When Jenny Campbell stepped into the HUB CP Live Lounge, we had a not-so-sneaky suspicion she was going to set it alight. And wow, the inimitable ex-Dragon and YourCash founder delivered.

The chat was all part of our ongoing, never-ending celebration of female leaders and entrepreneurs, and with #ChooseToChallenge as this year’s International Women’s Day theme, who better to welcome along?

After being treated to 90 minutes of explosive advice and stories, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite nuggets and snippets below. Enjoy.

NEVER SETTLE FOR “GRADE B”

“If it’s worth fighting for, always ask “why?”. Grit your teeth. Challenge things in the right way. Make change happen.”

When did Jenny get the call to join Dragons’ Den? Never. She made the call.

“You have to ask. You have to make things happen for yourself.”

“MENTOR” IS A BUZZWORD

“It doesn’t have to be that formal. But it is so important that you have someone you can open up to. Someone who you can trust to give you wise words in a confidential way. Someone who can let you let your hair down.

“Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place. So, if you’re a young, prospective entrepreneur, learn what the role involves by gaining experience at a fast-growing business first.”

SPEND YOUR TIME WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Surround yourself with people who share your hunger and values. People who have the courage to tell it like it is and appreciate the same in return.

That starts in your team and goes all the way through to your advisers.

“Your accountant, your lawyer, your HR people – they’re some of the most important people around you. And if you’ve got a good accountant that understands entrepreneurs, that will open doors, especially in areas like getting funding.

SMASH THE STATUS QUO

Jenny’s top tip for female entrepreneurs?

“Lose the female badge. You’re an entrepreneur, gender doesn’t matter. Believe in yourself. Aim high. Be brave. Ask for more.

“Entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in the UK. There’s no such thing as glass ceilings, only sticky floors. And the female-dominated division of parenthood is a cultural thing – it’s not the same everywhere around the world.”

So, again, make change happen. #ChooseToChallenge.

A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE CLIPS FROM THE DAY

HUNGRY FOR MORE HUB CP?

It’s the community we created to celebrate and bring together the most electrifying, rebellious, entrepreneurial minds of our day.

If that sounds like you, you can get a flavour of everything we’ve done with the community so far here.

Sustainability is on everyone’s lips. And rightly so. But as more and more businesses and consumers look to make sustainable choices and improve their impact, you need to be transparent and demonstrate that your business is walking the walk.

It’s not just about the environment, either, but also social and governance transparency. It’s about connecting your business to societal impact and leading in a responsible, regenerative way.

Of course, you’ll need the evidence to prove it. And that’s why more and more businesses are asking us to help them with sustainability reporting and assurance.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING?

Sustainability reporting involves the disclosure and communication of a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, including the progress it has made towards them.

It demonstrates a commitment to sustainable development which, in turn, can boost internal and external stakeholder confidence and improve your company’s reputation.

Right now, sustainability reporting isn’t straightforward. There are a number of different frameworks that you can follow, each with a different set of stakeholders in mind. So, we’d recommend defining your own framework for the time being by prioritising the metrics that matter most to your stakeholder strategy and long-term purpose.

OUR TOP 5 SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING TIPS

1) SET OUT YOUR STRATEGY

A robust strategy rests on planning, and by repeating these 4 steps, you’ll ensure continuous improvement over time:

2) DECIDE ON YOUR REPORTING FRAMEWORK(S)

In the beginning, the different frameworks may feel like a maze to navigate, so it will take time and research to understand what works best for you. Some of the most relevant examples include:

3) MAKE SURE YOUR DATA IS RELIABLE

For your reporting to be accurate, your data needs to be accurate too. This will also mean it can be third-party assured.

4) MAKE SURE YOUR REPORTING IS TRANSPARENT

Sustainability is increasingly taken into account in investment decision making, so it’s important to make sure you’re reporting accurately and transparently to your stakeholders.

Also, you’ll want to make sure your metrics are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound).

5) JUST GET STARTED

With emerging themes like social value and impact investing, coupled with concerns for the climate crisis and net-zero targets, sustainability is flying up the board agenda.

The sooner you start your sustainability reporting journey, the sooner you can use the learnings from it to improve your company’s impact.

YOU’VE STARTED. NOW WHAT?

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Have you undertaken a gap analysis of current disclosures against the relevant framework requirements? Do you have a plan in place to remedy gaps, if any?

2) How comfortable are you with the accuracy and completeness of the underlying data sources used for your metrics? Have you designed and documented the end-to-end processes and controls over the data?

3) Have you appropriately defined and considered any material climate-related risks in preparing the financial statements?

4) Are the non-financial indicators used reliable and rigorously prepared?

5) What assurance do you require to support the disclosures? Is the assurance sufficiently robust and independent?

THE VALUE OF ASSURANCE TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY DISCLOSURES

1) Assurance enables organisations to assess the quality of sustainability disclosures and improve and instil market confidence in them.

2) As stakeholder capital becomes more and more crucial, sustainability assurance provides a clear message of intent, commitment and confidence. The FCA has set out that they also see significant value in external assurance of listed companies’ TCFD disclosures.

3) In a marketplace swamped with unchecked ESG claims and ‘greenwashing’, assurance can provide differentiation, and in the case of sustainable finance, can help with access to broader, economically viable finance options.

HOW CAN COOPER PARRY HELP?

We will work with you to:

So, if you’re looking to inject valuable credibility and confidence into your ESG efforts through sustainability reporting and assurance, get in touch with Nicoleta Ciobanu, our Accounting Advisory Manager, at nicoletac@cooperparry.com

We created our HUB CP community to bring together and inspire some of the most rebellious, electrifying entrepreneurs the UK has to offer.

When it comes to the B Corp movement, that purpose has never rung truer – or been more important – and by chatting with a group of barnstorming B Corp business leaders, we’ve been treated to insights, advice and ideas that we’d love to share with you.

But first, for those of you newer to the term “B Corp”, let’s take it from the top:

WHAT IS A B CORP?

B Corps are businesses putting people, planet and profit on the same plane. They’re redefining success and using growth as an opportunity to make a wide-reaching, long-lasting, positive impact on their employees, communities, and the environment.

HOW TO BECOME A B CORP

To become B Corp Certified, your business has to score 80 or more in the “B Impact Assessment”, graded by not-for-profit, B Lab. The assessment is designed to help measure and manage your social and environmental impact at every level, across all stakeholders, customers included – a journey we’re currently on here at Cooper Parry.

In 2007, the first 82 B Corps were certified. Today, there are over 3,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 70 countries, including household brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Innocent Drinks.

That number isn’t enough; nor will it ever be. And while these big-name brands are no doubt impressive acts to follow, spotlighting them is kinda pointless. Because they’re not relatable.

Much better to focus on what smaller, growing businesses can learn from each other’s experiences of the process – and how those learnings can shape your own B Corp journey – which may be just about to start.

TWO ROUNDTABLES. ONE FORCE FOR GOOD BANNER

To tap into those insights, John Maffioli and April Bembridge, our Chief People Officer, co-hosted two intimate roundtable chats alongside Galahad Clark, CEO, and Emma Foster-Geering, Director of Sustainability, from the awesome B Corp barefoot shoe company, Vivobarefoot.

The guests? Business leaders at every stage of the B Corp process, from the initial, piqued-interest, toe-dipping phase, all the way through to those first certified years ago.

The discussions? Everything we’d hoped for. Fast-paced. Nugget-filled. With some stellar advice for growing business leaders from people who understand and appreciate what it’s like to be in their shoes, first-hand.

A few key themes popped up. You’ll find them below. Enjoy.

FORGET THE BADGE. ENJOY THE RIDE

The most impactful part of the B Corp process, mentioned by all our guests, wasn’t about being certified at all. It was the learning and the chance to re-think, re-imagine and improve every aspect of your business through the impact assessment’s wide-reaching lens.

Made up of around 200 questions, the assessment and its criteria are stringent to stamp out greenwashing, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can achieve B Corp status in a matter of weeks. Most of our guests said it took them in the region of a year, but, as Nick Proctor, Founder and CEO at energy management consultancy, Amber Energy, emphasised, “The game’s up as soon as you think you’re there – it has to be a continual push for improvement”.

For Emma, the question of whether a business should look into B Corp rests heavily on the ‘why’:

“Are you doing B Corp for marketing purposes to show the world you care? Or are you doing B Corp because you’re genuinely interested and invested in what it can achieve? Are you looking for a badge? Or are you actively trying to get to a point where your entire business is running off renewable energy?”

“It’s not about getting the accreditation,” April added, “That’s the by-product. It’s about making the B Corp mindset an intrinsic part of how you do things in your business.”

B Corp isn’t a tick-box exercise. You can’t throw money at it to make things happen straight away. It takes time, patience, effort and belief, and as Tom Kay, Founder at outdoor clothing brand, Finisterre, pointed out, so it should:

“B Corp is a positive force for ourselves, our purposes, our businesses. It’s about doing things in a slower, better, stronger way. There’s an emotional graft attached to the journey, but it makes it more rewarding.

“You have to make tougher choices to stick to your ‘why’. Sometimes, they might make things harder economically, but they become easier. You have to commit to the journey and what you believe in. You have to be brave.

“We’re the converters. And we need to rally each other on, ask the questions together and do better alongside other businesses and customers.”

THE BENEFITS OF B CORP

ENGAGING YOUR PEOPLE. ATTRACTING THE BEST TALENT

“B Corp brings your entire company together as a community,” Emma told us, “It brings everyone together under one mission, with total legitimacy. It’s not just some bullshit brand value piece, it’s an amazing community programme that will make your company much better in the future.”

The notion of ‘walking the walk’ and showing their commitment to keep doing so was touched on by a number of our guests, and by having a flag to fly and align with their values, they not only reaped the rewards internally, but in their recruitment efforts, too.

“Our main customer is the NHS, and they don’t give a stuff whether we’re B Corp or not,” James Kraft, Founder and CEO at Standing CT shared, “But where we have seen a significant improvement is when we’re recruiting. When we talk to people about why we’re a B Corp and how it affects everything we do, that makes a massive impact.”

DOES BEING A B CORP BOOST PROFITS?

Waitrose and Ocado have both made headlines in recent times by creating dedicated online B Corp ‘aisles’ – sections of their websites devoted solely to B Corp brands and their products. But does becoming B Corp Certified boost profitability?

None of our guests could say with conviction that it did. After all, it’s hard to quantify something like that. And it’s important to note here that there is a cost attached to becoming a B Corp, depending on your revenue, but our leaders agreed it was a worthwhile investment.

Why? Well, it all came back to the learning:

“Sustainability is no longer an edge in fashion and footwear,” said Emma, “So, has it helped us gain more followers and customers? I don’t really know. Has it helped us get our shit together internally? Absolutely. It’s given us clear policies, clear frameworks, and a clear vision about how to get the business moving forward. It’s brought people together, and now, every job description, every departmental metric is linked to B Corp and the impact assessment to improve what we do.”

“I don’t think it has a massive impact on profitability in the end,” Galahad added, “But what I am interested in is how to create a standardised playing field. Trust is important if the consumer is ever going to be invested in these things. So, I’m interested in how B Corp can help more businesses measure their impact at more regular intervals.”

WHAT DO INVESTORS THINK OF B CORPS?

The answers to this question were much more clear-cut. Investors love B Corps – these “slower, better, stronger” businesses that are typically well-managed, low-risk, attractive investments.

One of our guests, Luke Lang, Co-founder and CMO at crowdfunding equity platform, Crowdcube, said they had four of their five most successful campaigns ever in 2020, driven by a keen interest in purpose:

“The B Corp ethos – community, taking all stakeholders including customers into account – is really aligned with crowdfunding. The businesses want their supporters to play a part in their journey, and lots of B Corp Certified businesses have had successful raises through our platform.”

What’s more, William Pearson, Co-founder and CEO at reusable bottle brand Ocean Bottle, said because of the growing interest in impact investments, being a B Corp was “very useful” in a recent successful fundraise, which actually saw them oversubscribed towards the end of the process.

BUT, B CORP ISN’T PERFECT

“B Corp is the best, but it’s not perfect yet,” William continued, “I’ve found it to be geared towards larger companies who are doing less damage”, and he hopes that B Corp will raise the bar even further in the future and focus on companies who are creating positive, regenerative impact.

Because right now, are the big businesses getting accredited actually doing any good for society and the planet? Or are they simply doing less damage than their peers?

This need for businesses to go beyond sustainability to become truly regenerative – giving back more to society and the planet than they take away – echoed points made by Galahad in a podcast we did with him previously; beliefs driving Vivobarefoot’s own regeneration journey.

B Corp needs to keep levelling up to remain legitimate and push businesses to go further – especially those with their foot already in the door. But at the same time, can the impact assessment in its current state already feel overwhelming for purpose-driven early stage businesses that are short on time and resource?

Sarah King, Co-founder at the women’s entrepreneurship platform for leaders and investors, we are radikl, thought it could. Sarah referenced conversations she’d had with women leaders in her network, saying that whilst the majority of small business owners they work with want their businesses to be a force for good, there can be a sense of ‘where to start’ with the current impact assessment, meaning greater accessibility for small business owners feels like a real opportunity.

Emma said, “If you’re a small business and the process is intimidating, there are so many wonderful organisations out there that can help companies with this kind of thing, often pro bono,” but clearly, the right balance between excellence and accessibility has to be struck, with Nick Proctor pointing out:

“We need a certain mass of businesses all doing the right thing to find the right balance on our planet. We need a standard that stands for something and helps by passing on information so others can start their journey and start to make a difference. It can’t be a VIP club where we think we’re above everyone, it needs to be about convincing others to start their own B Corp journey.”

SO, SHOULD YOU START YOUR B CORP JOURNEY?

If you have a genuine belief in the movement’s potential and what it stands for – and that ties into your company’s values, definitely. It’s a fantastic opportunity to re-invent your approach and leave a legacy that goes beyond profit. A legacy of positive, long-standing, important change.

Getting the buy-in and support of your leaders helps a lot to get the process off the ground, with Galahad and Emma’s drive at Vivobarefoot being a case in point. And we heard some great examples of how to make B Corp intrinsic to your day-to-day, including linking every job description and departmental metric to the impact assessment, plus, this idea from Heather Lynch, Sustainability Manager at the anti-waste food subscription box business, Oddbox:

“Our end of year goals include improving our B Corp score, and we’re laying out how everyone can contribute to improving that to make it really inclusive. Then, 25% of our peoples’ bonuses will be linked to our B Corp score and how much it’s improved by.”

Sure, the B Corp process takes time. But every journey worth travelling – and every challenge worth overcoming – does. And right now, more than ever, our planet and our future generations need us to embark on this one, together.

So, if you’d like to chat about anything B Corp and swap some ideas, let April Bembridge know at aprilb@cooperparry.com, or on LinkedIn, if that’s your thing.

The UK tech sector is often described as world-leading, and as Tech Nation’s latest report shows, the once-in-a-lifetime challenges of 2020 did very little to slow it down.

With venture capital investment booming, UK tech IPOs gaining strong momentum, EdTech activity blossoming in the East of England and the Midlands, and Climate Tech and HealthTech developing rapidly, the UK tech sector remains a very exciting place to be.

That’s great news for the economy – and great news for Tech Nation’s Upscale 6.0 programme too. It’s made up of 33 of the UK’s best performing, most promising tech scale-ups; a cohort that our CP Futures team has been supporting since we partnered with Tech Nation in January 2021.

CHECK OUT THE FULL TECH NATION REPORT HERE.

And if you’d like to discuss how we can support and accelerate your journey in the tech sector, get in touch with Steve Leith, our Head of Tech & High Growth, at stevel@cooperparry.com

Changing jobs and starting afresh always takes a leap of faith. And although the pandemic has complicated almost every aspect of our lives, if your gut’s telling you it’s time for a move, right now could be the opportune moment.

But don’t take our word for it. Anoop Bilkhu joined our Audit team in February 2020, so, we caught up with him to ask what changing jobs during COVID-19 was really like!

Oh, and if you’d like to join Anoop at The Sunday Times’ 8th Best Company to Work For in the UK, why didn’t you ask? Check out our roles here.

Hey Anoop, tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you join us here at Cooper Parry?

My name’s Anoop and I joined the West Midlands Core Audit team in February 2020.

What made you decide it was time for a change?

My previous firm was my first “proper job”. I joined in 2012, trained up, qualified, and spent 8 years there.

It was a relatively big firm so there was lots of regulation and pressures, and I thought it was time for me personally to make a move, while staying where my passion was, here in Audit.

I wanted to find a firm that had ambitious growth plans. I wanted to be a part of that firm’s growth and be able to help them further down the line.

What caught your eye about CP?

I wasn’t familiar with CP, but I researched the firm and the role on offer and that’s when you start to see the offices, the people and learn about the culture. It then all sort of “brightens up”. You wake up and go, “hold on, this seems too good to be true.”

I suppose when you see a firm like CP, so different to the norm, it’s difficult to turn that down. The culture, the people focus, the flexibility, the fast growth. Also, the recruitment process was simple – the interviews felt more like good conversations with down to earth people, so that made things enjoyable in the process.

Did you ever consider working in industry?

If you talk to people at some of the bigger firms, they tend to say they lose the passion for Audit. I don’t always think that’s true, it’s more the baggage that comes with it. Audit gives you a lot of variety – you’re speaking to different people in different businesses and dealing with different markets and industries.

I never wanted to leave that behind. I just wanted to do Audit somewhere that did it differently to some of the bigger firms.

How did you find joining us?

It was a fantastic experience. I was able to start talking to clients and our team straight away. Really early on I was having lunch with the Head of Audit or bumping into different Partners and having a casual chat – that just doesn’t happen in bigger firms.

Everyone was so welcoming and made a big effort to make me feel at home. It felt like I’d been here much longer than I had, and the great communication and socials continued virtually through COVID too, which was amazing.

How has your time been so far at CP? What’s been different?

The workload is more controlled, the resourcing of jobs is more flexible, and everyone is great at what they do, so it makes it easy to really enjoy the job.

There is a big “togetherness” here. We have various offices, yet it really feels like one firm, which is how it should be. In my previous job, there were a lot of offices around the country, and it was very rare you’d speak to people in those.

What about in your personal life?

There has been a big positive shift in my work-life balance. The control you have over your time and work here has such a big impact on your life and social time.

It’s been really great because with work-life balance in a good place, you start to fall in love with Audit again when those time related stresses are removed.

Was joining a few weeks before the first lockdown a bit scary?

The team were already using technology to work together remotely well before COVID, so it made it easy for us to react and adapt. There was a big focus on not losing touch, everyone kept communicating and there were always regular catch ups.

When you go into lockdown it’s worrying. You want to be reassured that your job, your company etc. was fine and the communication provided that. Plus, we’ve continued to win plenty of new clients and welcome new people to the team, which is fantastic.

What are you excited about for the future?

Short-term, spending more time in the office and seeing the team and other people again. Longer-term, I’m excited to help the business grow. COVID hasn’t affected our growth plans so it’s exciting to see that carry on and be a part of it because I know there’s a lot more to come.

If you fancy switching things up like Anoop, we’ve got plenty of roles available here at Cooper Parry, and they’re yours for the taking.

 Take a look here:

https://cooperparry.com/careers-our-roles/

 

To encourage businesses to cut their carbon footprint, we’ve seen a number of “green” capital allowances initiatives pop up over the last 20 years.

However, in 2020, that list was reduced. Significantly. So, we thought it would be helpful to set out where these allowances are still available so your business can make the most of them as you become more “green”.

WHAT ARE THE GREEN CAPITAL ALLOWANCES?

From April 2021, first-year allowances remain available on the following items:

Enhanced capital allowances are still available for certain new, low emission or electric cars. From April 2021, the limit for low emission cars will be reduced from 50 g/km as it is now to 0 g/km. HMRC accepts that a car is new (i.e. unused and not second hand) even if it has been driven a limited number of miles for testing, delivery, test drives by a potential purchaser, or use as a demonstration car.

The deadline for 100% ECA for zero-emission goods vehicles has been extended for a further four years to 2025. However, as all commercial vehicles qualify for 100% relief under AIA, this special FYA has not been used by a significant number of businesses during the three year period of increased, £1m AIA limit. Since April 2015, a further restriction has been imposed that limits the availability of this ECA to businesses that do not also claim other state aids, such as the Government’s ‘plug-in van’ grant.

The first-year allowance introduced to support the development and installation of electric recharging equipment for electric vehicles has now been extended to 2023. This is part of the increasing Government focus on promoting the wider uptake of electric vehicles. The measure provides a 100% first-year allowance for electric charge-point equipment on qualifying expenditure incurred from 23 November 2016 until 31 March 2023 for corporation tax purposes, or 5 April 2023 for income tax.

WHAT OTHER CAPITAL ALLOWANCES INCENTIVES ARE THERE FOR MAKING YOUR BUSINESS GREEN?

One relief that is overlooked sometimes is the eligibility of adding thermal insulation to an existing building. This has a wider definition that simply installing insulation in ceiling voids, so not to be underestimated on a refurbishment or fit out project. Whilst it does not attract an enhanced capital allowance, it is still eligible for Annual Investment Allowances, so can still deliver 100% relief in year one.

Another area that often comes within capital allowances assessments is land remediation relief. Although not technically a capital allowance, it is a relief generally available to any company that is dealing with contaminated sites or buildings, provided that the company has not contaminated the site itself.

This relief was introduced to encourage the cleaning up of contaminated brownfield land in the main and then extended to allow for certain works within derelict sites. Typically, costs claimed relate to asbestos, hydrocarbons and Japanese Knotweed, but claims can cover a whole range of “nasties”.

WHAT IF I DON’T MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE GREEN ALLOWANCES?

Not all is lost…

For one thing, you can claim annual investment allowances of up to £1m per annum (until 31 December 2021), then £200,000 per annum from 1 January 2022. This is available to most businesses, but cannot be used for cars.

Secondly, for companies, there is the much-publicised Super Deduction that gives 130% relief for expenditure on plant and machinery (including some fixtures within buildings) and an alternative 50% Enhanced Deduction in year one for heating and ventilation systems, electrical systems, hot and cold water systems, lifts and external solar shading. Relief for the balance of the 50% Enhanced Deduction is then given over a number of years.

The Super Deduction and Enhanced Deduction are not currently available for plant and equipment lessors and commercial property landlords, but watch this space as we are waiting on more detailed explanations from HMRC on this area. Again, this cannot be used for car purchases.

By using these two reliefs together, it may still be possible to achieve 100% year one claims for most expenditure, so they’re well worth a look.

ANY QUESTIONS?

If you’d like to find out more about green capital allowances and how your business can tap into them on the journey to becoming more green, let me know at jeremyc@cooperparry.com

Jeremy Chapman | Capital Allowances Director

SPRING BUDGET. TAX DAY. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOT A LOT. YET.

After much speculation and three weeks on from Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget, a series of papers were published in a low-key manner by the Government on 23 March 2021 – dubbed “Tax Day” by the press (and tax pundits alike).

Despite more than 30 tax updates being published, the headline announcements haven’t lived up to the hype that preceded them.

We’ve summarised some of what the releases did and, more significantly did not say, below. And if you want to read the detail, you can do so here, although we have warned you!

Capital Gains Tax

It’s been reported for some time that the Government was looking to increase CGT rates, perhaps even aligning them to income tax rates. Well not yet – the Budget offered no announcements on this, and neither did this Tax Day – the consultations were deafeningly silent on CGT.

Perhaps the rumours were wrong, or maybe we’ll hear more on this down the line. For now, this is good news for business owners and investors alike, who plan to make capital disposals.

Tax admin & payments

The Government wants to update and improve the tax system, making tax more straightforward to pay and harder to get wrong. Two separate calls for evidence have been published, requesting views by 13 July 2021, on:

  1. The tax administration framework – the core legislation, processes and guidance which underpin obligations for HMRC, taxpayers, agents and third parties. Views are being sought on how the framework could be reformed as part of the Government’s commitment to creating a trusted, modern tax administration system.
  2. Timely tax payments – views are requested on the idea of more frequent payment of self-assessment income tax and corporation tax (for small companies). They could look to align tax payment dates closer to when profit is made, based on in-year information.
Inheritance Tax

A promise has been made to reduce the paperwork and red tape for those dealing with inheritance tax. From 1 January 2022, over 90% of non-taxpaying estates each year will no longer have to complete inheritance tax forms. In the same fashion, a current temporary provision for inheritance tax returns to be provided without physical signatures from all those involved, will be made permanent.

Residential property developer tax

A consultation will be published relating to a new tax on “the largest” residential property developers. The tax will be introduced in 2022 to help pay for the costs of cladding remediation. The consultation will be published in the coming months.

Trusts

Back in 2018, the Government carried out a consultation around trust tax. The responses to this have now been published. In a nutshell, there is no desire for a comprehensive reform of trust tax at this stage.

VAT

A consultation on simplifying VAT Partial Exemption rules, and the associated Capital Goods Scheme, was carried out in 2019. In light of the responses received, HMRC intends to update their internal systems to simplify the existing process.

Transfer pricing

A transfer pricing consultation has been published, seeking views by 1 June 2021. The Government is looking at the current requirements for businesses to maintain transfer pricing documentation, and whether these should be updated.

A question of ‘wait and see’

To sum up, there was not a great deal of substance revealed on the first Tax Day. What there was, however, was a series of signs of intent. No doubt, post-consultation, we’ll all be a little bit the wiser.

As ever, if you’d like to discuss any issues highlighted in these announcements, please contact Simon Baines, Partner and Head of Tax: simonb@cooperparry.com

We’ve partnered with Crowdcube, the market-leading equity crowdfunding platform connecting startups and growing companies with potential investors.

Traditionally, getting funding is time-consuming. Getting the right funding for your company? Even more so. And if it’s not approached correctly, the process can swallow your time and resources, with sub-par results at the end.

But, funding is necessary in a lot of cases. What’s more, it’s exciting – a huge landmark for any ambitious company looking to enter its next phase of growth. And really, that’s why we’ve partnered with Crowdcube – to make your funding experience simple, slick, and effective.

Since it began in 2011, the Crowdcube platform has become integral to the early stage fundraising ecosystem; spurred on by an unshakeable belief in entrepreneurs and a desire to make equity investment accessible.

Now, together, we’ll be helping entrepreneurs to raise money so they can bring their ideas to life and keep their businesses on the front foot.

OUR SUPPORT: THROUGH FUNDING & BEYOND

Our Raising Finance team will be supporting companies that are considering crowdfunding – taking care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on the day to day.

That includes getting you platform-ready with high-quality documents and a standout pitch page. Our relationships with institutional investors mean we can help you find cornerstone investment so you can benefit from both a hands-on investment partner and the power of the crowd. And we’ll be posing challenging questions to test your plans; bringing a wealth of deals experience, connections and insights on real-life negotiations to the table to help you secure investment and manage your project from start to finish.

The wider CP Futures team will also be supporting Crowdcube’s community of over 1,000 high growth, funded companies – all of which have had backing and demonstrated that they’re attractive to investors.

That could include:

Sarah Abrahams, our Head of Raising Finance, said:

“We are proud to be partnering with Crowdcube to support ambitious founders with new platform fundraises, and also providing wider growth support for its Funded Community.

“High growth businesses raising money on Crowdcube need ongoing support from a firm that is agile enough to offer a variety of services at speed, at prices that make sense, and with a consistent level of commitment, no matter the size of the company.

“Early-stage is our sweet spot and, with Crowdcube being such a big part of the UK fundraising eco-system, it makes so much sense that we are working together as leaders in our fields.

“We have been working with the Crowdcube team since day one of their own growth journey and built a fantastic working relationship, so it’s great to be able to formalise that and be an official partner heading into 2021.”

Jonathan Keeling, VP Commercial at Crowdcube, added:

“Cooper Parry is an obvious fit for us. They share our passion for helping fast growth businesses raise capital, supporting the long-term growth of our entrepreneur community. They are unique in their knowledge of the start-up space and understand the challenges of rapid growth that founders face.”

As you will be aware, the Chancellor used the recent Spring Budget to announce the successful bidders that have been approved to operate Freeports – incredible news for local business and investment into the 8 regions.

One of those sites is in the East Midlands, and Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland & Melton, said the Freeport would “turbocharge” the region.

BUT WHAT ARE FREEPORTS?

This article looks at Freeports in the context of transaction taxes, VAT, SDLT and so on. You may have heard the saying that VAT law is a “fiscal theme park”. Well, Freeports appear to try to cut through that to a degree. They are economic zones where “normal” VAT and Customs rules don’t apply… Whatever “normal” means in the world of VAT.

There is no detailed guidance released yet on the mechanics of the Freeports from a VAT, customs or SDLT perspective, but the Government’s bidding prospectus outlines the objectives, should you want the detail: Freeports Bidding Prospectus (publishing.service.gov.uk).

In essence, the Government’s objectives are:

a) To Establish Freeports as national hubs for global trade and investment across the UK;

b) To help promote regeneration and job creation – lead policy objective; and

c) To create hotbeds for innovation.

The sites will be:

CUSTOMS & VAT

The main benefit will be the ability to access valuable customs simplifications without the requirement to hold the authorisation. With a Freeport, the site operator takes on the obligations as the authorisation holder, and therefore agrees to ensure the compliance of the businesses trading on the sites. Hugely valuable, but we await the detail…

Essentially, the main focus is the ability to bring goods into the UK for processing with suspense of Customs Duty and Import VAT whilst the goods are processed. The relevant rate of Import VAT and Customs Duty would only apply on release from the Freeport if applicable. Also, the Freeports can include temporary storage and transit areas, allowing businesses to take advantage of those authorisations too. Again, the benefit being that goods can be stored and move whilst payment of Customs Duty and Import VAT is suspended for a period of time, or until moved to another location.

This does create greater trading flexibility for manufacturing or processing businesses and also offers a cash flow benefit when bringing raw materials into the UK. Also, it can be beneficial in terms of real savings where the raw materials may have higher duty rates than finished goods. It would also improve processing time, as you could receive goods via air freight, repair them in the Freeport and move them back out again very quickly.

It’s unclear what the requirements and process will be for businesses who want to trade in a Freeport, and they may vary depending on the individual port operators, but there will be HMRC requirements that will exist in the same way for each site:

WHAT ABOUT STAMP DUTY LAND TAX?

The government intends to offer SDLT relief on land purchases within Freeport sites in England where that property is to be used for qualifying commercial activity (“commercial activity” is yet to be defined but expected to be wide).

It is intended that this relief will apply from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2026. And clawback of this relief is intended to apply in cases where land is not used for a qualifying purpose within a control period – usually three years or earlier if the land is sold.

All purchasers of qualifying property and land would be able to claim this relief through the SDLT return.

KEEP ‘EM PEELED

We’ll be bringing you all the important updates as we learn more, but if you’d like to chat through, drop me a message at damians@cooperparry.com

Damian Shirley | VAT Partner

After beginning their journey towards full ownership of CPIT in 2019, Brett and Vicky Critchley purchased the remaining 50% of shares to become full owners of the business on Friday 5 February 2021.

The new business will be called “Bam Boom Cloud”. Vicky Critchley will be CEO; Brett Critchley will become Executive Chairman. And the seven-member ownership team of CPIT will remain in place, together with the talented, ninety-strong team they’ve built.

You can check out their new website here, but beyond the name, you can expect the same world-beating quality that saw them crowned 2019 Partner of the Year Winner for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and finalists for the same honour, one year on.

Ade Cheatham, our CEO, said:

“Following the part MBO back in 2019, this is the natural next step. With exciting global opportunities across the UK and US, CPIT will fully leverage their strong Microsoft relationship to the benefit of our many mutual clients. We’ll continue to collaborate on many projects, transforming clients’ IT and finance systems. I’m super excited to see the next chapter of this story unfold.”

Vicky Critchley, CEO at Bam Boom Cloud, said:

“We’re looking forward to creating our own identity and accelerate our growth as one of the finest Microsoft Dynamics partners in the world. Our unique passion for empowering SMBs will continue and we look forward to expanding our offerings and services to a larger global audience in the months to come.”

Brett Critchley, Executive Chairman at Bam Boom Cloud, added:

“Our global accomplishments are rooted in the unwavering commitment we received from Cooper Parry. Together we built a solid foundation for global success, and we can’t wait to embark on this latest part of the journey.”

cooper-parry