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IR35 pandemonium and FCA data breach: week in news

IR35 pandemonium and FCA data breach: week in news

As the UK braces itself for another storm the markets are still reeling from the knock-on effect of the spreading Coronavirus. 

Closer to home it was equally stormy as the FCA found itself in breach of rules and the new chancellor faced fresh fury over the Treasury's review of incoming tax changes.  

It's time for the week in news: 

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1 Stormy IR35 review

The controversial tax rules held their place in the headlines this week as the Treasury published its review of the incoming changes to IR35 rules.

Rishi Sunak's promise that HMRC would not be “heavy handed” during the first year of changes to off-payroll working rules came to fruition on Thursday (February 27) when the Treasury confirmed no penalties would be given for inaccuracies in the 12 months following April. But the decision to proceed with the reform, despite calls for the move to be scrapped, was met with criticism that it was "disappointing albeit unsurprising".

IR35 has already claimed a number of victims.

In the latest case out this week, TV presenter Eamonn Holmes lost his battle against HMRC after a judge deemed his contract with ITV amounted to employment. Judge Harriet Morgan ruled Mr Holmes was employed by TV station ITV and therefore liable to pay tax under the taxman's rules. 

2 FCA in data breach 

The regulator admitted it had referred itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office this week, after it had published the  confidential details of consumers on its website in a data breach in November last year. 

In response to a Freedom of Information request the FCA admitted it had mistakenly published on its website the details of individuals who had made a complaint to the regulator between January 2018 and July 2019.

In some instances these details included names, addresses, telephone numbers and also the nature of the complaint.

3 Hands off pension tax

Both the former Brexit secretary and the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned new chancellor Rishi Sunak to keep his hands off pension tax relief this week. David Davis told the new Chancellor that raiding the tax relief system in his upcoming Budget would be a "moral disgrace and an economic farce".

The IFS said the chancellor should instead stick his nose in the "ludicrously generous" tax treatment of inherited pensions.

The think tank said a "better" option to improve the taxation of pensions would be to reduce the tax-free lump sum which is currently set at 25 per cent, impose national insurance contributions on employer contributions to pensions and end the tax treatment of inherited pensions.

4 Dog-eat-dog culture at advice firms

The warning bell was sounded this week (February 26) over the possibility perks, incentives and targets at large networks and advice companies could create a culture where advisers found themselves in a "dog-eat-dog world". 

Advisers who had worked within a structure of league tables, weekly targets and coveted prizes for boosting sales told FTAdviser it created a scenario of "all about the shareholder" and "never about the clients".