Businesses get to grips with new employment costs

April 1, 2019: Employers across the UK are starting April with a sudden increase in employment costs following a rise in workplace pension contributions and minimum wage costs. The sharp increase in expenditure on staff couldn’t come at a worse time for business who are experiencing growing uncertainty over the UK and wider global economy. Minimum contributions for... Read more

Invoice fraud cost UK firms £93 million last year

April 1, 2019: A recent survey conducted by UK Finance revealed that more than four in 10 UK businesses are unaware of the potential risks associated with invoice fraud. Last year these scams cost UK firms almost £93 million, with 3,280 invoice and bank scam cases reported – costing on average £28,000 per case. Fortunately, in 2018, £29.6... Read more

Tax-free HMRC scheme assists families with childcare costs

April 1, 2019: A Government scheme set up by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is advising parents to apply for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which provides contributions on savings used to cover childcare costs. Research has revealed that more than a million families are failing to make use of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. The Tax-Free Childcare scheme is... Read more

UK SMEs hit by £17.4 billion cybercrime bill in 2018

April 1, 2019: New research from internet service provider, Beaming, has revealed that in 2018 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were affected by cybercrime to the tune of £17.4 billion. Business cybercrime is the flavour of the month for fraudsters, with hacking, phishing and data breaches affecting millions of UK companies and causing billions of pounds of... Read more

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly wins important IR35 appeal

April 1, 2019: Lorraine Kelly has won an appeal against HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at a First Tier Tribunal (FTT) following a £1.2 million demand for unpaid income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). HMRC claimed that Lorraine Kelly should have been working inside the rules of IR35 at ITV Breakfast Ltd during the relevant period. This... Read more

Are you registered for Making Tax Digital yet?

April 1, 2019: Launched on 1 April 2019, most VAT registered businesses are now required to comply with the new Making Tax Digital for VAT regime. However, many businesses may not be aware that they are required to register to use the new system and that this process can take up to seven working days to complete. If... Read more

Spring Statement 2019

March 13, 2019:

National Living Wage

March 1, 2019: From 1 April 2019, employers will be required by law to pay their employees the following minimum wages: Year 25 and over (National Living Wage) 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice Current rate £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70 April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90 It is thought that this increase in... Read more

Making Tax Digital productivity boost expected to be worth billions to UK SMEs

March 1, 2019: New research suggests that the UK’s SMEs could benefit to the tune of as much as £57 billion over the next five years because of digital productivity improvements associated with HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative. The report by research firm, Volterra Partners, anticipates a ‘digital snowball’ effect from the launch... Read more

Delay in issuing Self-Assessment penalty notifications

March 1, 2019: While 93.68 per cent of the 11.5 million taxpayers who were required to file their Self-Assessment Tax Returns by midnight on 31 January did so on time, 731,186 missed the deadline. Those who missed the deadline will have to wait longer than in previous years to receive penalty notifications from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).... Read more

Advisory fuel rates for company car users remain the same

March 1, 2019: New advisory fuel rates from 1 March 2019 for drivers of company cars have fallen for all but one class of vehicle. The rates apply where a business is reimbursing employees for travel in a company car, or where employees must repay the cost of fuel used when travelling in a company car in a... Read more

Make the grandest romantic gesture and reduce your tax bill

March 1, 2019: Getting married or conducting a civil partnership ceremony is often the happiest day of most people’s lives but unfortunately almost one million married or civil partnered couples in the UK have not used up to £900 in tax relief available to them. The Marriage Allowance scheme currently allows couples to transfer up to £1,190 of... Read more

Tribunal finds in favour of Middlesbrough FC in low pay claim

March 1, 2019: In a landmark case, Middlesbrough FC has effectively won the right to pay staff below the minimum wage by providing other benefits to them. In February, an employment tribunal at Teesside Magistrates’ Court overturned a ruling that the Championship football club had broken employment laws by deducting the cost of 2016/17 season tickets over several... Read more

Are you making full use of the generous R&D relief scheme?

March 1, 2019: Hundreds of businesses across the UK enjoy tax relief totalling millions of pounds thanks to the Government’s generous R&D relief scheme. Last year nearly 40,000 claims were made for Research and Development (R&D) tax credits in the UK, almost double the amount made in the previous year. Businesses both large and small benefited from £3.5... Read more

Entrepreneurs’ Relief changes fail to meet up to the test

February 1, 2019: During the last Budget, the Government announced new conditions to entrepreneurs’ relief that would take immediate effect to change the definition of a “personal company” for shareholders who claim entrepreneurs’ relief. By introducing these changes, they hope to restrict shareholders relief to those with a genuine material stake of at least five per cent in... Read more

Just over half of businesses are prepared for Making Tax Digital

February 1, 2019: A new study into preparations for Making Tax Digital amongst businesses has found that only 57 per cent of firms are ready to comply with the new regime by 1 April 2019. Despite the various delays and changes to the Government’s new digital tax system, businesses have had several years to prepare themselves for this... Read more

Late payers to be flagged up to businesses under new proposals

February 1, 2019: The Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal, has recommended a new “traffic light” system that will warn smaller firms which businesses have a consistent record of late payment and those most likely to request longer payment terms. It is thought that around £2.5 billion is lost annually within the economy due to late payments and they... Read more

HM Revenue & Customs drops insistence that all company directors must submit tax returns

February 1, 2019: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has dropped its insistence that all company directors must submit tax returns following a series of tribunal rulings. For several years, HMRC has advised in its guidance on the gov.uk website that company directors should register for Self-Assessment and this has also been part of online tools designed to help... Read more

Automatic Enrolment contributions to increase

February 1, 2019: The next increase in Automatic Enrolment (AE) pension contributions for both employees and employers will take place from 6 April 2019. The minimum employer contribution will increase from two per cent to three per cent, while the employee contribution will rise from three per cent to five per cent – taking the total minimum contribution... Read more

Payroll sector prepares for key changes in 2019/20

February 1, 2019: The next 12 months will see a number of new changes to payroll policy that could have an impact on a wide range of businesses. To give an overview of how businesses could be affected by these changes, below are some of the highlights that employers will need to prepare for.  Private Sector IR35  From... Read more

Debt recovery costs small businesses an average of £9,000

January 10, 2019: The cash flow difficulties that late payments cause small businesses are well known. However, the cost of recovering late payments is less well publicised, despite being a major and growing expense – coming in at around £9,000 last year for an average business. Research by Bacs Payment Schemes found that the cost of recovering late... Read more

Brexit uncertainty sends small business confidence to a seven-year low

January 10, 2019: Confidence amongst small businesses has tumbled to a seven-year low – in part due to the uncertainty of Brexit. A survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that nearly one in three small exporters think that sales to overseas customers will fall during the early part of this year. Meanwhile,... Read more

An end to the Entrepreneurs’ Relief ‘dilutions dilemma’?

January 10, 2019: As a business takes off, the level of investment it needs in order to expand can significantly outpace growth in revenues and profits. One of the options open to entrepreneurs at this stage in the development of a business is to issue new shares that secure new investment, without the financial pressures that come with... Read more

Tax rates rise twice as fast in the UK than the international average

January 10, 2019: According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UK tax revenue as a percentage of GDP rose to 33.3 per cent in 2017. This was up from 32.7 per cent in the previous year and was more than double the average rate of increase for nations covered by the OECD’s research. Of the... Read more

Taxpayers offered online tool to assess their self-assessment requirement

January 10, 2019: It should seem obvious whether an individual must submit a self-assessment tax return annually. Yet, each year, thousands of people find themselves brought into the regime unwittingly. To help taxpayers prepare their affairs accordingly, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is offering a free online tool to help people find out whether they need to submit... Read more

Taxpayers treated unfairly by HMRC, says House of Lords report

January 10, 2019: The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has criticised some of the powers granted to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), describing them as disproportionate and lacking effective taxpayer safeguards. The committee’s latest report says that HMRC’s powers are now too broad and the penalties too high, deterring taxpayers from appealing and creating injustice within the... Read more

Smaller estates should not have to file Inheritance Tax paperwork, says Office for Tax Simplification

December 4, 2018: The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) has said that smaller and less complex estates should not be subject to the requirement to file Inheritance Tax (IHT) paperwork. The call was part of a review into IHT, which Chancellor Philip Hammond ordered earlier this year. While just five per cent of estates are subject to IHT,... Read more

Unwrapping Christmas tax gifts

December 4, 2018: Christmas is a time for giving, but many businesses may not be aware that their gifts can be made in a tax-efficient manner, which could make raising festive spirits that little bit cheaper. While Christmas parties may not be for everyone, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) does provide an allowable tax deduction of up to... Read more

Big increase in P2P lending

December 4, 2018: The fifth annual UK Alternative Finance Industry Report has revealed a 65 per cent year-on-year increase in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. The P2P lending market is now worth £2 billion and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) appear to be the dominant force behind it. To put the rise of P2P lending into context, its value is... Read more

180,500 first-time buyers benefit from relief on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

December 4, 2018: Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have revealed that 180,500 first-time buyers have benefited from the Government’s changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). HMRC estimates that first-time buyers have saved a total of more than £426 million since Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the First-Time Buyers’ Relief (FTBR) in November 2017. At Budget... Read more