Mercia Group Newswire

Thursday 30th June 2011

When we first started detailed planning for Liz Coates' retirement a year ago, it seemed a long way off but time flies and there is only one month to go! We will of course be marking the occasion and you'll find more in office gossip below. As Liz has been at Mercia for twenty plus years she has made many friends along the way and has agreed to share her plans for retirement in next month's newswire.

Turning to business and Academies in particular, having waited (and waited) for additional official guidance to be issued by the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) confirming audit arrangements for the 2010/11 financial year and an updated financial statement template (both of which were expected by the beginning of June), it would appear that mid-July is now the date that the YPLA has in mind. Will this hold up the issue of the Academies Specialist Assignment Manual? The short answer is no. Mindful of the fact that many of you who are acting for academies will be looking to plan the audits for August 2011 year ends, we shall be pressing ahead with our manual release date in July, with an update likely for any areas that the YPLA have not officially issued by then.

Making up for a relatively quiet month in May, over recent weeks, HMRC have issued numerous consultation documents totalling hundreds of pages. Rather than let you wade through them yourselves, Mark Morton, our Head of Tax, has provided a short summary for you to peruse at your leisure.

Nicola Hurley

Academies Specialist Assignment Manual - Available July 2011

Academies is the latest addition to our range of specialist assignment manuals. Available in July, the manual will contain guidance notes, an example engagement letter and audit report, proforma accounts, a disclosure checklist and all of the current and permanent file documentation needed, including tailored audit programmes, to audit an Academy.

For more information and to order a copy click here.

Specialist CPD Courses - Autumn 2011

Our autumn specialist CPD course programme is now available and includes many topical courses: For audit and accounts, one of the hot subjects of the moment is academies and following on from our recent conferences, the programme includes a course covering their audit and accounts issues. We've also included a course to help you gear up for the FRSME. Those of you with solicitor clients will no doubt be aware of the Solicitors' Accounts Rules changes ahead - you'll find update and introductory courses covering these in the programme. Finally, with the changes taking place in regulation of financial services we have also included a number of FSA-related courses.

On the Tax side, there's new course Toolkit Terrors - Maximising Compliance and Minimising Costs and the hot topic, Small Business Lifecycle Tax and Essentials.

A copy of the programme should be with you in the post soon but if you can't wait, you can view the complete programme by clicking here

Audit and Accountancy Issues

Consultation on changes to the Money Laundering Regulations

The Treasury has published a response to its review of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. The review found that "overall the Regulations are effective and proportionate at an aggregate level" but also recognised that improvements could be made.

It does not appear therefore that we can expect widespread changes ahead. However, 17 specific questions have been raised in the consultation, including:

There is also a proposal to remove the criminal penalties from the Regulations (but not the money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Terrorism Act 2000). The commitment to adopting a risk-based approach is emphasised throughout the feedback and consultation.

The consultation period ends on 30 August 2011 and it is anticipated that any legislative changes adopted would come into effect in 2012.

You can access a copy of the consultation at

News from Companies House - withdrawal of paper filing

The latest edition of 'Register' magazine (72) contained an important message from Companies House - that the majority of paper filing is to be withdrawn from 2013. As Companies House moves towards becoming a fully electronic registry, it is expected that all incorporations and filings of annual returns, accounts and main company changes will be digital only by March 2013 for standard company types. The change is subject to consultation with stakeholders and subsequent legislation.

The Registrar comments in his 'talking point' article "Let me be clear about what this will mean. If the plans go ahead, we will be withdrawing paper services for Incorporations, Annual Returns, Accounts, and main company changes such as registered office, director/secretary details and company name. The proposals would cover the four main company types and probably include Limited Liability Partnerships (subject to more analysis). This covers over 95% of the register."

You can find a copy of Register at

Companies House website also contains news of forthcoming new SIC codes.

News for Mercia technical manual subscribers

Earlier this month we issued updates to our two FSA SAMs - Mortgage and General Insurance Intermediaries and Designated Investment Firms. Both manuals were updated for the FSA rules changes arising from Policy Statement 11/5 - Auditor's client assets report. If you have any administrative questions about the updates please contact or call her on 0116 258 1200.

Tax Issues

Summary of HMRC consultation documents

HMRC have issued numerous consultation documents totalling hundreds of pages. Rather than let you wade through them yourselves, Mark Morton, our Head of Tax, has provided a short summary of each for you to peruse at your leisure. Click here to download.

CT online

HMRC are concerned that, for accounting periods that end on or after 1 April 2011 with filing dates of 1 April 2012 or later, Corporation Tax Online not be updated until October 2011! To read more, please click here.

HMRC have also published guidance on their approach to mandatory online filing of company tax returns at the end of a company's life. To read more, please click here.

Scanning - Changing the way HMRC handle Customer post

HMRC have introduced the first phase of the scanning capability for handling customer correspondence relating to compliance checks. This includes enquiries into returns of non business customers and compliance checks on employers. HMRC's plan is to implement scanning for the large majority of compliance checks during 2011/12.

Scanning the incoming mail will mean that the documents and letters received will be linked to the customer case record and available to caseworkers within 36 hours.

A single PO Box address and case reference will be used to identify the mail that is part of this process and these details will be shown on outgoing mail. To read more, please click here.

Changes to the advisory fuel rates from 1 June 2011

The advisory fuel rates have been changed with effect for all journeys undertaken on or after 1 June 2011. To read more, please click here.

Engine sizePetrolDieselLPG
1400cc or less15p (14p)(13p)11p (10p)
1401cc - 2000cc18p (16p)(13p)13p (12p)
Over 2000cc26p (23p)(16p)18p (17p)
1600cc or less12p
1601cc - 2000cc15p
Over 2000cc18p

2010/11 P11Ds: New address to send them to

HMRC have set up a dedicated post room for receipt of paper forms P11D & P11D(b) for 2010-11:

P11D Support Team
Tynemouth House
Room BP8019
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

HMRC announce crack down on VAT rule breakers

In the latest of their campaigns, HMRC will focus on individuals and businesses who are trading above the VAT threshold but who have not yet registered for VAT. For more information, please click here.

Gold club green fee decision

The long awaited decision in the case of The Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club Limited was released to the public on 10 June 2011.

The Tribunal Judge had no hesitation in deciding that the supply of a right to play golf on the appellant's course in exchange for payment, whether of a subscription or of a green fee should be exempt from VAT when supplied by an eligible body. We believe that this decision is quite clear-cut, however HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) do have 56 days in which to appeal against the decision. We would advise all member owned golf clubs to submit a claim for the refund of output tax paid on the supply of sporting services to non members for the four years to date. If you would like further information on this subject please email:

Click here to view the current IVC bulletin.

Office Gossip and Idle Chat!

The Mercia Team day out - Wednesday 13 July 2011

You may (or may not) recall that we hold an annual communications day for the whole of the Mercia team. This year we are planning to spend a day at the seaside having fun in the sun and then plan to run a further communications event later in the month on the afternoon of 27 July. On both occasions the phones are still manned and we will be able to return any urgent calls. We will also share any gossip we can but there is usually a rule of 'what happens in Skegness, stays in Skegness'!

Liz Coates' retirement - Friday 29 July 2011

On Liz's last official day we will all be going to a local hotel to mark the occasion and to help her celebrate! At Liz's request it will be a low key event for the Mercia Team but it will no doubt be an emotional affair. Over the 22 years Liz has been at Mercia she has done most of the roles there are to do. She's presented courses, run marketing, covered as MD on John Welsford's first sabbatical and more significantly led our training division for many years. Practically everyone in the team has worked with Liz at some stage and there is no doubt, however many plans we have in place, we are all going to miss her. That said there is already an internal fight going on for her office, not her job, just the office!

Shan's finale!

Shan and her Drama Group performed at the finals of the All England Theatre Festival this month and were runners up, an absolutely fantastic achievement as over 190 plays entered the competition. Shan says "We have finally performed the last of ......The Last Of The Vamps and it was a fabulous experience!"

A baby girl for Michelle Hammond

Congratulations to Michelle of our Training Department, her fiancé John and daughter Molly who welcomed a new addition to their family, Summer Rose was born 21st June at 3.23pm, weighing in at 7.7lbs.