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Need To Know: Your Business Updates for February 2019

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Welcome to the February 2019 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on Intellectual Property, trademarks, Brexit preparations and finance.

Intellectual Property after Brexit
The Government has confirmed that parts of the UK’s Intellectual Property law will change when the UK leaves the European Union on March 29, especially in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Businesses will be affected if they;
• currently own IP, such as copyright, patents, designs and trade marks.
• are involved in the secondary trading of IP-protected goods between the UK and EEA markets.
• operate or rely on cross-border services involving copyright-protected content in the UK and EU

In some cases, businesses may need to take immediate action in order to prepare for a no deal scenario. If you do need to take immediate action, you can find guidance here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ip-and-brexit-the-facts/ip-and-brexit

In the case of a no deal Brexit, there may be restrictions on the export of goods from the UK to the EEA. Businesses undertaking such activities may need to check with right holders to see if permission is needed.

For  more information click here; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/intellectual-property-after-brexit?utm_source=ac27e863-8fb8-4983-963b-0864f647aec2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=weekly

Trade marks: delays to notification 
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued a warning that it is currently taking longer than normal for confirmation emails to be sent out after a trade mark application is submitted.

The following forms are affected:
• Apply to register a Trade (TM3)
• Give notice of your intention to oppose a trade mark (TM7A)
• Renew your trade mark (TM11)
• Response to Right Start TM examination letter (TM3S)
• Response to TM examination letter (TM3B)

This delay does not mean that there is an issue with specific applications. The delay is only affecting how quickly you receive the initial notification email.


Thames Water fined £2m for “foreseeable and avoidable” pollution
Thames Water has been fined £2million after raw sewage polluted two Oxfordshire streams, killing almost 150 fish. The sewage also flooded a nearby garden.

Judge Peter Ross, at Oxford Crown Court on 21 December, ruled the incident in 2015 as a high-end, category three harm offence.

Numerous failures in the management of a sewage pumping station operated by the company led to sewage created by two villages emptying into two brooks leading to the River Evenlode, a tributary of the River Thames, for up to 24 hours.

Judge Ross found Thames Water were “reckless” in polluting Idbury and Littlestock brooks at Milton-under-Wychwood, near Chipping Norton, on 8 and 9 August 2015.

Self-assessment deadline: hundreds of thousands are late
More than 700,000 taxpayers missed their required deadline of January 31 to file their accounts with HMRC.

It is possible to dispute automatic penalties, with the Low Income Tax Reform Group reminding people that they can appeal if they missed the deadline date.

Those with a reasonable excuse, as judged by HMRC, may have their fine lifted.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: ‘This year, we had a record numbers of filers completing their tax returns by the deadline. And for any customers who are yet to file their returns, please contact HMRC – we are here to help.’
HMRC is urging any taxpayer that missed the deadline to contact the tax authority.

HMRC says it will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders.

Property investors upbeat for 2019

Research from MT Finance found property investors are remaining resilient despite a backdrop of uncertainty and squeeze on affordability. 

Of those polled, over 80 per cent said they will increase their portfolios in 2019, with 20 per cent maintain their current level. No one declared their intention to reduce their UK portfolio.

The investors indicated that the main area of focus will be outside of the London market, as they seek to broaden into the wider UK market and away from the expensive capital.
Gareth Lewis, commercial director, MT Finance, said: “The UK property market has seen a reduction in high value purchase transactions. This is reflected in the latest data from HMRC, who revealed stamp duty receipts fell by £1 billion last year.


Read more here; https://bestadvice.co.uk/uk-property-investors-stay-upbeat-despite-uncertainty/

Firm drops need for personal guarantees for finance 
Scottish Pacific Business Finance says SMEs can apply for its standalone trade finance facility, ‘Tradeline’, without a personal guarantee.

The Australian-headquartered lender says the removal of the personal guarantee makes it easier for companies to access Scottish Pacific’s facilities, which in turn will allow the lender to grow the number of businesses it supports across the UK.

The Tradeline facility ranges from £25,000 to £1m.

You can read more here: https://bestadvice.co.uk/sme-lender-removes-need-for-personal-guarantees/

MPs blast retrospective loan charge

A cross-party group of MPs have forced an amendment to the 2019 loan charge legislation, which applies retrospective fees on umbrella arrangements.

Contractors will be familiar with IR35, which was designed to tackle ‘disguised employment’. Some sought safety from IR35 using arrangements that involved tax loopholes.

But the tax authority has been closing these technical loopholes since 2010 and, in 2017, the Finance Bill introduced a 2019 charge on disguised remuneration.

Sir Ed Davey MP has now tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill that has forced the Treasury into reviewing the loan charge’s impact.


However, as the review will not be until the end of March, with the new law becoming effective from April 5, it is not yet clear if the retrospective charges will be applicable.

You can read more about the issue here; https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2019/01/retrospective-2019-loan-charge-unacceptable-say-mps/