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Commercial property owners are known to be missing out on significant levels of tax relief because of one common mistake – a failure to review the capital allowances position in respect of their asset.

Commercial property may be used in their trade or as an investment, owned personally, in partnership, or in a company; but in which ever guise, commercial property can provide an invaluable source of tax relief.

That was the message from Gary Devonshire, East Midlands-based senior tax manager for international accountancy firm Mazars.

“There are real benefits to be had by acting now,” he stressed.

UK commercial property owners are entitled to claim tax relief on items fixed within the commercial property (“fixtures”) that qualify for capital allowances. Examples of which are lighting, heating, air-conditioning systems, water systems and toilet and kitchen facilities to name but a few.

Rates of capital allowances on “qualifying assets” range from 8-100 per cent, depending on the nature of the assets and the date they have been acquired. The available tax relief is therefore spread over time in many cases.

So, for example, if a property is purchased for £4 million and £1 million of the cost is attributed to qualifying fixed assets; tax benefits of up to £450,000 could ultimately be obtained if an individual or partnership (including an LLP) owns the property and £200,000 if it is held within a company.

This aspect of tax planning has however become more complicated in the event of a commercial property transaction due to recent Government changes to the capital allowances legislation.

Mr Devonshire said: “As a result of this change in legislation, it has become vitally important to probe the capital allowances history of a property prior to any transaction completing. This may help buyers to maximise the valuable capital allowances they can claim and on the other side of the coin, assist sellers by maximising their sale value.

“The vendor may or may not have made a claim in respect of these assets and the position needs to be clarified. Failures on their part to either reveal any historic claims made or make a claim themselves, can remove the ability for the purchaser to claim this valuable tax relief. This not only affects the tax position of the purchaser but it can also affect the future re-sale value of the property. These are significant issues.

“The effect of this change in legislation is that capital allowances need to be placed at the forefront of any significant commercial property transaction. If you are either thinking of selling, or buying a commercial property of significant value in the near future, then please ensure the capital allowance position is reviewed and advice taken at the earliest stage. Failure to do so can have a detrimental effect.

“Capital allowance claims can still however be made in respect of commercial property that has been owned for significant time periods, providing it can be demonstrated that there has not been a claim made previously by the current or previous owners. This involves a review of all the legal documentation available in respect of historic commercial property acquisitions.

“This exercise is not time barred at the moment and you can go back as far as you wish, but as with any piece of tax planning, HMRC can change the landscape quickly.”

Turning to property refurbishment, Mr Devonshire added: “Many commercial property owners and in some cases tenants; do not review their refurbishment costs carefully. Refurbishments can contain significant levels of assets qualifying for capital allowances and this can benefit the future post tax profit streams significantly.”

And on finance, he noted: “With bank funding still restricted in many cases, capital allowances can provide the lender with additional comfort in terms of the ability of the borrower to service the debt. Capital allowances reduce the profit levels of the business or investor and as such if this information is presented to the bank correctly, they may be willing to soften their lending criteria in marginal cases.”

In broad terms, if you either own or are about to purchase or indeed sell, commercial property of a substantial value, please seek advice. Failure to do so can have a significant tax and commercial effect.


Mazars is pleased to announce that it has strengthened its Receivables Management team with the appointment of Rob Cresswell.

Rob joins the Midlands team of the accountancy and business advisory firm as a Receivables Manager. He will be based out of the Birmingham office from where he is responsible for serving clients in the Central Region to include Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Milton Keynes offering assistance with their finance requirements.

Rob brings 17 years’ experience in the financial sector where he demonstrated a particular focus on Invoice Finance. He held a number of client facing positions within large corporate companies and brings knowledge in audit, survey, relationship management and new business. During his time in the banking sector, Rob built up experience in managing high value exposure clients in the SME sector where he helped Invoice Finance facilitate growth for his UK and European customers.

With an important aspect of his new role surrounding new business and recurring work, Rob’s experience will suit and fit with that expected of Mazars.

Adam Simpson, National Director, Receivables Management team at Mazars said: “We are delighted to welcome Rob to the Mazars team. He displays considerable experience and provides the appropriate skillset which can be transferred to the Midlands team to become a valuable addition.”

Simon Chandler, Partner, Business Recovery Group, Birmingham added: “Rob brings vast experience with him which we can leverage across the team here in Birmingham and our local clients. He will be a welcomed addition and I wish him well as he settles into his new role.”


Mazars has netted new client GMS Group run by two former professional footballers.

The international accountants and business advisers have been appointed auditors and advisers with a brief to help the firm grow.

GMS Group offers a range of services that include security services, void property management, utility management, debt recovery and pre-litigation legal services.

GMS has long term relationships with high profile clients such as Jaguar Land Rover, Poundland, Triumph Motorcycles, PWC, Grant Thornton and GVA to name but a few.

The business is headed by CEO Neil Male – his brother Andy is also a director.

Dudley born and bred, both were on the books of Wolverhampton Wanderers until the age of 16, Neil joined Torquay, Andy went to Port Vale, but both had to give up the game soon after following serious knee injuries.

“I was on the scrapheap – where do you go in life when your dream is shattered by the time you are 19,” said Neil. “You have to pick yourself up.”

He joined HSBC Invoice Finance managing thirty SME businesses from a credit management perspective. He “stumbled” into the security industry in June 2000 when he was headhunted by the two original shareholders of GMS whom had incorporated the company in 1997, he quickly rose through the ranks, showing a natural talent for leadership gained from being captain on the football field, and subsequently in 2005 led a restructure and management buyout for him to take over.

Married with two children, Neil recalled: “It was a huge risk at the time but my wife supported and clearly believed in me. My son was only nine months old and I took on a £250,000 personal guarantee with £50,000 equity taken out on my house to invest in GMS.”

As of today GMS Group, based on the Harris Business Park, Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, employs 400 staff and has a turnover of £10 million, looking to reach £15 million in 3-5 years.

GMS have appointed Mazars in the East Midlands because of prior connections with partners Bob Johnson and Paul Bevan.

Mr Male said: “We have a strong presence in the West Midlands but we want to strategically grow in the East Midlands and on a national aspect either organically or by acquisition”.

“In terms of Mazars, individuals like Bob and Paul are key when it comes to the entrepreneurial aspect. We needed people who could understand our business and our target audience, and help us grow. We wanted someone more creative than the typical accountancy firm.

“We look to deliver excellence in every aspect of our business and we are recognised for the calibre of our employees, our business and personal ethos, our reliability and our integrity. Mazars is the same.”

Mr Johnson said: “It is an amazing success story and a shining example of how, if for whatever reason as a young lad you don’t quite make it, there is life after football.

“Neil has challenged us to go the extra mile to work with him and help develop his business … and we intend to do just that.

“We are very excited to be on the team.”

Neil and Andy remain big football fans. Andy has stuck with Wolves but Neil’s allegiance is West Bromwich Albion. Both live in the Black Country.


Three of the East Midlands’ top professional firms have played key roles in the project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One by “planting” over 800,000 ceramic poppies at The Tower of London.

The Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red exhibition, by Derby-based artist Paul Cummins, involves 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies, one for each British and Colonial death during the conflict. The final poppy will be installed on Armistice Day on November 11.

The poppies, which were available to purchase through the official “Tower of London Remembers” website http://poppies.hrp.org.uk/, have now all been sold, raising millions of pounds for six service charities; The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes, Cobseo, Combat Stress, Coming Home and SSAFA.

Three professional firms from the East Midlands, accountants Mazars and lawyers Geldards LLP and Howes Percival LLP represented most of the key parties involved in bringing the project together.

Bob Johnson of accountants Mazars in Leicester, is representing Paul Cummins and his company and at Mazars’ London office James Smalley is providing ongoing accountancy services for the Community Interest Company (CIC) “Paul Cummins Ceramics Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red CIC”.

The CIC is the body responsible for selling and despatching the poppies once the installation is closed and ultimately distributing the proceeds of the exhibition to charity.

Chris Rees and his team at Howes Percival LLP in Leicester are the lawyers acting for the CIC and Sarah Hooker, Simon Davers, Michelle Craven-Faulkner and a wider team at Geldards LLP in Derby, are the lawyers representing Paul Cummins and his company.

Bob Johnson, partner in the Leicester office of international accountants and business advisers Mazars said: “I am very proud of the role Mazars have played in successfully bringing together an event of such national and international significance. Seeing it come to fruition has been very exciting.

“Although the project has been two years in the making I have worked closely with Paul Cummins since April and it has been an interesting and rewarding experience to help a renowned and talented local artist bring his concept to reality.

“Mazars will continue to provide accounting support services to the CIC that has been established to collect the income from the sale of the poppies and ensure that as much money as possible is passed on to charity.”

Law firm Geldards LLP provided advice on a number of legal aspects relating to the project.

Sarah Hooker, a Senior Associate in the firm’s Commercial team, explained: “A number of the firm’s specialist legal teams have been working closely with Paul Cummins over the past few months and we’re delighted to have been able to help and support this ambitious and inspiring installation.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside Paul and as he identifies other exciting opportunities in the future.”

Chris Rees, who heads Howes Percival’s’ Corporate and Commercial Team in Leicester, is the Partner leading the team of specialist lawyers who have provided round-the-clock support to the new CIC.

He commented: “It is such a privilege to be involved in this project, especially as it is for such a good cause and honours the sacrifice made by all the British and Colonial servicemen and women who died throughout the First World War.

“The project also showcases that the East Midlands has a great professional community capable of working on large projects like this one which are recognised on the World stage. Howes Percival, Geldards and Mazars are all based in the East Midlands and have undertaken core advisory roles ensuring the success of this ambitious installation.”

Artist Paul Cummins praised the contribution of the professional team working on the financial and legal aspects of the project.

“Mazars, Geldards and Howes Percival have provided wide-ranging expert support to this project which has culminated in a successful launch supported by the British Royal Family and reported on by media all over the World.

“There’s a lot of behind the scenes work to do on a project of this scale and the teams were on call finalising preparations even in the early hours of the morning of the official launch on the 5th of August. I would like to thank all of the individuals and companies involved for their contribution in helping this remarkable project come together.”

When the exhibition closes each ceramic poppy will be carefully cleaned and packaged before being sent to those who have bought them as touching mementos of this 100 year anniversary. All net proceeds plus a guaranteed 10% from every poppy sold will be shared equally amongst the six service charities. Historic Royal Palaces, the CIC and Paul Cummins Ceramics will not profit from the sale of the poppies.


International accountancy firm Mazars has taken on 14 new staff as it continues to expand in Birmingham.

It pushes office number to nearly 130 and recruitment is on-going. Overall staff numbers have increased by 32 per cent in four years since Mazars moved into the new Birmingham office.

The team has been boosted by experienced professionals Matthew Beaman, part of Mazars Employee Benefits, and Emma Robotham in VAT.

Also arriving is a host of graduate trainees and school leavers.

Appointed senior client manager, Mr Beaman was formerly head of international pensions at Grant Thornton’s Employee Benefit Consultancy.

He specialises in UK and international pensions and pensions governance, focusing on employee benefits strategy and design to drive employee education engagement.

“My passion is providing effective global solutions to common problems faced by financial and human resource directors – to consistently raise the bar and lead the field with innovative strategies for client companies,” he commented.

”Increasing premiums, demanding pensions regulation and deepening employment legislation worldwide mean escalating costs, less control and greater risk facing today’s employer.

”It is about offering previously unconsidered strategies and opportunities to maximise efficiencies and join the dots.”

Ms Robotham has joined from HM Revenue & Customs where she spent 14 years.

She was involved in investigations work including supply chain fraud in areas such as alcohol, mobile phones and labour provisions.

Appointed an assistant manager, she is now seeking solutions for those facing VAT disputes and penalties.

She said: “This is a new challenge and I will be utilising my contacts and experience to the benefit of clients.”

Mazars also welcomes to its Birmingham office new starters in external audit – Zunaid Bakawala, Zahid Khan, Toni Loizou, Louisa Abbey, Thomas Boss, Saira Hussain and Abrar Chowdhury.

The governance, risk and internal controls department welcomes Eleanor Taig.

In tax there are Jonathan Clare and Alexander Rigg.

And the recruits are completed by Mille Watling, outsourcing, and Thomas Robbins, forensic investigation service.

Office managing partner Lee Cartwright said: “This reflects growth across the board … and we still need more people.”

The office has been growing fast with increasing work levels and significant numbers of new clients.


Midlands companies need to maximise their R&D and Patent Box tax entitlements, according to experts at international accountancy firm Mazars.

Mazars, along with patent attorneys Swindell & Pearson Ltd, are inviting businesses to a briefing on these latest tax mitigation and intellectual property protection opportunities.

It takes place on Monday, November 10, at the Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport.

Entitled “Tax Relief? It’s Patently Obvious”, the breakfast event will be addressed by Gary Devonshire, Senior Tax Manager at Mazars, and Michael Skinner, Chartered Patent and Trade Mark Attorney at Swindell & Pearson.

The phasing in of the new Patent Box regime began last year and becomes fully effective from April 2017, eventually reducing corporation tax on relevant IP profits to 10 per cent.

It runs alongside the existing R&D tax credit system and will increase the number of organisations that benefit from innovation based tax relief’s, including those involved in product design and manufacturing.

The two regimes form a cycle for innovative companies to obtain significant tax benefits from the activities they undertake, from product creation to IP protection.

Mr Devonshire said: “With the Midlands being the manufacturing heartland of the UK, with a reputation for innovation, the R&D and the Patent Box tax relief’s can be hugely beneficial for many companies”.

“Patent Box applies to UK companies that own European patents or hold exclusive licences to use them. If you own protected IP for a small component of a larger non-patented product, your organisation could be eligible for a significant corporation tax reduction based on the sale of the whole product”.

The Patent Box relief applies to all protected IP related income including sales, licence fees, royalties, IP rights transactions, infringement incomes, damages and other compensatory receipts.

“I don’t think companies yet recognise just how broadly the Patent Box tax relief will be applied,” said Mr Devonshire. “This is an enormous opportunity for organisations across the product design, manufacturing and technology industries.

“Companies need to check they have the accounting systems in place to capture the information that will enable them to calculate the relevant profits that fall within the Patent Box”.

He added: “This is an opportunity to network with like-minded businesses while either gaining an insight, or revisiting both R&D tax credits and the Patent Box.

The event runs from 8.30am until 11am. Interested parties should contact Alison Beddow on alison.beddow@mazars.co.uk or 0116 2816500.


The corporate finance team in the Birmingham office of international accountancy firm Mazars has advised APSU TWP Ltd (APSU), a provider of IT managed services and an IBM Premier Business Partner, on a £7 million investment by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), the independent company established to help Britain’s growing businesses.

BGF’s investment will enable APSU, which has its headquarters in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, to recruit technical personnel in the UK to support overseas customers and build a bigger sales and operational capability to address the US and other overseas markets.

APSU also plans to target selective acquisitions to enhance its service offering, both in the UK and internationally.

Mazars corporate finance partner Nick Johnson and director Stephen Harris advised the company.

Nick Johnson said: “APSU is a terrific business which is aiming to grow rapidly.

“This is a significant injection of cash to help it achieve its ambitions. We were very pleased to be able to advise them.”

APSU is forecasting a turnover of £25 million next year and is a leader in delivering IBM solutions to the UK market. Its service portfolio covers technical consultancy, procurement, managed services, in-store and on-line retail solutions, cloud hosting, physical co-location and software asset management. In 2013 it was recognised as one of the fastest growing IT companies in the UK by the Sunday Times Tech Track 100.

The company was formed in 2011 by CEO Steve Morris from the merger of AssurIT with Apex Computers International Limited.

Mr Morris commented: “The investment by BGF will provide the platform to build upon our exceptional growth as APSU develops and expands our unique feature-rich, cloud-based offerings for the UK, Europe and worldwide markets.

“APSU has an exciting and profitable future ahead and I very much look forward to working with BGF, as well as continuing to work with our customers and partners, both in the UK and internationally, to ensure that we exceed market expectations for both innovation and quality of services.”

Nick Johnson added: “This is the latest of a number deals advised by Mazars’ corporate finance team in the Midlands with several currently in progress in what is becoming a very healthy pipeline.”


The specialist on-the-ground support available to the East Midlands’ 250,000 family-owned businesses from advisory network Families in Business (FiB) has been boosted by accountancy and business advisory firm Mazars, which has signed-up to the organisation as an Approved Adviser.

As an Approved Adviser, Mazars will provide accountancy and wealth advice to FiB’s family business members network in Nottingham, Leicester and across the wider East Midlands.

“It is vital family businesses have access to the very best, trusted advisers that truly understand the challenges faced by family firms,” comments Dani Saveker, CEO of FiB, “and the team at Mazars in Nottingham and throughout the East Midlands have an impressive track record of working with businesses in the sector. They represent an excellent addition to our growing network of advisers.

“A FiB survey of East Midlands’ family businesses carried out earlier this year revealed succession and growth as their greatest concerns. Planning and bringing in trusted advisers at an early stage is critical to support them in overcoming these issues. Mazars is a perfect fit for FiB and the East Midlands’ family firms, with their hands-on experience and understanding of issues such as shareholder agreements and how to help them future-proof the business for the next generation.

“FiB is focused on supporting business leaders and stakeholders within family businesses with the ‘nitty gritty’ of day to day life in and around their business,” says Dani, “it’s about our team and our Approved Advisers rolling sleeves up and understanding what matters most to them. Having known Alistair and his team for a number of years we are thrilled that he now brings his energy, passion for family owner businesses, and support to the wider FiB network as he leads the Midlands Mazars initiative.”

Alistair Wesson, Nottingham and East Midlands Managing Partner at Mazars, explains: ‘’Family businesses are the heartbeat of the local, regional and national economy. In the East Midlands we predominantly advise family owned businesses and take great pride in helping them develop their strategies and adding to their success.’’

“We know that 77 percent of privately-owned businesses in the East Midlands are family owned,” adds Dani, “and the high number of family firms need a community like FiB that connects them with tailored advice, consultancy, support and a trusted network, of which our advisers are an integral part.”

Mazars is set to become a FiB Approved Adviser in the North West next month, when FiB will launch in the region with an event in Liverpool for local family businesses and advisers.

FiB delivers focused consultancy, membership, events and tools tailored to the needs of family and owner managed businesses, and its national network of advisers is a vital component of its specialist support for the UK’s family business sector.

Family businesses account for two in every three of the UK’s private enterprises, with three million family businesses in the UK employing over nine million people that contribute almost a quarter of all GDP to the UK economy and have a combined annual turnover of £1.1 trillion.


International accountancy firm Mazars is reinforcing its long term commitment to Nottingham with a move into the city centre business quarter.

The firm is moving from its current base in Cartwright House, Tottle Road, to Park View House, 58 The Ropewalk, in central Nottingham on Monday, November 3.

Mazars will occupy the top two floors of the building and East Midlands managing partner Alistair Wesson said the move had been driven by two factors.

“Client demand and a consequent growth in staff numbers has led us to move into a new city centre office,” he said.

“This decision demonstrates our long term commitment to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire as we feel it is essential for the city’s core advisers to be at the heart of the business community.

“Both nationally and internationally, Mazars is committed to offering our clients a high quality service. Our move into the central Nottingham business quarter is about providing real choice for businesses in the East Midlands marketplace.

Mazars has been growing rapidly in the East Midlands throughout 2014, with a new Leicester office in February.

Staff numbers have increased rapidly with the Nottingham roll call approaching 50.

Alistair Wesson added: “The decision to move offices, with the disruption and cost it entails, was not made lightly.

“But with a vastly enhanced team in Nottingham and Leicester, we are now very well placed to providing existing and new clients in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire with a full service offering we believe is not matched in the marketplace.”


East Midlands firms, particularly SMEs, could be missing out on vital grants to help fund their growth, business advisers at international accountancy firm Mazars are warning.

Alistair Wesson, Mazars’ East Midlands managing partner, said: “There is a wide range of grants available for a number of sectors, with different criteria to be met in each case.

“On first sight, it looks a bit of a minefield and we feel that this is proving offputting to a number of businesses, particularly those smaller ones where the owner/manager tends to be very hands-on on a day to day basis.

“But there is money available out there that could make a significant difference both to how you fund your growth plans, and ultimately the worth of your business when you come to retire.

“Some of these funds are limited by time, some by amount available, so there is a strong feeling of ‘Buy now while stocks last’!” he said.

Mazars has specialist teams specifically established to help their clients grow and hence has built a strong working knowledge of what is available and also the right route to grants.

“It is not just a question of being aware what is available, it is also about making sure you apply in the right way. That you understand both the relevance and the importance in the future of the questions you are asked and the answers you give,” said Mr Wesson.

There is currently grant funding available in England to private companies, particularly SMEs and those who are looking to undertake a capital project of some size, through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

There are many small grant schemes, funded by RGF, which are running (predominantly in the Local Economic Partnership (LEP) areas).

Mr Wesson said: “Some of the criteria to consider when looking to see if your business could access some of these funds include the following.”

Are you looking to undertake a capital project such as a new build, an extension, expansion or acquiring substantial machinery? NB – not repairs or replacement of existing buildings or plant.

Is your company classed as small or medium, ie under 250 staff and with either a turnover less than 50 million euros, or gross assets on your balance sheet of less than 43 million euros?

Not part of a group structure – or part of a group, but the group totals come within the thresholds above.
Not in the retail sector.

Are you willing to guarantee to employ a number of new staff on a permanent basis?

Are you willing and able to move quickly with the project?

Mr Wesson said: “There are other conditions depending upon the precise terms of the scheme in the local area, but the above will be common to all.

“You owe it to yourself, your business and your family’s future to find out what you could be missing out on – and it doesn’t cost anything to find out.”