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Financial Director’s Budget Update

FDs of large companies are to be given a new statutory duty
to personally certify that there are adequate systems in place to perform
correct tax calculations. This responsibility will be given to “senior
accounting officers” who will themselves face a £5,000 fine if they get it
wrong. The new law is based on the internal controls sections of the US
Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
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Capital allowances are to double from 20% to 40% for one year. The move is
intended to encourage businesses to bring forward their investment plans, but
has been criticised for failing to address the problem that businesses don’t
have the necessary finance in the first place. The loss carry-back provisions
have been extended for a further year.

The Chancellor laid the groundwork for legislation that would make it
possible to change the rate of VAT for less than 12 months, sparking concerns
that he intends to raise VAT sharply after the next election.

The economy is expected to return to growth by the end of 2009, but to record
a fall of 3.5% for the year overall. In 2010, the Treasury forecasts growth of
1.25%.

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