Archive for the ‘Housing Associations’ Category

Practice Note 14 on the audit of housing associations

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by Laura Farrow No Comments
Laura Farrow, Senior Audit Manager, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Laura Farrow, Senior Audit Manager, MHA Broomfield Alexander

On 30 January, the FRC issued Practice Note 14 The audit of housing associations in the United Kingdom (PN 14). The updated guidance reflects changes to the landscape in which the social housing sector operates. These stem from  reductions in grant funding and the availability of other sources of finance following the financial crisis and  governmental reforms to the welfare system.

As a result, many housing associations have diversified their activities and include more commercial activities such as care home or student accommodation. They are also taking different approaches to funding which often involve a move away from traditional bank loans towards more complex debt instruments. These changes give rise to a new and different range of audit risks. PN 14 provides guidance to auditors of housing associations on how to identify, assess and respond to these risks of material misstatement in the financial statements of housing associations.

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Housing associations to reclaim VAT on property ads

Posted on: February 20th, 2014 by Denise Roberts No Comments
Denise Roberts, Tax Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Denise Roberts, Tax Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Housing associations are in line for four years of retrospective VAT claims following an HMRC ruling that they are exempt from the VAT normally charged on advertisements for vacant properties placed on local authority Choice Based Lettings (CBL) scheme databases.

The CBL scheme allows people applying for a home to bid for properties advertised by the local authorities. Housing associations generally pay a participation fee in return for their housing being advertised on the CBL database, these fees historically being seen as liable to VAT at standard-rate. However, VAT incurred by housing associations on CBL participation fees is attributable to their provision of VAT-exempt social housing and so irrecoverable.

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Proposed VAT Cost Sharing Exemption

Posted on: May 9th, 2012 by Liz Mounfield No Comments

Our regular guest contributor, Liz Maher of Centurion VAT discusses the proposed VAT Cost Sharing Exemption.

It seems a long time in coming since it was announced in the Autumn Statement 2011  but Centurion now have sight of the Draft proposals for the introduction of this new VAT exemption for qualifying recharges, between a shared service centre and its members, to benefit from a VAT exemption treatment rather than a taxable VAT treatment. Comments about “my horse could have had a foal in same time” from me are being ignored by the rest of the Centurion team!

The draft proposals are open for consultation until the 18th May and Centurion are happy to consolidate any comments from interested parties on the plans for implementation of this VAT exemption or if you’d like to discuss the proposals as the details of its working are becoming clearer (or less opaque!).

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Defining social enterprise

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by Sarah Case No Comments
Sarah Case, Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Sarah Case, Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

In our experience there remains much confusion in the charity sector and amongst the general public about what a social enterprise is.

Say ‘Social Enterprise’ and international brands such as Fairtrade or John Lewis may spring to mind, or alternatively, smaller local organisations may be what you think of. Does it apply exclusively to charities or can it be wider and encompass those with social campaigning aims. For many the term still means nothing at all.

There are many instances of organisations and indeed private companies defining themselves as social enterprises taking advantage of current trends and expectations.

In defining social enterprise we would hope that support for such enterprises would increase with the understanding of what they are and what their aims are.

Social Enterprise UK’s definition of a social enterprise is “a business that trades for a social or environmental purpose”. Therefore private businesses whose immediate objective is to make profit should not be able to define themselves as social enterprises or hijack the term in order to increase profits.

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Social Value Bill passes through Parliament to become law

Posted on: March 1st, 2012 by Sarah Case No Comments
Sarah Case, Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Sarah Case, Director, MHA Broomfield Alexander

Charities are set to benefit as the Public Services (Social Value) Bill has been passed through the House of Lords and will now become law.

The Bill stipulates that public bodies will have to consider social and environmental benefits as well as financial aspects when awarding contracts.

It should open the door for many local charities to contribute more to their communities.

The expectation is for the Bill to become law by the summer. It will apply to all government departments, local authorities, NHS bodies and housing associations in England and Wales.

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