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Schedule 46

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of Sarah McCarthy-Fry Sarah McCarthy-Fry Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury 11:30 am, 23rd June 2009

Once again, I will get back to the hon. Gentleman on that.

Amendment 303 deals with the definition of “group of companies” for the purposes of the legislation. The Government received some representations in informal consultation that the legislation as drafted may have included companies and other entities that we did not want to catch. We have given the matter further consideration and we have introduced a definition that is drawn from existing tax legislation, which will be more familiar to companies and easier for them to work with. The new definition of “group” is set out in the amendment.

Amendments 288 to 298 and amendment 65 concern the definition of “senior accounting officer” for the purposes of the schedule. Who can be and who should be a senior accounting officer has been discussed extensively with interested parties and we are introducing amendments that give more flexibility, so that the legislation is better fitted to some of the situations that can occur in practice. However, the legislation still requires the senior accounting officer to be a person who has overall responsibility for the company’s financial accounting arrangements.

In particular, amendment 298 makes it possible for a director or officer of any group company to fulfil the requirements of the legislation on behalf of another company in that group, or on behalf of the whole group, if the company or companies concerned consider that that person has the appropriate responsibility.