Nandos Using Secretive Tax Haven To Avoid Corporation Tax

A secret £750 million trust located in the Channel Islands sits at the top of an elaborate entanglement of companies which belong to the family behind the popular restaurant chain.
The restaurant group is owned by Dick Enthoven, a South African businessman and uses a range of offshore techniques including companies in Guernsey, Malta and the Netherlands to legally reduce the amount of Corporation Tax that it pays in the UK by up to a third.
The growing popularity of Nandos in the UK has seen it become a cultural phenomenon with celebrity fans such as David Beckham, Example and Ed Sheeran as well as people from across the pond such as Jay Z and Beyonce, who famously rack up bills in the restaurant buying meals for all of their tour staff. However, tax avoidance is the cardinal sin in the UK, so the chain could see its popularity wavering in a similar Nandosmanner to Starbucks after its tax evasion schemes were revealed.
Controversy over tax avoidance is the focus of the news at the moment, with calls for the Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom to explain to the cabinet secretary a total of £816,000 of political donations to the Conservatives made by her own Guernsey based brother in law banker. The Times newspaper also named Sir Michael Caine, Katie Melua and Artic Monkeys as potential beneficiaries of a tax avoidance scheme called Liberty.

 

The offshore world of Nandos is particularly elaborate. The family’s personal cash, their £8 million Wiltshire stately home and their corporate structures all have offshore addresses. Buy a meal from there and the profit flows into a network of accounts including those in Malta, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and more. The structures are all legal but they are complex and not very transparent- they significantly reduce the amount of tax that the company pays around the world in comparison to a traditional British operation.
A spokesperson for Nandos did stress that the company does pay Corporation Tax. He said:
[quote] “In the UK, Nando’s Group Holdings Ltd. incurred corporation tax of £12.6 million on a profit of £58.2m with revenues of £485.2 million in the year ending February 2013.” [/quote]

Police Make Five Arrests In a Crackdown On Copycat Websites

Police have raided four addresses around the UK, making several arrests in a nationally co-ordinated probe into ‘copycat websites’ which imitate online services that are provided by the Government such as filing a Tax Return or renewing a passport. The raids were carried out as a result of an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime team into the sites, which dupe users into parting with their money for services which can be obtained for cheaper or free through official Government channels.Tax Return

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police, where one of the arrests was within their jurisdiction said:

[quote] “Police supported trading standards carrying out a warrant. A 43 year old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. The operation was carried out by the eCrime team with police support.” [/quote]

Police in Hampshire also assisted with the raids in which a total of five people were arrested. The National Trading Standards Board said that four search warrants were issued on properties in England, which could see the operation of 25 copycat websites derailed.

More than 5000 complaints were made to Citizens Advice last year and 700 were made to the Advertising Standards Agency. The most common complaints related to drivers licences, tax returns, EHICs and passports.

Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards Board said that:

[quote] “Our eCrime team is clamping down on the cyber fraudsters behind these websites and we are making it as difficult as possible for these online hoaxers to operate. We have been working with search engines such as Google and Bing to remove adverts from online search results and we continue to gather intelligence across the country to help tackle this issue. The misleading websites often use URLS that include fragments such as ‘govuk’ and ‘directgov’ or use names that make them appear as official providers of certain services. Design features are also incorporated to replicate the look of official websites.” [/quote]

 

 

Tax Return Bill With £0.00 Penalty Delivered To Watford Family

self-assessmentA Watford man was stunned when he received an unusual penalty from Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs. Nico Caputo, 39 years of age, received a letter that was hand delivered for his wife Joanna. The man who delivered the notice said that Mrs. Caputo owed HM Revenue And Customs the amount stipulated on the letter. But when he opened it, he saw that the penalty was for £0.00.

Nico Caputo has slammed Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs for wasting his time and wasting tax payers’ cash in order to deliver the useless bill by hand.

He explained what happened when he received the letter:

[quote]I opened the door. A man in a black suit handed me the letter. He said they wanted to give it to us in person so he knew we had it and could be told we faced court action. Then he left. Obviously it was a ­computer generated letter but a human has to pick it up at some point.[/quote]

The mistake happened because Joanna Caputo, 29 years of age and who now work as a teacher, registered as being self employed in her Self Assessment back in 2010. She was told the tax office when she had a change in circumstances, but Mr. Nico Caputo does not believe that the staff made the amendment on their system.

A spokesperson for Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs explained that this should not have occurred. They said:

[quote]In general these letters go to people who haven’t sent in their tax return as the law requires and where penalties might be due.[/quote]

Self assessment is something that forms an important part of tax returns. It  is the process of completing an annual tax return that demonstrates your income and capital gains.  Most British citizens with straight-forward taxes will just pay what is due on earnings and pensions through their tax codes. However, those who are self employed, directors of companies, make their money from abroad, etc. may need to complete a tax return.

Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs is a non-ministerial department within the United Kingdom government that oversees everything related to tax as well as the payment of some forms of benefits. It was formed through a merger between Her Majesty’s Customs And Excise and the Inland Revenue. This took place on April 18th 2005 under the direction of the former Chancellor Of The Exchequer Gordon Brown in his Budget on 17th March 2004.

US Firm Eyes UK ‘Tax Haven’

Retailer Mothercare has accused a US-based firm of launching a £266 million takeover bid for the sake of cutting their Corporation Tax bill. The baby and toddler retailer, who is struggling financially, has rejected two informal offers from Destination Maternity, it emerged recently.

Bosses at Mothercare said that Destination Maternity ‘greatly undervalued’ the company and did not reflect its recovery and growth prospects. However, insiders are claiming that part of the appecorporation taxal of the takeover was the UK’s low rate of Corporation Tax- currently 20% compared to 38 per cent in the USA. Destination Maternity confirmed that if the deal went through it would create a new holding company in the UK with shares remaining in the US.

Previously, American pharmaceutical company Pfizer planned to use the same tactic with its failed takeover of AstraZeneca. The tactic is known as tax inversion. The chief executive of Destionation Maternity called the tax rate ‘the icing on the cake’.  However, he insisted that his company’s heart was in the right place, with the aim of creating a global leader in maternity, baby and children’s products. The deal would create more than £1.45 billion worth of annual sales. Destination said that it would sell some of its products in Mothercare stores, but could not rule out job losses.

The approach from the company comes as Mothercare battles to fight back from a lack of sales because of competition from supermarkets and others. It recently recorded losses of just over £21.5 million. However, overseas Mothercare is doing much better with a joint venture in India.

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker said:

[quote]” The board has given these proposals full and thorough consideration. We do not believe they reflect the inherent value of Mothercare to our shareholders or its prospects for recovery and growth.” [/quote]

HMRC Sends Renewal Warning To 1.5 Million People

taxcreditsClose to 1.5 million people living in the United Kingdom and receive tax credits have less than one month to renew their claims. If they do not, the claimants risk having their payments ceased according to warnings by Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs.

The British tax authority is giving UK residents the opportunity to renew their tax credits online for the first time ever. It must, however, be completed ahead of the deadline on July 31st.

To do so, they are being told to visit the government’s Renew Tax Credits page on their official website. It can also be done via a free HMRC mobile app that is new and available to download from the Apple and Google app stores.

Those who do not wish to renew their tax credits by these new online methods are still able to do it via traditional methods. They can write to Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs by post or call the helpline for tax credits.

At the start of July, 135,000 people had submitted the renewals for their tax credits over the internet. Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs revealed that the satisfaction with the government’s website was 96%.

The warning reminder comes after 650,000 people failed to renew their tax credits before last year’s deadline. This is also the major reason Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs has implemented its new online system — people now have no excuse for missing it.

The director general of benefits and credits at Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs, Nick Lodge, said:

[quote]Loads of people have already renewed their tax credits claim online, and have found it quick and easy to do. We have now made it even better and are encouraging everyone to renew online if they can, at a time that suits them. The most important thing is to renew before the 31st July deadline, so as not to risk losing your money.[/quote]

Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs distributed its tax credit renewal pack to 5.8 million people at the beginning of April. It asked those who use tax credits to check how accurate the information about the claim is. It also demanded that people provide any new information about their circumstances including working hours, childcare costs and annual pay.

Most of the people who received these packs will not have to make any amendments and their claims will automatically be renewed. This occurs if there has been no change for a long period of time. 1.5 million are set to make changes though.