Legal changes expected in the UK in 2017
- Brexit: Article 50 has been triggered and the negotiations in relation to the future relationship between the UK and the European Union have started. Read more about Brexit developments.
- Corporation tax decrease: The UK government has announced several corporate tax-related amendments for the coming years. For example, corporate tax will be reduced further to 17 % from 1 April 2020 and, in a move relevant for offshore businesses that deal in or develop land, all profits realised by offshore property developers developing land in the UK – including developments under already-existing contracts – will be subject to UK corporate tax from 8 March 2017.
- Duty to report payment practices: From 6 April 2017, large businesses are required to publish details about their payment practices and performance on a biannual basis on a government web service. The purpose of this measure is to help reduce the £41.5 billion overdue payments owing to small and medium sized enterprises by large businesses. The companies affected are those that fall into at least two of the following categories: an annual turnover of at least £36 million; a balance sheet total of at least £18 million; and/or over 250 employees.
- AML developments: The Anti-Money Laundering Directive 4 and the accompanying Wire Transfer Regulations are expected to apply from June 2017. They expand the current AML regime scope, strengthen the current counter-terrorist financing rules, and increase transparency of beneficial ownership.
- Introduction of the Criminal Finances Bill: The Criminal Finances Bill 2016 ("CFB") is likely to be enacted in autumn 2017. The CFB has been widely reported on due to the nature of the changes (specifically, new corporate offences) it plans to introduce. For instance, the CFB contains a new corporate crime of failing to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion and failure to prevent the facilitation of foreign tax evasion. While tax evasion and its facilitation are already criminal offences, it has previously been difficult to attribute liability to companies as prosecutors were required to prove the involvement and awareness of the illegal activity by senior members of the relevant company. Companies –particularly those in the financial and professional services industry – are advised to start introducing preventative procedures if they don't already have them.
- Review of Corporate Governance Code: A full review of the UK's Corporate Governance Code is underway, with the primary purpose to increase accountability, transparency, and to build upon existing good governance practices. Read more about the review.
- Interest rate reform: In the wake of the LIBOR scandal, inter-bank offered rates are expected to undergo reform in 2017 to mitigate risk. The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has recently announced that SONIA is its preferred near risk-free interest rate benchmark for use in sterling derivatives and relevant financial contracts. More changes are expected in the benchmark reform process.
Følg Jurainfo.dk på LinkedIn og Facebook