Newswire April 2020

  • By Mercia Group
  • 30 April 2020 00:00

It has been a busy month in tax with rafts of new guidance and legislation aimed at supporting individuals and businesses through the operational challenges posed by COVID-19. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme generates two new questions for every one answered but it is great to hear stories of these valuable grants now hitting business bank accounts.

Of course, we’ve also got the Finance Bill making its way through Parliament and our tax team are looking forward to seeing you on our Finance Act Mercia Live courses running in May and June.

As you might expect, the A&A news is also dominated by COVID-19 reliefs and guidance this month as regulators, professional bodies and others continue to roll out their responses for businesses and accountants alike.

Latest tax and accounting products


COVID-19 – Keeping up with the tax
Specialist Charity Newsletter

Keep your charity clients informed with this digital news roundup. In addition to the usual latest accounting, taxation and governance issues affecting charities, the Spring 2020 edition focuses on issues affecting the charity sector as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Upcoming conferences

Accountancy Practice Conference

21, May, 2020

Healthcare Conference 

4 June, 2020

Academies Conference

18 June, 2020



FRC and professional body coronavirus updates

The FRC has created a page on its website that links to a number of its COVID-19 responses. These include:

• Guidance for companies and auditors during Covid-19 crisis
• Information on AGMs and the impact of COVID-19
• Information on modifications to auditor’s opinions and reports

Professional bodies such as the ICAEWICAS and ACCA also have hubs on their respective websites containing resources relating to COVID-19 issues.  Mercia Members also have free access to Mercia’s COVID-19 Resource Package.  A wide range of articles, including guidance for specialist sector entities can also be found on our blog.

Company accounts filing temporary reliefs

Further to Companies House temporarily pausing the strike off process, providing the ability to apply for an automatic and immediate 3-month accounts filing extension and noting that late filing penalty appeals due to COVID-19 will be “treated sympathetically”, the FCA has also extended its normal deadline for publishing fully listed company accounts from four months to six, and AIM is allowing its members nine months instead of their usual six, subject to application. 

Proposed changes to leasing standard

The IASB is proposing changes to IFRS 16, its new leasing standard, to respond to changes in rent structures related to COVID-19.  Usually lessees and lessors would need to assess whether changes like these constituted lease modifications that would need special accounting treatment, but the IASB acknowledges that this could be considerable work and is planning to offer a practical expedient to lessees so that they would not need to assess COVID-19-related rent relaxations as modifications to leases, but instead as a "negative variable lease payment" meaning that any impact would be recognised in the period in which it occurs. The Exposure Draft will have a short 14-day comment period to allow the changes to be effective as soon as possible. 

Updated auditor reporting bulletins

The FRC has issued three new auditor reporting bulletins:

• Bulletin: Illustrative Statutory Auditors Reports on United Kingdom private sector financial statements
• Bulletin: Auditor’s Reports on Revised Accounts
• Bulletin: Miscellaneous Companies Act Reports 
The first of these Bulletins is the one most commonly used in practice and has been updated to include example auditor’s reports under revised auditing standards effective for audits of financial statements with periods commencing on or after 15 December 2019.  




Capital Gains Tax payment for UK property sales

HMRC have released their online portal  for reporting and paying Capital Gains Tax after selling a residential property in the UK from 6 April 2020. To read more, please click here.

Revenue and Customs Brief 1 (2020): VAT liability of digital publications - Upper Tribunal in News Corp and Ireland Ltd 

This Brief confirms that HMRC’s VAT treatment of supplies of digital newspapers and other digital publications has not changed following the Upper Tribunal decision in News Corp UK and Ireland Ltd. It also explains how organisations can submit claims for overpaid VAT and protect their position. To read more, please click here.





Our COVID-19 Resource Package

Designed to help your client facing teams keep up to speed with the business and individual impacts of COVID-19 related Government announcements and legislation, our COVID-19 technical resources online package is available to purchase now.

Access bitesize videos, podcasts, technical guidance, FAQs and more, including:

• Resources on how to support your people and colleagues
• The latest auditing and accounting considerations
• Links to HMRC guidance
• Guidance on available government schemes

Our package will provide you with the essential updates you need, all in one place, saving you time so you can focus on your clients. As guidance continues to change on an almost daily basis, content will be updated as further details and interpretations become available.

This new resource is FREE to Mercia members and can be accessed by logging into your account and clicking on the COVID-19 link within the ‘My packages’ area of 'My Account'.

Helping to keep your business moving 

We have also created a dedicated webpage where you will find a number of free resources, updated regularly, and more information of relevant services to help you during this period. If you have any queries please contact us via your preferred way.

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