Aries monitors every development in new and proposed legislation and official guidance.   Clients are kept up to date via the website, email alerts and tweets.   Aries serves as a one-stop source of intelligence on everything that is going on and coming up.   Aries doesn't miss anything of significance.

Here is a selection from our most recent headlines. You can get the fuller details by sending us an email - just click here to fire one off.

Having dropped a shoal of clauses prior to the General Election, the Government promised to reinstate them at the earliest opportunity after the summer recess.

The jettisoned material has duly arrived back on board. The Finance Bill 2017-19, or 'Summer Finance Bill'- the second Finance Bill of the current tax year so far - was published on 8 September and promptly received its First and Second Readings in the House of Commons. The House is now in recess again (it's the

Party Conference Season) until 9 October: the Committee stage of the Bill will commence on 11 October.

The Bill as introduced runs to 665 pages and contains the following clauses carried over from the first Bill:

    Clause 3 - Pensions advice; and
    Clause 7 - (reduced) Money purchase annual allowance.

345 pages of Explanatory Notes have also

been published.

Clause 3 introduces a new income tax exemption to cover the first £500 worth of employer-funded pensions advice provided to an employee (including former and prospective employees) in a tax year, backdated to 6 April 2017. It will allow advice not only on pensions, but also on the general financial and tax issues relating to pensions, allowing individuals to make . . .

15 Sept 2017  

SI 2017/868 amends The Employers' Duties (Implementation) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/4) so that they work as intended for newly-created (PAYE and non-PAYE) employers by:

  • aligning the period of deferral of Automatic Enrolment (AE) for post-staging employers with that specified in the Pensions Act 2008; and

  • ensuring that employers whose first worker is employed before 1st

October 2017 but who first pay PAYE income to a worker on or after 1st October 2017 are able to defer automatic enrolment.

Regulations 3 to 6 make consequential amendments to the Employers' Duties (Registration and Compliance) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/5).

In the Government's words: "The regulations will reduce burdens on post-staging employers when automatically enrolling workers for the first time and

support the Pensions Regulator in its enforcement of the AE duties."

These regulations follow an earlier set of amendments (SI 2017/347). This is at least the sixth time the government has discovered a need to amend the original 2010 Regs.

These latest amendments come into force on 1 October 2017. . . .

14 Sept 2017  

HMRC begin the 90th PSN, published yesterday afternoon, with news that the Annual Allowance Calculator will be updated in the autumn (which used to begin today). This is followed by a reminder for those that exceed the AA, that the deadline for declaring this via their SA tax return is 31 January 2018.

Once again, this PSN is mainly talking about relief at source for Scottish Income Tax. HMRC has specified (Appendix 1) the information it needs from pension

scheme administrators who do not currently submit annual returns of individual information electronically, to enrol them onto SDES (secure data exchange service). The final deadline is 30 September 2017. Failure to comply means you won't get the Notify RAS Report in January 2018 and you'll have to give RAS at the UK rate for all members, unless you choose to use the residency tax status look up service.

Appendix 2 carries information on the

enrolment process for SDES.

The test environment for the residency tax status look up service is available for registration.

For all transfers for members of relief at source schemes, administrators should use the residency tax status as provided by HMRC to give the right amount of relief at source. HMRC offers guidance on . . .

01 Sept 2017  

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published details of how it will generally use its powers to impose monetary penalties alongside its revised description of who it considers to be a professional trustee.

These new documents emanate from an earlier consultation, to which TPR has also published its response.

The new description of a professional trustee focuses on whether a person's

business includes trusteeship. Someone will normally be considered a professional trustee if they have represented or promoted themselves to one or more unrelated schemes as having expertise in trustee matters generally.

A remunerated trustee is not included in the above if they are, or have been, a scheme member or employed by, or a director of, a participating employer and they do not act or offer to act for any unrelated scheme.

Where those with specific expertise, those with portfolio careers and former executives are appointed as a remunerated trustee and have never held any other trustee appointments, TPR will not normally consider them to be professional trustees. However, it may take into account their remuneration and expertise when deciding whether to impose a discretionary monetary penalty and the amount of a penalty. . . .

30 Aug 2017  

Following the launch of a joint HMT and DWP consultation regarding the options for preventing pension scams, the Government has finally published its official Response. This covers three problem areas, in fact:

  • banning cold calling in relation to pensions
  • limiting the statutory right to transfer
  • making it harder to open fraudulent pension schemes

There is no draft legislation accompanying the response and no hint of when that might appear - merely "when Parliamentary time allows". More work is required on the "final and complex details". The key points that the Government will address include:

  • a ban on cold calls about pensions will cover the full scope proposed in the condoc and extend to email and texts;

  • Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to act as the enforcement agency (it will be unable to take action against overseas firms, unless the calls are made on behalf of a UK company);

  • the Government does not intend to impose criminal sanctions and custodial sentences on those breaching the cold calling . . .

25 Aug 2017