea. No, in particular the Institute has said that the new RTI system – which began being phased in late last year and will soon apply to all firms in the UK by next month – is simply a bad idea and has been one from the start. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs might be giving off the impression that the institution of RTI is going along swimmingly, says ICAEW spokesperson Peter Bickley, but there are just some absolutely serious and ‘fundamental’ issues with the initiative. The Institute wants HMRC to take a long, hard look at their timeline for requiring the remainder of British employers to start using the system and are especially keen to see the taxman take a lenient stance to companies who struggle to get the systems working properly with their own payroll.

So that’s the first fly in the ointment, but as I said there’s another: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has taken Chancellor George Osborne to task, this time over the stamp duty regime. The current system as it stands, according to the trade body, is in dire need of reforms, especially since it’s inherently unfair for any homebuyer looking to purchase real estate that’s valued less than £500,000.

The Association would like to see a new system put into place that change the way the regime is currently staged and have it resemble the income tax structure for the UK. This could spread the stamp duty liability out a bit more smoothly instead of the current approach, which the ACCA called nothing more than a ‘cliff edge’ that can send prospective homebuyers tumbling down. Honestly I see this as a good idea, as it will certainly make it easier for younger, less affluent Brits able to afford their first home – and that’s something we desperately need right now.

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