MAKING TAX DIGITAL – PILOT SCHEME LAUNCHED

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The HMRC has today launched a pilot scheme for the new online VAT service. The Making Tax Digital scheme, which The Giftware Association has attended meetings in its initial phases, will bring all but the smallest businesses to self-manage their tax affairs in a real time online relationship with the HMRC. Today over half a million businesses are invited to try out the new system before its roll out in April 2019.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT will make it easier for businesses to manage their tax and will save them, and their agents, time which can instead be devoted to maximising business opportunities, encouraging growth and fostering good financial planning.

Sarah Ward, CEO of The Giftware Association said:

“This is great for the productivity of many SME’s, as an association we speak to so many of our members who are struggling to manage every aspect of their businesses. The MTD will help with basic tax processes and takes away human error and delay, giving more time to focus on other aspects of their businesses. As a trade association, it’s one of our jobs to educate our members and champion brilliant schemes like this and a move towards digital engagement”

From 1 April 2019, under MTD, around 1m businesses registered for VAT with a taxable turnover above £85,000 will need to keep their VAT records digitally and file their returns using MTD-compatible software.

The pilot will be made available to company whose taxes are straightforward and or tax affairs are up to date. It will have a phased roll our to more businesses throughout the year.

With many companies now using online portals for banking and stock-taking, the digital skills gap is closing and this new way of recording tax is set to narrow it further, especially amongst SME’s as it offers them the greatest opportunity to maximise the success of the MTD and the benefits it can present for UK productivity.

Theresa Middleton, Director for Making Tax Digital for Business, said:

“Millions of people are already banking, paying bills and interacting with their suppliers and customers online. Using digital tools to help businesses manage their business income and expenses and get their tax right builds on this momentum and will also help them get more control over their finances.”

Find out ore here at the HMRC website here GOV.UK. or get in touch with us at The Giftware Association.

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BREXIT UPDATE – IP AND TRADEMARKS

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The Giftware Association has been researching the rights of EU and community registered trademarks after Brexit. Brexit has brought with it many questions in relation to trade, import and export and with no clear answers yet and a back and forth between Brussels and the UK, one question that has been prominent amongst the minds of many of our designer members or members who have registered designs Is, ‘Will your EU wide IP rights still be protected if they were issued in the UK, after Brexit’? Fortunately ,we now have a bit more clarity on the subject, as on the ‘draft agreement’ of the terms of withdrawal of the UK from the EU, whilst this is still very much a draft there was a lot to be hopeful about in terms of trademarks and community designs following the UKs exit on 29th March 2019. Here are the key findings that will affect your rights and you will need to know

  • A Transition period until 31 December 2020 will ensure that EUs intellectual property regimes will continue to apply within the UK. This transition period will mean ‘business as usual’ for intellectual property rights until the end of 2020.

 

  • After the transition period, the UK has promised there will be an equivalent or ‘cloned’ version of EU trademarks and community designs registered or granted on or before 31 December 2020 without the need for re-evaluation. This should carry the same amount of protection as the current EU ones.

 

  • EU trade mark or Community design applications which are pending at the end of the transition period will not be automatically cloned. The applicant will have a period of nine months from the end of the transition period during which it can file an application in the UK with the same filing and priority dates as its EU counterpart.

 

  • The cloned UK trade mark shall not be revoked on the grounds that the corresponding EU trade mark has not been put to genuine use in the UK before the end of the transition period.

 

  • The UK shall take measures to ensure that owners of international trade marks or designs registered through the Madrid system for the international registration of marks designating the EU or through the Hague system for the international deposit of industrial designs and obtained before the end of the transition period, will continue to enjoy the same protection in the UK.

 

  • Following the transition period, the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) will not recognise the reputation of an EU trade mark which is based on use in the UK. Likewise, the UK IPO is unlikely to recognise a reputation claimed in respect of a UK trade mark if the reputation is claimed on the basis of the original EU trade mark outside of the UK. However, until the end of the transition period, a reputation claimed in respect of an EU trade mark will still apply to the UK.

 

  • IP rights which were exhausted before the end of the transition period will remain exhausted both in the EU and in the UK.

 

  • The cloned UK trade mark or design will enjoy the same protection period like its EU counterpart.

This draft has been largely welcomed by the IP community but there are still important issues that remain, the main one being that this is still a draft document, so in its very nature anything in it could live and die within the document as it goes through changes, and as Brexit is still very much up in the air, at least there are processes in place that cover IP and trademark rights.

To read more about the stance on IP issues then visit the official government website dedicated to letting you know any updates and the current state of the issue.

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BREXIT CUSTOMS UPDATE

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The Giftware Association is proud to bring you the latest news on Bexit, as much as we know of it and how it will affect our members. As there have been a couple of changes to the government over the last few weeks and new deals now on the table. Our customs expert Barbara Scott, from Customs Associates has very kindly provided us a piece on a no deal Brexit and to be prepared for any outcome.

With time running out for the UK and the EU to decide on the basis of a new arrangement for trade in goods when the UK leaves the EU on 29th March next year, businesses should be considering what the consequences may be should there be “no deal”.  Of course, we are hoping for a transition period, during which everything remains as it is today for trade both within and out with the EU, but the European Commission wishes that to end before 2021.

Currently, goods traded between the UK and EU are not subject to any import duty and, for supplies to VAT registered businesses, import VAT charges.  In the worst case scenario, ie with no deal, when you sell goods customers in the EU, they would have to pay import duties at the same rates that currently apply to non-EU imports.  Also, the goods would require an export declaration to leave the UK and an import declaration to enter the EU – this would be additional cost for your customer who may also, depending on the type of goods and the applicable rules within the EU member state of arrival, need to pay import VAT.  Similarly, for goods received into the UK from the EU, you would have to pay import charges which, initially at least, would be the same rates as those applied to goods imported from non-EU countries today.

Of course, this is not a position that either the UK Government or the EU wants, particularly because of the Irish land boundary where border controls would be unacceptable. So, what is likely?

Everything is still open for negotiation for “Day 1”, be that next March or the beginning of 2021.  It is now recognised that a “soft border” between the UK and EU facilitated by technology is not going to be available in the required timescales. The Government White Paper published last week proposes that there should be a free trade arrangement resulting in little change and certainly no customs clearances on goods moving between the UK and EU.  But, if EU or UK duty rates change (for example if the UK no longer applied high tariffs on Chinese ceramic kitchenware) there would be a complex system for dealing with imports into the UK which are destined for both the UK and EU markets; there would be the option for businesses that are authorised by HMRC as trusted traders to pay the higher rate of duty on the goods but then claim a repayment of the duty on the goods that are placed on the UK market.  The White Paper proposes that the mechanics for obtaining the repayment should be simple but clearly there would need to be robust audit processes for ensuring the correct duties are paid.

However, we need not get too excited about the detail just yet as the proposal has to get past the UK and EU politicians first!  In the meantime, we are told that HMRC is preparing for no deal as, just in case it should happen, they want to minimise disruption as much as they are able.  The European Commission has also issued a paper this week urging the customs authorities and businesses in the EU27 countries to make preparations for the worst outcome in March next year.  GA members must consider this too, especially those that have only traded within the EU before.  HMRC has promised that, as soon as it can, it will publicise what business needs to do – it’s just that, unless our politicians get a move on, there may not be much time for business to carry out those preparations.

BEST OF BRITISH – SHANGAI, BRITISH GROUP STAND

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BJGI will be working collaboratively with UKFT and BFA with Best of British in Shanghai on a group gift, jewellery, fashion, accessories and textiles stand from 18th to 21st October 2018.

International Best of Britain 1.jpgNow in its second season, Best of British is an annual hybrid trade and public-facing event which aims to present up to 250 quality British brands to Chinese buyers, professionals and consumers across all consumer goods sectors. In a market where retail is still developing, the main focus of the event is promotion to trade contacts and consumers.

Stands usually start at £4500 each but BJGI has negotiated a group stand space for BJGI members with a basic pod stand fit supplied by the show organisers for gift/jewellery/accessories (table top only) at £1500 (other options may be available at a higher cost). Please note that this is a BJGI member offer for exhibitors that are new to the show.

In addition, companies will be expected to send a representative and pay for their travel, visa and accommodation for set up and the show itself, as well as shipping of any samples but the organisers will put together a package on this. BJGI members will benefit from the members’ rate on their ATA Carnet.

In order to confirm the space, BJGI will need to have 10 companies booked and paid up by the first week of June. In addition to the pod costs, BJGI will charge a management fee to cover its travel and local costs of £300 plus VAT per company or brand and will offer an interpreter service at additional cost to be shared between the participants.

The group will be accompanied by a representative and there will be a pre-event market briefing.

Companies showing in China are strongly advised to have secured their Chinese trade marks to avoid trademark squatting. If you need advice on this, please contact Rebecca.gough@batf.uk.com

The pods will include approximately 1 m of space (to be confirmed) with a table top for gift/jewellery and/or accessories.

The event is not grant supported but the prices include a discount from the show organisers. The British Consulate General, the China Britain Business Council and the Government’s GREAT campaign are closely associated with the event as a promotion and awareness campaign of British quality in China.

Additional International opportunities

BJGI operates a comprehensive calendar of events to help UK businesses within the sector to sell internationally.  BJGI will be taking UK groups to the following events:

NY Now – New York, USA.  12 – 15 August 2018.

Paperworld/Creativeworld – Frankfurt, Germany. 26-29 January 2019.

NY Now – New York, USA. 03-06 February 2019.

Ambiente – Frankfurt, Germany. 08-12 February 2019.

Inhorgenta – Munich, Germany.  22-25 February 2019.

Hong Kong International Jewellery Show – Hong Kong. 28 Feb-04 March 2019 

For further information about Best of British or any of the events listed above, please contact Rebecca Gough, t: 0121 237 1119 or email: rebecca.gough@batf.uk.com

 

EUROPEAN REGULATION NEWS

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On the 27th March the European Commission published Implementing Regulation EU 2015/519 extending the anti-dumping duty on certain iron and steel fasteners originating in the People’s Republic of China and also consigned from Malaysia for a further five years.

Following on from a request from the European Federation for Table and Ornamental ware, this anti-dumping measure on Chinese imports, which is about the expire, is now going to continue for at least another 15 months while the Commission undertakes a review.

See the attached notice which explains what importers and producers need to do if they want to input into the review – you will need to act fast.

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Anti-Dumping Duty is an Import Duty charged as well as normal Customs Duty, and is applied across the EU. It allows the EU to take action against goods sold at less than their normal value, which is the price for ‘like goods’ sold in the exporter’s home market.

The Review identified, ”several elements of concern, including large spare capacity available in the PRC, continuation of dumping and underselling practices worldwide, planned development of production capacity, product range and product complexity in the PRC, as well as growing trade barriers in other main third countries markets”. On the other hand, the investigation said: “Union consumption has been stagnating in the last five years” leading to “a state of vulnerability of the Union industry… characterised by a certain degree of spare capacity, low profits and business uncertainty”. The Review determined that “the repeal of the measures would with all probability lead to the sudden return of Chinese dumped imports, and that this would weaken the position of the Union industry in its core market.”

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE – Commission notice 15 May 2018 ceramic tableware China ER initiation (002)