All Domains

2005 - December

VAT - 22.12.2005

Just the ticket

When you first started out you travelled a great deal meeting potential customers. You treated your travel and subsistence costs as VAT-inclusive and duly claimed back input VAT via your return. Was this right though?

REMUNERATION - 22.12.2005

Disabled employees

You’ve taken on a new employee who is disabled. They’ve told you that there are some tax breaks available to both of you. What’s the full story here, and how can you take full advantage?

RECORDS - 22.12.2005

An excellent record

Deductions that straddle the border between “business” and “personal” pose the highest enquiry risk for any SME owner. However, there is a simple way you can reduce the risk of such an in-depth enquiry. Read on.

PROPERTY - 22.12.2005

With just a few sticks of furniture…

As a landlord, at some point you’ll need to replace items of furniture in your let property. What should you should be doing now to maximise your tax deduction against rental income for this?

TAX TITBITS - 22.12.2005

With inflation at 2.7%...

TAX TITBITS - 22.12.2005

Get a receipt!

NEWS - CORORATION TAX - 22.12.2005

£10,000 at “X” %?

How will the change to the starting rate for Corporation Tax, announced in the December 2005 Pre-budget report, affect you?

PAYE - 22.12.2005

Checking the code

If you submit a self-assessment tax return, or have benefits-in-kind, you should receive a PAYE notice of coding early in the new year. However, it might be out-of-date already. Why, and what can you do about it?

EXPENSES - 22.12.2005

Stock taking

Your company has some stock which it can’t shift so you decide to try your luck and sell it privately some time later. Can you simply pocket the proceeds or will the Taxman want his cut?


Clearing your overdrawn loan account

Overdrawn directors’ loan accounts are taxable one way or another. So, the classic advice is to pay yourself a dividend to clear the balance. However, there can be problems with this method - so what else can you do?


Personal plastic

According to a recent survey, many directors of small companies are using their personal credit cards as an alternative to business bank loans. But even with 0% interest periods, is this really a good strategy? What’s the alternative?

NEWS & VIEWS - 21.12.2005

Home working - are you covered?


Working from home

The Taxman’s recently changed his mind on what you can claim for working from home. What’s the latest and how can you still maximise your claim?


Courting publicity

You’re still confused about what company and directors information you really have to disclose on your letterhead, website and at the office. So what are the rules and how can you play it safe?

NEWS & VIEWS - 21.12.2005

End of BACS

COMPANY LAW - 21.12.2005

Who’s running the show?

You’re a director but not a shareholder. So who really runs the company? And what if there’s a dispute with a shareholder - what’s your position and how can you protect yourself from interference?


Bonus v dividend - how to win the battle

Business has been particularly good this year, and you want to take more out of the company. But exactly how should this extra be taken - as a bonus or a dividend? It’s the eternal question.

MANUAL HANDLING - 19.12.2005

Stuck fast

You’ve got to lift the manhole covers on your site, but they’re stuck fast. What methods should you adopt to prise them free and what are the main health and safety issues involved?

POLICIES & RECORDS - 19.12.2005

Time well spent

When you have temporary and contract staff on site you don’t want to go through a full induction process with them. Use our policy and record to make sure you’re legally safe with the minimum of effort.


Liability for failure to act

A visit from an inspector and their subsequent requests shouldn’t be ignored. A recent case involving a trespasser has highlighted what can happen if you don’t act after being warned of a risk by an inspector. What’s the latest?

H&S HOTSPOTS - 19.12.2005

Don’t fall over the Christmas tree

H&S HOTSPOTS - 19.12.2005

Q&A - Vibration dosimeters

NEWS - LICENSING LAWS - 19.12.2005

The risks of late-night drinking

As you know, the licensing laws were relaxed last month. What unexpected impact might this have on your workers and how should you deal with it?

OFFICE HYGIENE - 19.12.2005

I’ve got it, so you’re all going to get it!

A recent survey has identified that you’re 500 times more likely to catch something from a phone handset than a toilet seat. What precautions, if any, should you be adopting to prevent the spread of bacteria in your office?

PETROL - 19.12.2005

Fuel up

You use small petrol-driven tools and, therefore, keep a supply of petrol on your premises. You’ve heard there are regulations that control storage. Do they apply to small quantities?


Unwanted Christmas present

You’re closing your business for a Christmas break but have heard from the fire brigade that it’s a prime time for an arson attack. What are some simple steps to make sure that on your return, everything is just as you left it?


The warning signs

You’ve previously gone down the warnings route with one of your employees only to find that his performance declines once the warning has expired. You’re fed up with him playing games, so what can you do?


Avoiding the pitfalls

As you’re aware, the right to request flexible working has existed since 2002. However, businesses are still coming badly unstuck in how they handle requests. So what are some of the main pitfalls to avoid?

EQUAL PAY REVIEWS - 15.12.2005

Help required

A subscriber wants to carry out equal pay reviews as a way of heading off discrimination claims. They want to know what’s really involved. So what are the key factors to consider?

MATERNITY - 15.12.2005

The reluctant mum-to-be

An employee’s been coming into work late and has taken time off sick. She’s pregnant but you think she’s taking advantage. What are your rights (if any)?


Does working for two hours count?

One of our subscribers has an employee who’s arguing that working for part of the day before going home sick counts towards the qualifying period for calculating SSP. Is this right, and if not, how do you calculate his entitlement?

REDUNDANCY - 15.12.2005

Consultation is not enough

Of course you know that when it comes to redundancy, full consultation is vital if you’re to avoid any subsequent claim for unfair dismissal. However many employers get the consultation right, but still lose at tribunal. Why?

DID YOU KNOW? - 15.12.2005

‘Flu failures

DID YOU KNOW? - 15.12.2005

Age discrimination rife

RECRUITMENT - 15.12.2005

Finding employable youngsters

You’re having difficulties recruiting school leavers with even basic office skills. A colleague has suggested that you consider those who’ve completed the “Ready for Work” programme. What is it, and could it be useful to you?


Just £1 a week for use of home!

Although a room was used at home for business administration purposes, the Taxman thought a deduction of £10.00 per week was overly generous, and proposed just £1 a week. What’s the right amount?

EXPENSES - 08.12.2005

Christmas giveaway

If you decide to run a competition to promote your business, be careful what you give away as the prize for winning. What do you need to remember?

EXPENSES - 08.12.2005

Coming home at weekends

You land a contract in another part of the country. To avoid the travelling your employee rents somewhere near to the location of the contract. However, they do travel back home at weekends. Can they claim for this travel?

TAX TITBITS - 08.12.2005

Pre-budget bore?


New IHT guide misses the point

The Taxman has recently published a simplified guide to altering an inheritance following a death. However, there are a few important points he’s neglected to mention. What’s he missed out?

VAT - 08.12.2005

VAT on a conversion

The buy-to-rent sector has been growing quickly over the last few years, particularly the refurbishment of existing older properties. What’s the problem with VAT here and how can you solve it?


A loan to pay for Christmas?

You need to extract cash from your company. If you pay a dividend, your company could end up paying higher Corporation Tax, by way of the non-corporate distribution rate. Is there a tax efficient alternative?

PENSIONS - 08.12.2005

Trojan pension

Sound advice for SMEs is for a director/shareholder to take enough salary to cover their tax-free personal allowance and extract any further cash needed as dividends. But should you pay pension contributions out of this?

TAX TITBITS - 08.12.2005

Wet look from Taxman


Signing on the dotted line

As a director, you usually sign all the company’s contractual documents. Could this place you at risk if ever there’s a problem? What can be done about it?


Fleeced by my solicitor!

You’ve just received a whopping bill from your solicitor for having, e.g. your director’s service agreement redrafted. What, if anything, can you do about it? And what if he’d been doing contentious work for you instead?

NEWS & VIEWS - 07.12.2005

No increase for online filing

PAYROLL - 07.12.2005

Christmas workers

You’ve taken on some seasonal workers to help with the Christmas rush. But does their “casual” status mean that you don’t have to pay them holiday pay? And if you do, how is it calculated?

COMPANY LAW - 07.12.2005

When it’s time to say good-bye

A fellow director just isn’t up to scratch - his work is poor and he doesn’t seem to be acting in the best interests of the company. It’s time for him to go. But is this easier said than done?

ROAD TRAFFIC - 07.12.2005

Blow into this bag, sir...

One of your directors has been stopped for drink driving. You’ve heard that a disqualification is likely (in 2003 there were 84,000 convictions). But if he’s off the road, the company could fail. Will the court take this into account?

COMPANY CARS - 07.12.2005

Advantage diesel?

You’re looking to replace your company car. You’d like something with lower running costs and have thought about a diesel. But is this really the cheapest option?

DEBT RECOVERY - 07.12.2005

Avoiding debt - we know it’s a pipedream but…

Whilst the best tip anyone could give you is “don’t get yourself into that position in the first place”, at some time during the life of your company, bad debt is inevitable. So what can be done to keep the risk to a minimum?

NEWS & VIEWS - 07.12.2005


FORKLIFTS - 05.12.2005

The risks of battery charging

You have a battery-powered forklift truck in your warehouse. You know about the risks associated with its use, but are there any special arrangements you should consider when charging the battery?

H&S HOTSPOTS - 05.12.2005

Rigger boots

H&S HOTSPOTS - 05.12.2005

Can’t I just use my iPoD?

NEWS - SAFETY ADVICE - 05.12.2005

I’m chartered you know

The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is now offering its senior members chartered status. What does it mean, and do you actually need your advisor to be chartered?

SLIPS AND TRIPS - 05.12.2005

Dealing with oil spills

A couple of areas on your site have started becoming slippery thanks to oil build-up. You’ve seen a high-pressure water and chemical cleaning system available to do the job. If you get it, what are the safety and environmental implications?

PPE - 05.12.2005

Safety glasses

A risk assessment has identified a process which requires your staff to wear safety glasses. One of your workers already wears spectacles. Are they sufficient protection and if not, what are the options?


Cleaned out

Your cleaner has just informed you that she’s pregnant, but she’s also said she’s happy to continue working up until the last minute. What are the health and safety implications and what adjustments should you make for her, if any?

NEWS - VIBRATION - 05.12.2005

Vibration - anyone got a clue?

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 came into effect last July, but since then the subject has gone quiet. However, with the recent publication of an approved code of practice, what can you now expect from the HSE?


Site speed limits

You’ve a site speed limit of 5mph which starts at the entrance. You’re constantly struggling to keep car and delivery drivers to the limit. Who’s responsible if there’s an accident, and what did a traffic related case identify?

DID YOU KNOW? - 01.12.2005

A tall order

DID YOU KNOW? - 01.12.2005

Mobile phone etiquette lacking


Give us a clue

Until recently, you needed actual knowledge of a disability in order to be held liable for discrimination. This has now changed. So what’s the latest news?


Grievances - a whole lot of grief?

The new statutory grievance procedure has now been in force for over a year and tribunal cases are starting to filter through. So how have they interpreted what amounts to a “grievance” and what can you learn from them?

DEPENDANT’S LEAVE - 01.12.2005

Does the leave request qualify?

An employee had recently rung in to explain that he needed some leave as his childcare arrangements had fallen through. Our subscriber agreed, but he’s now made the same request again. Must they allow it?

HOLIDAY PAY - 01.12.2005

The trouble with casual staff

Like many employers, you take in casual staff at varying times throughout the year. You’re aware that they’re entitled to holiday pay but given their changeable hours you’re not sure how to calculate it. What’s involved?

CONTRACTS - 01.12.2005

All change with custom and practice?

Suppose you’ve turned a blind eye to something for a while, e.g. allowing staff to start late. What if you later want to enforce the official start time? Will staff be able to argue that, through custom and practice, it’s changed?

PAYROLL - 01.12.2005

Why use settlement agreements?

You’ve heard that there’s a neat way you can meet the tax and NI liabilities on benefits that you provide your staff (i.e. so they don’t have to pay). What’s really involved in such an arrangement?

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