Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter at the Starting Over Show- “Everything you need to know about breaking up and starting over”

Many of us have experienced a painful and emotional relationship break up, and looking ahead positively can be a difficult thing to do.

Sussex Solicitors Mayo Wynne Baxter are again proud to be attending the Starting Over Show 2010. The event helps thousands of people every year in making life changing decisions after a separation, and Mayo Wynne Baxter will be offering free legal advice to visitors at the show through one to one surgeries.

The show, which was the first event in the UK of its kind, offers a multitude of expert knowledge and insight, including health tips, how to kick start your new business aspirations, financial advice, as well as being a welcoming environment for singletons of all ages and backgrounds.

Over 140,000 couples divorce each year in the UK, with the South coast providing some of the highest statistics in the country.

The separation process is often complex and emotionally draining. The knowledgeable, friendly and approachable lawyers from the Family Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter will provide expert legal advice at our surgeries during the event. Anyone with divorce, civil partnership or co-habitee issues, irrespective of your situation, can come and speak to us confidentially and without obligation or charge.

The show starts in London on the 7th March before making its way to Brighton on Sunday 28tth March. We honestly believe this is a fantastic opportunity to turn over a new leaf, start afresh and establish your personal and business ambitions, all with the support of caring and inspiring people around you.

Contact our Family Team to find out more leading up to the show, or to book your free appointment at our legal surgeries on the day of the show.

For more information visit www.startingovershow.co.uk

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Sussex Food ‘Oscars’ always leave a positive, lasting taste

I’ve been working with the farming community in Sussex for most of my career, so felt more than just a hint of pride as our food and drink producers were celebrated at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards last week.

It was a real red carpet event, attended by the great and the good in their glad rags. I was there to represent Mayo Wynne Baxter Sussex Solicitors as dignified sponsor of the Sussex Drink Producer of the Year. This was deservedly won by Hepworth Brewery in Horsham. They make the delicious Hepworth Sussex, a real ale brewed only from hops and barley grown in this county.

The winners of all seven categories are real champions and have done so much to promote local produce and I applaud them for their passion, integrity and their capacity for sheer hard work.

And hats off to the chefs and staff at the East Sussex National who created a fabulous five course meal almost entirely from Sussex produce. I was amazed at the variety and quality of what we have on our doorstep – cheese, beef, seafood, fruit, vegetables, dairy produce, beer and wine. It seems we can even produce delicious red wine, something I never would have thought possible a few years ago. Now there’s no excuse for not eating local – thank goodness I live in Sussex!

For further information and some fantastic photos visit www.sussexfoodawards.com

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

VAT and Exports - Prove It or Lose It

Small items of high value have always represented a major problem for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), since they are the favoured means by which criminals commit a simple VAT fraud. In essence, the fraud works by producing evidence that goods have been purchased or imported (which leads to a recoverable VAT charge) and then exported (so they are zero-rated on sale).

The net effect is that the VAT incurred on purchase or import is recovered. Normally there is a chain of businesses involved and, at some point, one of them ‘disappears’ having not paid the VAT due. The net result is that VAT is paid out by HMRC and this is never balanced by VAT paid to HMRC. IT equipment of various sorts and mobile phones are favoured items to use in what are described as ‘missing trader’ or ‘carousel’ frauds (the latter because the same goods can go round and round in circles, being used to commit several frauds).

Needless to say, HMRC are often very picky about the evidence of exportation they will accept as valid. Recently, they brought to court a claim for zero-rating of goods which it had been claimed had been exported. The case illustrates how HMRC can create problems for businesses which appear to be innocent parties in a chain of transactions that HMRC believe to be suspect at some point in the chain, and it sounds a warning bell for businesses that export goods.

HMRC argued that the company’s evidence for export was inadequate. The VAT Tribunal agreed, partly because the company had taken no steps to make sure it was not involved in any fraudulent transactions.

“It is absolutely critical for exporters to make sure their documentation is adequate to support their claim that goods have been exported and thus qualify for zero-rating for VAT purposes,” says David Gordon, Head of the Corporate Team at Mayo Wynne Baxter.

The exporter appealed, arguing that the Tribunal was wrong. The Tribunal had concentrated on the company’s lack of effort to make sure the transactions were not fraudulent. The company also argued that as it held a CMR consignment notice as evidence of export and this had initially been accepted by HMRC as valid, HMRC could not later refuse to accept its validity. Furthermore, HMRC had not accused the company of fraud.

The court sided with HMRC: the Tribunal’s decision that there was inadequate evidence of export of the goods must stand. Case law held that possession of a CMR consignment notice could not be regarded as conclusive proof of export. If you’re looking for expert solicitors who specialise in commercial law services, in particular surrounding VAT and fraud issues, please contact us today.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.