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Club Law and Management

by Philip Smith, Secretary of the A.C.C.

Final Machine Games Duty Reminder

On the 1st February 2013 VAT will no longer be applicable to the profits of Gaming Machines and Amusement Machine License Duty (AMLD) will be scrapped completely. Replacing them both will be Machine Games Duty (MGD) which will be imposed on the profits of Gaming Machines and will be calculated on a pay as you go basis.

Enclosed with this month’s magazine is a comprehensive guide to MGD kindly provided by Dransfields. The enclosed MGD guide also includes the paper registration form for any Clubs which are unable or unwilling to register online.

If the Club is due to be liable for MGD then you must register by the 31st December 2012. It is therefore very important that all Clubs which are liable to pay MGD register as soon as possible. If the Club registers online then it is expected that the Club’s returns will be completed online.

Please contact the ACC or Dransfields with any questions regarding MGD or the registration procedure for MGD.

Last Christmas Dates for Temporary Event Notices Applications

Christmas is a popular time for Clubs to hold events which may either be an extension of a Club’s usual licensable hours or be events which are being held by nonmembers or specifically for nonmembers.

Temporary Event Notices (TENs) are a method of obtaining, under the Licensing Act 2003, the authority to sell alcohol and provide regulated entertainment at an event of short duration (e.g. a dance, or a private party) where the organiser wishes to avoid going through the more complicated procedure of applying for a Premises Licence. A Club can apply for up to twelve TEN’s per year.

The method of obtaining a TEN must be submitted by the premises user (must be over 18 years of age) and must be copied to the relevant Chief Officer of Police at least ten working days before the event. The TEN (in a prescribed form) must contain the following information–

- The licensable activities to be carried out
- The total length of the event (not to exceed ninety-six hours)
- The times during which the licensable activities are to be carried out
- The maximum number of people to be allowed onto the premises at any one time (not to exceed 500)
- Whether any alcohol sales are to be made for consumption on or off the premises (or both)

Licensing Authority Officials are required to acknowledge receipt of the TEN, and provided they do not issue a counter notice and the Police do not object (they can only do so, or insist on conditions in keeping with the crime and disorder objectives of the Act), the event can go ahead.

If an event is being held by a non-member, or if the event is to be open to anyone who wishes to attend (an open day for instance) then the Club should obtain a Temporary Events Notice for the event. If a non-member wishes to hold an event at the Club and invite selected guests to attend then the Club may like to encourage the person holding the event to become a Member of the Club. This would avoid the need for a TEN to be sought as it would become a Member’s event and a Member can hold an event at the Club without the need for a TEN to be in place.

For Clubs which will need to apply for a TEN, notice must be given to the Club’s local Licensing Authority and to the Police and the last dates for Christmas are as follows:

Late Night Levy

The Late Night Levy regulations affecting licensed establishments which open between the hours of 12am and 6am came into force on the 31st October although the Levy is not expected to be formally used until Spring or Summer of next year.

It is unclear as of yet how many local authorities will implement the Levy on late night establishments as some authorities may decide that they do not wish to impose a financial charge on establishments which open after 12am.

The purpose of the Levy is to raise revenue, primarily for the Police, to pay for additional policing required as a result of the crime and disorder connected to the supply of alcohol during the late night hours.

Updates will continue to appear in this magazine regarding the Late Night Levy as more information appears regarding which authorities plan to utilise the levy and the costs involved.

Employee Pensions

The latest changes to employee pensions do not yet affect small businesses comprising 50 or fewer employees. The changes, which compel employees to opt into a contributory pension unless they choose to opt out, are due to come into effect in 2015 for small businesses. Once in effect, employers will have to contribute 0.8% of an employee’s salary to their pension unless the employee opts out of the scheme.

Currently, Clubs which employ more than 5 employees must offer them a stakeholder pension. A stakeholder pension is a voluntary scheme which allows employees to contribute to their pension directly out of their wages but does not require a separate additional contribution from their employer.

Payroll - Real Time Information

Real Time Information (RTI) will become compulsory for all clubs from 5th April 2013. RTI is linked to the Universal Tax Credit scheme and is being rolled out very quickly by HMRC to create greater efficiency in the processing and management of state benefits. RTI will also provide up-to-the minute information to HMRC on PAYE liabilities with the aim of increasing the efficiency in the collection of PAYE from employers.

From April 2013 clubs will no longer have to file annual returns to HMRC instead they will have to make an online return to HMRC ‘on or before’ a payroll payment is made; 52 to 53 online returns annually. One practical implication of this change is that all manual payroll systems will become obsolete and clubs will be faced with three choices:
1. Purchase RTI enabled computer software, or
2. Use the services of an accountant or payroll bureau, or
3. If the club has nine or fewer employees use software provided by HMRC.

HMRC’s main concern is data quality issues, if the employee data quality is poor RTI CANNOT work. With an April 2013 implementation, time is getting short, what is required from clubs is not complex but it is a time consuming task. For every existing and all new employees the following information is required on or before a payroll payment is made:
• Full name
• Date of Birth
• National Insurance number
• Gender
• Address

The implications for clubs are:
• A data quality check will have to be carried out on all employees.
• If an employee does not have a national insurance number they can provide a passport number and complete form CA6855 to trace the National insurance number.
• You will be required to provide accurate P46 information on or before you pay an individual.
• Amendments to payroll will be problematic and any changes will probably have to be, shown in the following weeks wages.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales says that it expects many small businesses to struggle to comply with RTI, especially those who are not computer literate or in areas where broadband connectivity is poor. Concerns have also been raised that the system’s tight delivery timetable, coupled with low awareness is a risk to business and the implementation of the Universal Credit scheme.

HMRC have also stated there are unresolved problems and they still looking at a number of issues:
• The on or before requirement is a practical issue for those who pay staff and have the payroll written up later, on a gross up basis – such as bar staff .
• Employees below the ‘lower earnings limit’ who pay no tax or national insurance.

Despite these problems and the criticism of the tight deadline the government and HMRC are unlikely to extend the deadline; accordingly all clubs need to be ready to operate RTI from the 5th April next year.

Our thanks to R H Jeffs & Rowe for assistance with this article.