Business Connect caught up with Julia Shaw, Founder and CEO of J&P Accountants – a firm based in many countries over the world but headquartered in Manchester’s Chinatown. J&P offer International cross-border VAT solutions, UK business support and tax and accounting services, and advise on global online selling marketplaces. They help many businesses including global e-commerce firms, and even provide support with global IP and Trademark issues.
What best describes J&P Accountants, and what makes you stand out from other firms?
“J&P is a Chartered Certified Accountancy firm and one of the earliest Tax Advisors listed on major global online selling marketplaces. Our clients are from 104 countries. We specialise in worldwide VAT Compliance Solutions for tens of thousands of eCommerce traders trading globally via online selling marketplaces. We have businesses and partnerships in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. So we have a truly global reach.”
You have offices in many countries, why choose Manchester as headquarters?
“Manchester is geographically and economically important in the UK. It’s where we started, and where the e-commerce sector is vibrantly developing. In the early years of J&P, we worked extremely hard to establish the business, networks, and reputation, and we benefited from the support of the local community, the professionals, and the people around us. Manchester is not just our birthplace. We have an emotional and economic attachment to this wonderful place.”
What services do you provide?
“We offer services in Global E-Commerce VAT Solutions, Trademarks and Patents, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), EU Logistic Services, UK Company Formation, Bookkeeping, Personal and Business Tax Returns, Tax Investigations and Payroll. We also offer UK-China Business Advisory and Overseas Landlord Tax Return. The services are multilingual and 24/7.”
Tell us about your cross-border VAT compliance services?
“J&P is listed on the Amazon Service Provider Network. We are also listed on eBay as a third-party service provider. We are privileged to be accepted by these online marketplaces and their sellers.”
What are the reasons that J&P have been selected as a tax service provider by online marketplaces?
“We are proud to be one of the earliest eCommerce tax agents. We have been doing this since 2007, giving us fifteen years of experience in accounting and taxation specifically in this sector. We built up our reputation by serving around 30,000 cross-border eCommerce companies. Being a focused and specialised team, we concentrate our energy on VAT compliance services. We have fastidiously built our compliance team for cross-border e-commerce solutions. We are extremely familiar with the VAT compliance requirements of the UK, EU, Middle East, and Southeast Asia tax authorities and provide solutions to various challenges. As professional services are our core competency, our experienced team include Chartered Accountants, Tax Advisors, Lawyers, Trademark and Patent Consultants and Logistics Consultants, allowing us to provide a one-stop service to businesses.
“Time is money. Our offices across the EU and Asia offer multilingual 24/7 services. We serve our clients tirelessly. Information is our lifeline. We liaise with tax compliance officers regularly to learn from them and provide feedback from our first-hand experience of VAT compliance. Therefore, we always get the information ahead of the market, and provide problem-solving tactics swiftly.”
What values and beliefs do you incorporate in your business culture?
“Please allow me to show you J&P’s Logo and symbol. These are the very Value and Beliefs we hold! In our logo, ‘the Green Tree (Letter P) is standing firmly on the Black Earth (J)’.
“J stands for Justice. As an accountancy firm, we believe in a level playing field where all participants comply with firm rules and compete in an orderly manner. J&P stands on the Black Earth, providing a firm groundwork for your business to grow. P stands for Power. We value your contribution and ambition as your career companion and business partner. J&P represent a powerful Green Tree, growing powerfully as your business grows. J&P’s symbol is also a pair of wings. Clients and colleagues are the pair of inseparable wings of J&P. They were empowered by J&P at the beginning of the journey. They then, in turn, provide empowerment for J&P with competency and confidence to survive and thrive. That is why we have spared no effort in helping our clients understand and comply with taxation rules. As a result, we save them from unfair tax treatment and enable them to expand their business ambitions.
“Meanwhile, J&P has also grown under the same culture, with staff who developed from apprentices to account managers and accounting partners. At every stage, J&P’s clients and colleagues go together, grow together, and glory together.”
We have experienced an uneasy start to the 2020s. How did J&P help businesses and the local community face the challenging environments?
“It was certainly not easy for any of us, but together we are stronger! We love the community in which we live and work, and that is why we wholeheartedly support it wherever we can. In 2018, we initiated the petition for ‘Saving Eastern Horizon’, the only Chinese Community Programme on BBC Radio Manchester. In 2019, we donated a significant portion of the fund needed to develop the RHS Garden Bridgewater project, and at the beginning of the pandemic, we gave out high-quality PPE to businesses and our local community. Last year, we supported a less-developed primary school with stationery and financial aid. The journey continues and is at the heart of our social responsibility.”
How up-to-date is your understanding of HMRC tax rules?
“Firstly, we follow strict UK tax rules, which mean our clients will rest assured that their tax issues are in safe hands. Secondly, we regularly communicate with HMRC case workers, giving us a completely up-to-date understanding of the latest tax rules. We put this knowledge into practice to help our clients to comply better. With first-hand accountancy and taxation experience, we can also bring our clients’ concerns and feedback to HMRC for consideration. Finally, we have closely followed the new UK VAT regulations for online trading since the beginning of 2021. In addition, we regularly attended HMRC agent webinars to learn about the latest tax rules and compliance guidance to ensure our clients receive the utmost professional care.”
Could you explain the current situation of VAT compliance for EU markets?
“The EU has deployed anti-fraud policies. Governments and tax authorities are feeling the pressure of the VAT gap and high street shops closing, so amendments to VAT policies, new anti-fraud laws and VAT compliance methods have been enacted. For example, the extension of joint and several liabilities for UK online marketplaces became law in 2018. Germany followed in the UK’s footsteps in 2019. And the Anti-Fraud Act of France and Growth Decree of Italy all took effect in 2019.
“Compliance checks are also conducted during the whole cross-border selling process: customs checks, the ‘Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme’, liabilities of online selling marketplaces and the requirement of payment service providers to exchange payment data. Additionally, the Double Taxation Treaties are well established to fight VAT fraud. For example, suppose a trader does not pay VAT in France. In that case, the French tax authorities will inform their counterpart government body (HMRC) to control the goods stored in the UK and freeze the trader’s funds.”
What will happen to the EU tax reforms, particularly for the cross-border e-commerce sector?
“The EU Commission implemented measures to make life easier for e-commerce businesses impacted by new VAT regulations. They simplified traders’ VAT obligations whilst ensuring that VAT is paid correctly to EU member states. One significant measure is the ‘VAT E-commerce Package’, formally launched in July 2021. It eases the cross-border process, combats fraud and makes competition fairer for traders. To cope with the VAT regulations, we suggest that traders understand the basic rules of the E-commerce VAT Package, such as the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). We also strongly suggest that traders find a professional tax agent. Your tax will be handled appropriately to face the challenges of new VAT rules, as they use practical tools to communicate and submit information via official platforms.”
What will make J&P stand out in terms of VAT services for the future?
“The Accountancy Practicing Qualifications are the threshold in the accounting sector. We encourage and support our staff to gain these qualifications. We also offer employee training to improve personal and professional skills to ensure we are ahead of industry changes. We’re also aware that technology drives productivity. The UK has fully implemented Making Tax Digital, and other EU countries also have electronic VAT portals. That is why we launched J&P’s own electronic tax filing system. We also conduct data analysis, invest in global tax databases, and have measures in place to ensure accurate data input. Accounting Digital Transformation is the future of VAT services. The strength of service businesses like ourselves depend on the capability of our team and interpersonal relationships between themselves and our clients. Therefore, workforce development is essential to make progress, and stand out in the accounting industry into the future.”
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Located in: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and China