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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Moore Stephens says UK Autumn Statement is light on content for offshore maritime sector

International accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens says the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2015 is light on content for the offshore maritime sector, other than an unkind reference to falling oil prices. But it has highlighted a number of issues which may be of interest to the offshore maritime industry.


Sue Bill, Moore Stephens tax partner, says, “The government is to invest £1.3 billion to transform

HMRC into ‘one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations’ in the world. Most businesses

and self-employed individuals will be required to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and to

update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account. The government will consult on the

details in 2016. 


“As part of the government’s drive to encourage voluntary compliance with the tax rules, it will

legislate to introduce a new requirement that large businesses publish their tax strategies as they

relate to or affect UK taxation, as well as a special measures regime to tackle businesses that

persistently engage in aggressive tax planning and a framework for co-operative compliance. 


“The government has introduced legislation in order to counter two specific tax avoidance schemes

involving capital allowances and leasing, which involve companies artificially lowering the

disposal value of plant and machinery for capital allowances purposes.  It is also introducing a new

penalty of 60% of tax due in all cases successfully tackled by the general anti-abuse rule.  In

addition, there is a new criminal offence for corporates failing to prevent tax evasion by their



“In other measures, the government is to consult on the rules concerning distribution by companies and will introduce further anti-avoidance in order to prevent opportunities for income to be converted to capital in order to gain a tax advantage.   


“Finally, Chancellor George Osborne made an unkind reference to the reduction in oil prices, pointing out that, if Scotland had voted for independence, it would have had its own Spending Review this Autumn and that, with world oil prices falling and revenues from the North Sea being forecast by the OBR to be down 94%, there would have been catastrophic cuts to Scottish public services.  He went on to say that, thankfully, Scotland remains a strong part of a stronger United Kingdom and that it would be given the resources to invest in its long-term future.” 


Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping, offshore maritime and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 626 offices of independent member firms in 103 countries, employing 26,290 people and generating revenues in 2014 of $2.7 billion.      


For more information:                                                                        

Sue Bill                                                                                    

Moore Stephens LLP                                                                 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191                                                           

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