04 Jan 2018

Brexit Bear Summarises December 2017

Brexit Bear winds up 2017 and looks forward to more confusion in 2018.

11 Dec 2017

Brexit Bear Summarises November 2017

November saw the UK to a certain extent giving in to the rather impractical EU negotiating stance of agreeing how much we pay to leave before we agree the terms of leaving, but the month ended with an optimistic view generally that we could begin shortly to discuss trading arrangements.

11 Dec 2017

The Whitewashed Blacklist Conspiracy

Writing in The Guardian (where else?), Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting at Sheffield University, says the EU’s blacklist of tax havens is a whitewash and its targeting of low-income countries smacks of imperialism.

05 Sep 2017

Brexit Bear Summarises August 2017

August ended with the EU and British negotiators agreeing on one thing; there had not been much progress.

31 Jul 2017

Brexit Bear Summarises July 2017

The more we learn now, the clearer it becomes how little we knew then, but the picture is still pretty confused.

25 Jul 2017

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing, but it suits too many people to keep it that way

While the government has kicked the “Making Tax Digital” can of worms a further year down the road, memories of the Class 4 debacle appear to be fading.

03 Jul 2017

Brexit Bear’s end-of-June roundup

Bad things may still happen, but Brexit notices that not much has changed since the referendum.

23 Jun 2017

Confidence ebbs away

Brexit Bear has been watching the deck chairs getting re-arranged on the deck of the Titanic

15 Jun 2017

When you are in a hole, stop digging!

The number of self-employed people has risen by 103,000 to 4.8m, accounting for 15% of all people in work, according to the ONS.

14 Jun 2017

Brexit Bear wonders where money comes from: elections perhaps?

The Times reports that Theresa May is planning to abandon the government’s austerity programme after Conservative MPs warned that they would refuse to vote for further cuts

05 Jun 2017

Brexit Bear is a June Bruin

The UK has fallen to the bottom of the growth league table of advanced economies after a particularly poor start to the year.

26 May 2017

Brexit Butterflies

So far this week in the historical detachment of the UK from the European Union (do try to keep up…we’ve already had one referendum based on universal ignorance of the facts):

10 May 2017

Brexit Bear thinks

that maybe we should be a LITTLE more worried than we are, although admittedly negotiation “leaks” and bank staff scurrying like rats down the hawsers are not reliable indicators.

02 May 2017

Look what Brexit Bear read in The Times today

Global CEOs and investors have advised Theresa May to make Brexit a success by looking beyond the EU and adopting a little swagger about the UK’s economy - the world’s fifth largest.

02 May 2017

Brexit Bear’s post May-Day musings

The British Chambers of Commerce has warned politicians that the best Brexit deal "won't be worth the paper it's written on"

01 May 2017

Brexit Bear’s thoughts for the end of April 2017

More Companies than ever are investing into the UK! Figures from the OECD show that Britain has climbed to the top of the league table for foreign investment in Europe

19 Apr 2017

Brexit Bear says….

A survey of 1,000 UK SMEs reported in Global Banking & Finance Review (in case you missed it) found 60% are confident in the government’s ability to negotiate post-Brexit trade deals and 56% stated that the government is doing enough to support them.

30 Mar 2017

Loans to small businesses, Fairy Godmothers, and how to borrow without tears

Smaller businesses, including some larger small businesses, have not been well served by the banks in recent years.

01 Mar 2017

The old badger game

MPs have accused Caffe Nero of gaming the system after it emerged that the company did not pay a penny of corporation tax last year, despite making a profit of £25.5m.

22 Feb 2017

On a February day

dark and dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over some Tax News, that had made me sore.

17 Feb 2017

Do You Rate?

We haven’t heard from the Chamber of Commerce yet, but one business concern regularly high-lighted by McLean Reid on their surveys in business rates.

31 Jan 2017

The La-La land of Tax

There is always one…this week Steven McKenzie in the Press and Journal (viewers of ‘Have I got News for Your’ may have heard of it) welcomes the introduction of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital scheme

30 Jan 2017

How HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative will impact on accountants and small businesses.

An Article in The Sunday Times discussed how HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative will impact on accountants and small businesses.

06 Jan 2017

Magic (Financial) Roundabout

Those below a certain age may not remember this children’s cartoon (Dougle, the dog addicted to sugar voiced by Robbie Williams in the film, has probably been banned by now), but linking several news articles relating to Peer-to-Peer lending makes for a cartoon that will make some investors want to hide behind the settee, or at least to wonder how grown-ups can get into such a mess.

21 Nov 2016

We could do better

Brexit is the biggest challenge this country has faced since the war and we need our best brains and greatest talents to work on it.

07 Jun 2016

Brexit Facts

First of all, I’m not sure there are any. Secondly, some economic “shock” from exit or negotiations during exit seems to me to be inevitable, however the “freedom dividend” may partly or wholly offset this.

26 Apr 2016

Have you joined the Hilton Horrors program?

We signed up last night in Maidstone. Our local accountant’s association has speaker meetings there most months, and for some time they’ve left the car park barrier open after the meeting to expedite our departure.

08 Apr 2016

The Panama Hat Dance

(Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we set out to deceive)

07 Apr 2016

If it moves, tax it; if it doesn’t, regulate it.  I think Ronald Reagan said that

The revelations in the Panama Papers have added pressure on David Cameron to persuade UK tax havens to agree to create central registries of beneficial ownership before a London anti-corruption summit in May.

06 Apr 2016

Is wearing a panama hat corruption?

British Territory “tax havens” can only be used for avoidance if the national laws of the avoider permit this. 

02 Mar 2016

Partner Allan Reid questions Governments ability to crack down on avoidance and evasion.

"I wonder how the Government is doing collecting that £5Billion by cracking down on avoidance and evasion?"

16 Aug 2015

Government by Nudge

According to The Times, the government's new business start-up tsar, Michelle Mone, has been accused of using a tax avoidance vehicle that has been described by George Osborne as "morally repugnant".

20 Jul 2015

We have some time taken the view that most Government “help” for small (if they know what that means) business is largely ineffective.

There are exceptions, and we know them, but by the time the original idea is consulted on with interested parties, and a fee paid to an international firm that also doesn’t have good experience of small businesses, the Civil Servants wrap the deal in so much red tape that completing an application because it is subsidised even though it doesn’t actually offer what you really want becomes a futile and frustrating exercise.

16 Jul 2015

It has been suggested that the green paper on pension tax relief is “not a genuine consultation” as the government has already decided on the outcome.

The consultation was launched by Chancellor George Osborne in the summer Budget. He said he as open to "radical" thinking on pension taxation which could be brought more in line with ISAs.

14 Apr 2015

I am not a political commentator, but I am sometimes a tax commentator.

Firstly, some possible thanks to the PM for announcing a plan to allow people to leave homes and other assets up to a value of £1m to younger family members tax free from April 2017 (Younger? Family? See how loop-holes happen?)...

10 Apr 2015

Wow! Tax is big news in British Politics as the election looms

Nobody has promised to simplify the tax code and everybody is going to end illegal tax evasion, so we start by not trying to do what we should and then promise to do what we probably can’t (based on the last 25 years or so of promises).

09 Dec 2014

Business travel for self employed traders

Following a recent case in front of the Upper Tier Tax Tribunal involving a doctor with a private practice (Dr Samadian), HMRC are applying the rules for business travel much more strictly.

21 Oct 2014


Mistakes happen, or as one wag put it “accidents cause people”. Mistakes on tax returns cause penalties, and the Revenue make a lot of money from this.

17 Sep 2014

Can't afford pay rises? Let the taxman pay!

We are all aware that average pay rises are minimal right now, and have tended to be less than inflation. Responsible businesses have to contain or reduce costs, but it may be possible to give staff more at little or no cost to the employer.

12 Sep 2014

Radical pension changes, effective from April 2015

The government has announced subject to consultation radical pension changes, effective from April 2015, whereby investors will have unprecedented freedom over how they take money from their pensions.