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Dave Cooper

This user account status is Approved

Manchester

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0845 003 8780

01635 574 160

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I am a specialist in employment taxes, and employer or worker related risk issues, providing unique and innovative solutions (mainly to employers).

The specialist consultancy of which I am a partner promises Big 4 style advice at a fraction of the cost!

I have been a CTA since 1995, and worked for 13 years within the ‘Big 4’. Prior to the mid-1990s I was an HMRC inspector; however I would allege that since leaving the Revenue, my sense of humour has been grafted back on!

Specialist solutions available include: 

Termination payments

My business focuses many years of specialist experience e.g. to ensure that available exemptions may be maximised legitimately. The legislative changes introduced from April 2018 will cause all employers to rethink, e.g. it will now be necessary to identify unworked notice fully in all cases. The intention is to counter the uncertainty which still prevails in this area, and my firm can provide practical assistance in what may often be a problematic time for both employer and both employee.  

Employer Compliance Reviews

As you might expect, first class advice is available here; whether this is in the area of planning and prevention, internal reviews to meet Senior Accounting Officer requirements, dealing with HMRC "Know Your Customer" visits (aka ‘PAYE Audits’), or responding to specific HMRC ‘aspect’ reviews. In one recent example, an HMRC claim for £5m was reduced on settlement to £200K.

Flexible benefits and salary sacrifice (aka Optional Remuneration Arrangements)

The statutory changes introduced to Optional Remuneration Arrangements in April 2017 were in my view both capricious and ill-founded, but nonetheless must be met effectively. Often relatively minor changes can sidestep the effect of these additional rules. Advice is available in all areas including feasibility, design, practical implementation, and HMRC clearances. Projects may range from full employee flexible benefits packages, to more bespoke salary sacrifice areas such as pensions and childcare (areas which were excluded from the April 2017 changes). Recent experience has shown that, by comparison, ‘Big 4’ costs often become prohibitive when compared to savings achievable.

Employment Status, Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), and other temporary workers

For anyone left frustrated with the updated HMRC digital status tool (introduced in March 2017), sensible and objective advice on worker status is available. There has been a raft of statutory changes including anti-avoidance legislation targeting Managed Service Companies, withholding and reporting obligations for employment agencies and (in April 2017) Public Sector changes, all of which does little to steady the ship. Relevant, up to date, advice on how to manage risk, for both employment intermediaries (i.e. employment businesses or agencies to you and me) and to companies who are the end user of temporary workers\' services, is available here.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Over the last couple of years we have seen HMRC add significant additional resources to its NLW and NMW review teams. However the so called public name and shame list is a misnomer: the large majority of employers do not underpay their staff deliberately and any problem is almost certainly based on technical interpretation by HMRC. If you need to help to deal with such a visit, you wish to understand HMRC's (complex) view of how the minimum wage legislation should apply, or wish to reduce the penalty risk (current rate 200%), my firm can assist. As with most HMRC risk areas, prevention is of course better than cure.  

Company cars v Employee Car Ownership Schemes

With increased taxation on company cars and private fuel, these traditional benefits no longer represent a cost-effective solution in many cases. Alternatives to company cars or fuel may range from simple cash buy-outs to a more structured Employee Car Ownership (ECO) schemes, i.e. where potentially significant savings can be delivered. It is noteworthy that ECO schemes remain outside the scope of the April 2017 Optional Remuneration Arrangements rules.

Employee share schemes

Enhancement to HMRC reporting requirements in recent years has brought a number of tax/NIC issues out of the woodwork, and the Revenue may easily identify omissions from Form 42 or its electronic equivalent (e.g. from employee Self Assessment returns). Support on reporting requirements and assistance with HMRC negotiations (e.g. where disclosure is required) is available.

Industry and geographical focus 

Whilst my business model does not focus on particular industries, I have frequently advised a number of household names in the fields of sports, leisure, retail, manufacturing, construction and the Public Sector. My clients are located throughout the UK, and travel will be undertaken as required.

 

Flexible basis of charges 

As a guide, costs may be within the range of £130-£150 per hour, however for instance; ‘contingency’ fees will be considered – subject to specific agreement. Initial consultation would normally be without obligation.