Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new joint taskforce designed to combat fraud in the UK.

The force will be made up of the City of London police, Financial Fraud Action UK, the Bank of England, the National Crime Agency, Cifas and bank CEOs.

The scheme aims to share intelligence and generate greater awareness for consumers of the potential risks that fraud can bring.

The taskforce will be responsible for publishing a list of the ten most-wanted criminals committing fraudulent activities.

It will also work to pinpoint intelligence gaps, identify potential fraud victims and tackle vulnerabilities in computer systems and processes, which criminals seek to exploit.

During the 12 months to March 2015, 230,630 fraudulent offences were processed by police in England and Wales.

Furthermore, an additional 389,718 fraud-related crimes were reported by industry bodies during the same period.

The Home Secretary stated: ‘Fraud shames our financial system. It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life. For too long, there has been too little understanding of the problem and too great a reluctance to take steps to tackle it.’

The latest data also reveals that CEO or ‘bogus boss’ fraud has increased over the past six months.

Steve Proffitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud, warned businesses to be on high alert: ‘Employees should be encouraged to double check everything they do and never be rushed into transferring large amounts of money, even if they do think that it’s an important task given to them by their CEO’.

 

Chancellor George Osborne’s budget targets could require him to raise taxes or make additional spending cuts, according to data contained within the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) Green Budget document.

The IFS document is published annually ahead of the Budget in March and highlights the UK’s current economic situation, as well as any challenges facing the Chancellor.

The think-tank has come to the conclusion that Mr Osborne’s pledge to balance the books by 2019/20 was a ‘very inflexible target’.

It could also have significant tax and spending implications in the event of ‘unfavourable’ economic and fiscal forecasts being unveiled, the IFS stated.

A surplus has only been run eight times in the last 60 years.

The Institute’s Green Budget document revealed: ‘Even if the Chancellor gets to the March 2019 Budget with his plans intact, past errors in official forecasts suggest that there would be more than a one-in-four chance that he would need to implement in-year tax rises or spending cuts to deliver a budget surplus in 2019/20’.

The Chancellor will present the 2016 Budget on 16 March.

 

Back in the relative warmth of the summer the Chancellor announced that from April 2016 there would be changes to the taxation of dividends.
 
Dividends have long been seen as a reward for the risk that business owners take in order to start up and run their businesses. A business owners' dividend is a reflection of the success of the business as they can only be paid when profits have been made and there is cash in the bank.

So why are the Government making this change? It's both a reflection of Government failure to cut the deficit and the fact that the relative tax efficiency of dividends over salaries make this change an easy target.

How will you be hit? Haines Watts has put together a summary of the looming changes so you can plan ahead.

Just click on the button below to view the summary on our website.

Read Summary

Mike Lloyd
Partner

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