FDs hesitant on tax sign-offs, Deloitte finds

A large proportion of UK companies are dragging their feet on addressing new
rules which hold finance chiefs to account for the tax framework at their
businesses, according to the findings of a survey published by Deloitte.

The poll of 137 senior finance and tax figures from leading UK businesses
conducted this week found 41% of companies had “done nothing to achieve
compliance” with the
Accounting Officer
rules, the Big Four firm said.

This is despite the fact only 8% are completely comfortable their
organisation could provide the necessary sign off, given their current
arrangements (compared to 4% in May).

Half of companies said VAT is the area of tax which is causing them most
concern, followed by PAYE, (23 per cent), corporation tax (19 per cent), and
Excise & Duties, (five per cent), and all other taxes (three per cent).

Alan MacPherson, tax partner at Deloitte, said: ” Almost all of the
businesses we surveyed feel they will need to do some additional work as a
result of the rules, including assessing where their risk areas are and
improving key processes.

“Whilst HMRC have worked hard to try to assure business the rules will not
have a significant impact on compliant taxpayers, businesses remain worried.”

“There is a possible silver lining though as 70% think the work they will
carry out will make their lives easier in the long run,” MacPherson added.

11 per cent are expecting a cost of £250,000 to achieve compliance with SAO
legislation while 84% predicted a bill of at least £50,000.

40% also believe the SAO legislation will not achieve its stated aim of
putting tax compliance on the agenda of the boards of UK companies.

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