Cameron To Appeal To EU Summit For Action On Tax Avoidance

Prime Minister David Cameron is about to ask other EU leaders to consider joining him in the fight against tax avoidance.

This idea came to him because of the rising dissatisfaction in the UK against such companies as Google, Amazon and Starbucks that do not pay as much tax as they have to, as shown in some corporate documents.

This is one of the things recently added to the agenda not only of the UK but also of Germany and France.

According to the latest researches EU loses about 1 TRILLION euros every year because of tax evasion and avoidance and of cource some speculations with the legal documents.

This is why the PM has decided to make all EU members work together and share information with each other so that everybody knows which organizations do pay taxes and which do not.

Before the summit the PM sent to all EU leaders a letter suggesting a “multilateral automatic information exchange” on the taxes each country gathers. The UK, Italy, France, Germany and Spain already try to cooperate in the proposed way.

The declaration in support of a global tax reporting system has already been signed by the finance ministers of 17 EU countries.

Unfortunately there are still 11 nations who have not taken this step so there are fears these may try to

set up their own systems, aside from the one proposed for the whole EU.

Those who oppose the idea of more open tax reporting are Luxemburg and Austria. This is because of the fact they prefer secrecy regarding banking matters.

Last night MEPs voted in Strasbourg on some plans the aim of which is to stamp out tax avoidance.

“According to HMRC figures, in the UK alone £9 billion is lost every year which could pay for the construction of more than 600 new schools or over 50 new hospitals or pay the annual salaries of over 330,000 police officers” said Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy.”

 

HMRC to Miss Tax Credit Fraud Target, says PAC

In 2010 the government challenged HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cut fraud and error by £8bn by 2015. The predictions of the Public Accounts Committee point out that the sum will be reduced by £3bn. Can you imagine how many legal documents you can buy with this amount of money?

A new point in the tax credit system proposes that parents returning to work should get financial support.

There will be a complex system taking into account age, income, hours worked, number and age of children, childcare costs and disabilities, which will allow low-income families, apply for tax credits. HMRC has to be aware of the changes in family circumstances.

It turns out that the claimant cannot totally understand the system and HMRC has many problems with its administration.

The results from the latest figures show that one in five awards featured an error or fraud; £1.7bn of these overpayments was written off because claimants did not intend to pay it; in 2010-11- £2.3bn was lost to fraud and error; the 2015 target will be missed by £5bn.

The committee advised HMRC to improve the information it gives to claimants in letters and through its helpline, and also check more carefully the information received back.

This increased the number of checks made by HMRC and respectively the number of appeals after payments were reduced or cancelled.

Many experienced financial hardship due to delays of six to eight months.

A spokesman for HMRC said that extra checks had saved £390m and helped the accurate usage of information.

“We are also getting tougher with claimants about the proof they need to support their claims; for example on childcare costs and on school leavers,” he said.

 

Jobseekers’ Work Programme Does not Help Disadvantaged People

MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee expressed their concerns about the government’s Work Programme aiming to find job for people who could not find one for a year or more. According to them the new scheme for getting jobless people back to work does not work property mainly for those at the greatest disadvantage.

The committee announced it had serious doubts about the fact that the programme was improving, mentioning the fact that homeless people, disabled people and such with alcohol, drug and other problems were in fact being ignored and no one was eager to provide them with an employment contract.

When the scheme was launched in June 2011 it showed a really low success rate. Critics opposed to it when they found out that it missed the government’s 5.5% target as it was revealed that only 3.5% of those being part of the programme found jobs for six months or more. Most of them have filled in a Job Application form.

The main aim of the scheme is to propose to its clients such positions at which they could remain for significant amounts of time.

It cannot be hidden that the latest data point out that the outcomes have improved for the majority of the people but disadvantaged jobseekers cannot say the same thing.

What worries most of the people now is the fact that job providers would give job to those with biggest chances to find one and will not care enough for the rest who are really in need.

Dame Anne Begg, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, commented: “It is clear that the differential pricing structure is not a panacea for tackling creaming and parking. The Government must do more to ensure that the Work Programme provides effective support for all jobseekers, not just the ones who are easiest to help.”

 

An Overview on Commission Agreements

A Commission Agreement, also known as Introduction or Finder’s Fee Agreement, is  an agreement where one party (a Supplier of goods and/or services) wishes to engage another (the Introducer) to introduce potential clients for the services and/or goods in return for a Commission. In other words, the Introducer is appointed to introduce potential clients to the Supplier in order to generate more sales and increase the customer base and the Introducer will earn a Commission in return for its efforts.

Commission Agreements are essentially a type of agency agreement, under which the agent acts as a representative of its principal but has no authority to enter into contractual arrangements on its behalf. Essentially an Introducer differs from an agent as he does not directly sell the products and/or services of the Supplier but it merely introduces potential clients to the Supplier. Once the introduction is made the Introducer will steps back, it will have no further role in the relationship between the Supplier and the introduced client; the selling and supplying of the services and/or products will be carried out directly by the Supplier.

Broadly, a Commission Agreement is where one party appoints another party to find third parties who may want to purchase goods and/or services from the first party. Commission is payable to the Introducer if the third party purchases such goods and/or services.

 A Commission Agreement is necessary in order to regulate the relationship between the parties and to set out the rights and obligations of both parties.

Under a Commission Agreement the Introducer‘s main obligation is to make introductions to the Supplier, however making an introduction does not trigger commission; commission is only payable if, following an introduction, a prospective new client enters into a contract with the Supplier for the goods and/or services. This protects the Supplier as no commission is payable unless the Supplier and the introduced new client enter into a contract.

Generally in a Commission Agreement the commission fee is calculated on the basis of net income received under a contract between the Supplier and the introduced new client for a certain period (Introduction Period). Please note that the obligation to pay commission is not affected by termination of the Commission Agreement. In other words, Commission is payable after termination in respect of contracts entered into as a result of introductions made before the termination date. This arrangement protects the Introducer against the Supplier terminating the agreement in order to escape payment of commission after a particularly lucrative new client is introduced.

Another clause that is generally found in these kind of agreements provides that commission is only payable on income actually received from any contract entered into by the supplier with a prospective new client during the introduction period. This is a supplier-favourable mechanism and protects the supplier against having to pay commission on sums never received, perhaps as a result of breach by the client or early termination.

For more information on Commission Agreements and to view a Commission Agreement Template please visit: http://www.thelegalstop.co.uk/Business/Commission-Agreement.html

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the law and provision of legal services more accessible and transparent to people and businesses alike.

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Police search Commons office of MP Nigel Evans

Mr Nigel Evans-a deputy speaker of the House of Commons, was arrested earlier this month, because of sexual assault allegations, which were denied by him. Evans will not resume his duties, until an official outcome.  Ribble Valley was also questioned by the police, but he also classed the allegations as “completely false”.

After a warrant was approved by Preston Crown Court, an official search in the Commons office was conducted on Sunday. John Bercow (Commons speaker) said he considered the warrant and had taken legal advice before allowing the search.

The Lancashire Police said they had searched offices in London , adding that  they had “gone through all the appropriate and necessary procedures before taking this step”.

In a statement at the start of parliamentary business, Mr Bercow said he had been advised “there were no lawful grounds on which it would be proper to refuse its execution”.

He told MPs that the “precincts of Parliament are not a haven from the law”. “The Serjeant at Arms and Speaker’s Counsel were present when the search was conducted,” he added. “Undertakings have been given by the police officers as to the handling of any parliamentary material until such time as any issue of privilege is resolved.”

 

Elle Macpherson’s Ex-Adviser Drops Hacking Damages Claim

The claim that Elle MacPherson had handed in court against News Group Newspapers was abandoned by her former adviser. We are wondering if she has provided Elle with all necessary legal documents.

Mary Ellen Field Ms McPherson had decided to sue the publisher of News of the World, claiming that her relationship with Ms McPherson broke down because of the fact her voicemails were object of phone hacking.

According to the lawyers for News Group it could not be proved that the messages left from Ms Field had been hacked.

In 2003 Ms Field had been hired as a business adviser to Ms McPherson and after 11 alleged instances of leaking information to the press in 2005 she was dismissed from her job.

NGN’s lawyer Dinah Rose QC said: “The position is that there has never been any evidence at all that NGN hacked the claimant’s phone or hacked any other phone on which she had left a message, or that it has ever interfered at all in any way with her private information.”

Ms Macpherson was not the only victim of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who got a sentence of about six months January 2007 for giving information from voicemail messages of famous people to NoW journalists.

During the inquiry Ms Field shared that Ms McPherson had suspected her of disclosing secrets from her private life to the press.

Ms Field was sent to a US rehabilitation centre because she was accused of being an alcoholic.

On Friday Augustus Ullstein QC, Ms Field’s counsel, announced that she had no other option but to discontinue.

There is a big chance that Ms Field faces a large bill for legal costs incurred by NGN.

 

 

MPs Challenge Google Over UK Tax Reporting

Whistleblowers told Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee that Google had sold advertising within the UK and invoiced customers in the UK

Earlier Google had announced that UK customers were giving money for the Irish Google.

“No one in the UK can execute transactions,” said Google’s head of sales in Northern Europe, Matt Brittin.

He claims that “no money changes hands,” not considering the fact that he in fact employed sales staff in Britain with employment contracts.

Later Ms Hodge announced that the documentation showed clearly that the entire trading process and sales process took place in the UK.

She read from the official guide to parliamentary procedure, Erskine May: “A person prevaricating or giving false evidence can be considered to be in contempt of the House.”

She added that whistleblowers would not disappear until the whole truth about it is being revealed.

The worth of Google’s sales in the UK is £3.2bn but the major part of them came from Dublin as it gave £6m in UK corporation tax only in 2011.

It is a fact that Mr. Brittin mentioned, that each adviser in Europe would be glad to deal with

Google in Dublin, which provides job to about 3,000 people.

He said that as soon as they had come to Europe they had taken the decision that Dublin would be their headquarters.

The motive he pointed out was their wish to have access not only to the customers from the UK but to those from whole the Europe. The only way to achieve that was through Ireland as this was the place where intellectual property sat.

 

 

Record Number of 16-24s on Zero Hours Contracts at Work

Great many young people share that their jobs are insecure and the salaries they get are not based on regular hours.

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the number of the 16 to 24-year-olds whose contracts are either fictitious or absent has doubled since the economic downturn started.

The opinion of critics is that in most of the cases this leads to exploitation.

The explanation of companies is that they could leave these people unemployed but that they preferred to give them the chance to work and earn some money.

The beginning of the so-called zero hours contracts, was put on the high street in sectors like fast food and retail.

This way bosses have the possibility to change shifts each week and this is in fact legal.

Usually employees have to be available for work in the cases when they do not need a certain shift they may legally turn it down.

Vidhya Alakeson at the Resolution Foundation, which studies the labour market said such zero hours employment contracts were in some ways better as many people tried to combine studying or childcare with working so this appeared as a good option for a certain income.

In 2008 the statistics showed that this group of people was 35,000 and in 2012 it was 76,000

The 22-year-old Jessica said:
“It’s all right for students or people who live at home but if you have to support yourself then you need security and a set wage every month.”

However, the number of people who complain that they have shifts added, cancelled or changed at the last minute is also big.

Neil Carberry at the CBI said: “It’s zero hours contracts and other forms of flexible working that mean there are half a million fewer unemployed people than there might otherwise have been.”

 

A New Survey Shows Whistleblowers are Ignored

The results of a recent survey showed that managers do not respond to about 60% of the whistleblowers who voice fears about their workplace. This could be to not having a proper whistleblowing policy.

Another data given from the charity Public Concern at Work stated that 19% of the questioned 1,000 whistleblowers answered they were disciplined or demoted after speaking up.

It all started after the scandal at Stafford Hospital where hundreds of patients died because of the insufficient care no matter that some members of staff tried to raise concerns.

Not long ago three people were arrested because they had given away many details of chauffeur-driven journeys taken by Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner.

In the opinion of Public Concern at Work the effectiveness of whistleblowing in the UK is not at the level it has to be.

Something else the report talks about is the description of the “typical” whistleblower. These are usually people who had not worked for the organization for more than two years and raise their concerns twice, usually internally. About 74% of the people who took part in the survey answered nothing had changed and 60% said they did not in fact receive any kind of response.

There were a few cases of grievance raised, which made impression but later those people had serious concerns they would be dismissed.

Senior whistleblowers suffer more, while junior staff are mainly ignored.

About a quarter of those who took part in the survey said they expected better outcomes as they relied to an official regulator.

Cathy James, chief executive of Public Concern at Work said:

“Too many workers still suffer reprisals which will not only impact negatively on the whistleblower, but will deter others from speaking up and allow a culture of silence to pervade.”

 

Remove age cap on start-up loans

A proposal came from Lord Young, enterprise adviser to the prime minister, who said that British Business would revive if the age limits on the start-up loans are being changed. New conditions are expected to be included in their loan agreement.

The current age of limit is 30 years. Entrepreneur over this age should for the future be allowed to get taxpayer-funded loans so that they could start up a business.

When such loans started being floated the limiting age was considered to be 24, which will probably be stated into the loan agreement.

This was not the only recommendation of Lord Young in his Growing Your Business report. He also gave some suggestions on how to make it easier for small business to apply for £230m worth of public sector contracts.

Lord Young said: “Growing our smallest businesses would transform our economy – they are the vital 95%.”

He explained that the UK businesses would grow if given the proper possibility to. A good decision against the unemployment will come if half of the UK’s micro businesses took on an additional member of staff.

The principal policy adviser at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Hayley Conboy agreed with the mentioned report saying that if supported to grow smaller firms would become medium-sized ones.

‘Lord Young rightly identifies that the Government needs to earmark funding to effectively market existing finance and support schemes.’

Of course, not everybody reacted so positively to the new proposals. Graeme Fisher, head of policy at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), was not that excited as he stated that such schemes had to be carefully managed, otherwise they might not help the business but even confuse it more.