All Domains

2019 - December


What’s the VAT treatment of a salary sacrifice?

You offer your employees the option to reduce their salary in return for certain benefits, including for private usage of company vehicles. What is the correct VAT treatment, and do you need to add VAT to the private use charges?

VAT RECORDS - 24.12.2019

Lost invoices: a solution to the VAT problem?

You have lost the last three months of your purchase invoices following a fire at your office. You are about to complete your quarterly VAT return. What options are available to ensure you don’t miss out on reclaiming input tax?


Dealing with the VAT rules for fundraising events

One of our subscribers is the treasurer of his local rugby club that held a Christmas fundraising dinner. The club is non-profit making but he is unsure how to deal with VAT on the income. And can the club claim any input tax on the costs of the dinner?


Christmas gift sales: how to deal with differing VAT rates

Your business had a bumper festive season. However, the sales contained a mix of zero and standard-rated items. Should you have apportioned the VAT or is there another way to deal with the issue?

CHARITIES - 24.12.2019

Trading subsidiaries: can charity concessions apply?

If you run a charity, it is possible that you have a separate company to deal with non-charitable activities. How can you avoid an unexpected VAT liability on some sources of income and a potential input tax problem with expenses?

PROPERTY - 24.12.2019

Option to tax backlog causing problems

HMRC has confirmed that it will take 40 working days to respond to queries regarding properties subject to an option to tax. Why might this affect you and how can you minimise the problem?

PERSONNEL - 23.12.2019

Social media checks on job applicants?

Personal social media accounts may contain things that a job seeker wouldn’t want you to know. To protect your business, should you check a job applicant’s social media accounts before you make them a job offer?

DATA PROTECTION - 23.12.2019

Data protection fee warning letters

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is writing to every company about payment of the statutory annual data protection fee. What do you need to know and must you take any action?

TAX - COMPANY CARS - 23.12.2019

April 2020 company car changes


Q&A - can I change my mind about a dividend?

INSOLVENCY - 23.12.2019

Can you rely on a retention of title clause?

Sellers prefer payment on delivery, but terms of 30 days are common, leaving them with an uncomfortable wait for their money. What if the customer goes bust in that time? You’ve been told that the retention of title (ROT) clause in your contract protects you, but how do you know it will work?

PERSONNEL COSTS - 23.12.2019

How much to pay your partner?

Business has been going well, so your spouse has decided to join the company as a freelance consultant. But how do you calculate what their charge-out rate should be?

TAX - EXPENSES - 23.12.2019

Getting your company to pay your personal expenses

Your teenage daughter wants you to fork out £1,500 to pay for a weekend residential course. You could open your personal cheque book for this but would it be more tax efficient if your company paid?

INTERNS - 23.12.2019

Interested in an intern?

Peaks in demand and staff holidays often leave you short. You’re considering taking on an intern to cover some of this extra work. What are the rules you need to stick to?

PENSION CHARGES - 19.12.2019

Check for pensions charges

Pensions were in the news toward the end of 2019, with the focus being on the annual allowance charge. How can you help any worried clients ahead of the 31 January 2020 filing deadline?

STAMP DUTY LAND TAX - 19.12.2019

Purchasing multiple dwellings: are higher rates always due?

Your client is purchasing a property with an annex and have been told that the 3% surcharge may apply. They have also heard that the purchase could qualify for multiple dwellings relief, but the surcharge will definitely apply if a claim is made. Is that true?


Deductions for clients with poor record keeping

Your client wants to claim a number of items as business expenses. However, they have not kept accurate records to allow an apportionment between business and private use. What can you do to minimise the loss of tax deductions?


Avoiding problems with trivial benefits

The exemption for trivial benefits is very useful. However, HMRC has recently reminded employers to ensure what they are providing actually qualifies under the rules. How can your clients avoid problems?

CORPORATION TAX - 19.12.2019

Maximising corporation tax relief for bad debts

Your client’s company accounts show a number of small bad debts. Individually these don’t merit chasing and the client is looking to write them off. Do they need to do anything particular before HMRC will allow relief and is there an optimum time to claim?


Is the foreign capital loss election worth making?

You have just engaged a new client and are reviewing their paperwork. They are intending to use the remittance basis and are asking whether they can get relief in the UK for overseas losses. What can you advise?


Shares were not “qualifying shares”

CORPORATION TAX - 19.12.2019

Rate cut is shelved

VEHICLES - 19.12.2019

Are hydrogen-electric vehicles worth a look?

Drinks firm AB InBev has completed its first zero-emission beer delivery, 18 months after placing an order for 800 hydrogen-powered trucks. What do you need to know and is it time to rethink your fleet strategy?

WASTE - 19.12.2019

Smart waste tracking

ENFORCEMENT - 19.12.2019

Enforcement gap causes concern

Campaigners have published a report highlighting year- on-year cuts to the budgets of the organisations which protect the natural environment. What are the details?


Auditing your environmental policy

Businesses are increasingly being asked to confirm that they have an environmental policy. If you do, use our new audit document to check that your policy says all the right things.

ENERGY - 19.12.2019

Is it time to buy clean energy?

Buying energy for your business can be a bit of a minefield. A green tariff is seen as an important first step towards making your business more sustainable, but what are the best options for a small business?

PACKAGING - 19.12.2019

Use less packaging… or else

Tesco has said that it will delist brands that use too much packaging. Will other businesses follow its lead and how do you prepare for the expected supply chain pressure?

POLLUTION - 19.12.2019

Septic tank changes come into force

If you use a septic tank for your business in England, you will need to ensure that it meets the latest regulatory requirements. What steps should you take to maintain legal compliance?

WASTE - 19.12.2019

Biffa exported waste illegally

Waste giant Biffa Waste Services Ltd, has been ordered to pay £599,912 following an investigation by the Environment Agency which found it was in breach of waste export regulations.

NOISE - 19.12.2019

Managing noise at live music events

You’re planning to host live music events several times a year at your premises. What do you need to do to protect staff, customers and neighbours from high noise levels?


Q&A - do we need multiple certifications?


Staff injured by vibrating tools

A large property management and development company has been fined £600,000 after five employees developed hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). What is this condition and what should have been done to protect them?

DRIVING - 19.12.2019

Safety on winter roads

A survey of 2,000 British motorists has revealed that many are totally unprepared for winter driving. As an employer how can you encourage your drivers to plan for the worst weather?

SEASONAL ISSUES - 19.12.2019

Pedestrian hit by flying debris

A property management company has been given a significant fine after a woman was fatally hit by a wooden panel as she walked down a street. What should have been done to prevent her death?

OVERSEAS WORK - 19.12.2019

Safe travels

If you send your employees overseas for work, you have a duty to ensure their safety, security and medical support. What steps do you need to take to keep your employees safe?

MACHINERY - 19.12.2019

£1 million fine for machinery maintenance death

Cemex UK Operations Limited has been handed a £1 million fine after one of its workers suffered a fatal blow to the body from a manufacturing machine. What mistakes were made?

ENFORCEMENT - 19.12.2019

What are local inspectors looking for?

The HSE has published updated guidance for local authorities, suggesting priorities for health and safety enforcement. What can you expect?


It’s too cold to work

BENEFITS - 18.12.2019

All I want for Christmas is...

A survey of 1,500 employees has revealed that most would prefer a token gift or voucher for Christmas rather than a staff party. How can you keep your employees happy tax efficiently?

DISMISSAL - 18.12.2019

Dismissed over a “racist typo”

An employee has been sacked for sending an e-mail to a colleague which started “Hi Hash brown”. He blamed this on the auto correct facility, but the employer decided it was racially motivated. Can typos be grounds for dismissal?


Employee awarded £2 million for invention at work

The Supreme Court has awarded an employee £2 million for an invention that he created during the course of his employment nearly 40 years ago. Does this ruling open the floodgates to other types of claim?

HOLIDAYS - 18.12.2019

When can untaken holiday be carried over?

It’s come to your attention that an employee hasn’t taken their full annual leave entitlement and you’re approaching the end of your holiday year. Must they be permitted to carry the full balance over into your next holiday year?

FIT NOTES - 18.12.2019

Fit notes and your compulsory liability insurance

An employee whose fit note states “not fit for work” is feeling much better and would like to return as soon as possible. Would their early return invalidate your compulsory employers’ liability insurance (ELI)?

RECRUITMENT - 18.12.2019

Job applications: must you monitor diversity?

A colleague insists that you are legally required to monitor equality and diversity during recruitment. As part of this all job applications must be told to complete an equal opportunities monitoring form. Is this correct?

HOMEWORKING - 18.12.2019

Managing the rise in homeworking

There’s been a 27% rise in homeworkers over the last decade and 1.7 million people now regularly work from home. This figure is only expected to increase further. What are your legal responsibilities under a homeworking arrangement?


Off-payroll working - the operational angle

Virtually all of HMRC’s published guidance on off-payroll working in the private sector focuses on the beginning of the process, but what about all those unanswered operational complexities?


New version of status tool launched


Compulsory references on the cards?


A deluge of P800s


Pension tax relief issues to be fixed?

HMRC might have been quiet during the election run-up but what have we heard about the future that could fix the problem of tax relief and net pay arrangements?

PARENTAL LEAVE - 17.12.2019

New leave and pay for bereaved parents

A new statutory payment will be introduced from April 2020. It’s intended to support parents who lose a child under the age of 18. What do you need to know to prepare for this new right?

RTI - 17.12.2019

Transferring pension payrolls

Your business has acquired another - and all its staff and pensioners. Transferring pension records from one PAYE scheme to another can be tricky. What are the most important things to get right?

WORKING TIME - 16.12.2019

The maximum working week - what’s to know?

Adult workers’ average working time, which includes overtime and time spent working for other employers, must not exceed 48 hours per week. What else do you need to know about maximum weekly working time?

HOLIDAYS - 16.12.2019

Holiday pay reference period increasing

The Working Time Regulations are being amended to increase the holiday pay reference period for variable remuneration from twelve weeks to 52 weeks from 6 April 2020. What does this amendment mean in practice?


The Good Work Plan one year on - where are we now?

It’s been a year since the government published its ambitious Good Work Plan, promising the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years. What changes in legislation have been made and what’s still outstanding?


Specific types of gross misconduct

An act of gross misconduct can result in an employee’s summary dismissal, once you’ve followed a fair disciplinary procedure. What are the more common types of gross misconduct and how should you deal with them?

TRAINING - 16.12.2019

Sourcing a training provider

You’ve identified some training needs and now need help in how best to carry them out. Do you need to bring in a specialist training company or can you undertake some of it in-house?

HOLIDAYS - 16.12.2019

Only four weeks’ leave must be carried over for sick staff

The Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that national laws can limit the carry-over of holiday to four weeks’ annual leave in cases of sickness absence. What are the implications for UK employers?

STAFF HANDBOOKS - 16.12.2019

Developing a special leave policy

In addition to their statutory rights to time off, employees might be absent from work for a variety of other reasons. A special leave, or leaves of absence, policy can encompass alternative time off work scenarios. What could it cover?


Opposite-sex civil partnerships now lawful


Whistleblower protection extended

A Supreme Court ruling has held that an employee was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing even though she was dismissed in good faith for poor performance. Why was this?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 12.12.2019

Cliff-edge trap for separating couples

A change to the private residence relief rules in April 2020 means more home owners will be caught in the capital gains tax net. Married couples who separate are especially at risk. What steps can they take to reduce the effect of the new rule?

STAFF LOANS - 12.12.2019

Writing off a debt owed by an former employee

An employee left their job with your company a year ago. They owed it £1,500 for a season ticket loan. You lost track of them so the directors have decided to write off the debt. What are the tax consequences?

EXPENSES - 12.12.2019

When is providing food and drink to customers deductible?

One of our subscribers hosts seminars and provides food and drink during the day. A tax inspector refused to allow a tax deduction for the cost because he says it’s business entertainment. Is he correct?

BAD DEBT RELIEF - 12.12.2019

VAT flat rate scheme users missing out on bad debt relief

If a customer fails to pay your invoice you can, after six months, claim a refund of the corresponding VAT you accounted for to HMRC. But if you use the flat rate scheme a further adjustment might be needed to your profits. Why and what is it?

HMRC - SCAMS - 12.12.2019

Record number of tax scams

The number of scams involving bogus HMRC communications is increasing as the self-assessment payment deadline approaches. What are the warning signs you should be looking for?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 12.12.2019

Reducing your self-assessment payments on account

The first instalment of your self-assessment tax bill is due on 31 January 2020. In what circumstances can you reduce it and how can transactions you’ve made in the current year help?


Get your SEIS investment back tax efficiently

If you’re considering putting money into a start-up, the seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS) adds value with special tax incentives. However, getting your money out might be tricky. How can you make tax-efficient use of it while it’s tied up?

COMPANIES HOUSE - 11.12.2019

Late filing penalties

The requirement to file annual accounts can be a real headache for directors, especially as it comes with the threat of a penalty for missing the deadline. Companies House (CH) has made some changes to its policy on late filing penalties, effective from 1 October 2019. What do you need to know?

TAX - BENEFITS - 11.12.2019

Post-Christmas party tax planning

Your firm’s Christmas bash is a few days away. It’s cost you £125 per head so far, but you expect this figure to rise. You’re worried the per-head cost will exceed £150 and so the tax and NI exemption for such events will be lost. How can you prevent this?

PRODUCTIVITY - 11.12.2019

How to effectively measure performance

It’s coming to the end of the year, so your attention is turning inevitably to improvements for 2020. Should one of your first resolutions be to introduce key performance indicators (KPIs)?

TAX - EXPENSES - 11.12.2019

Justify your expenses or face fines

Keeping accurate records for business expenses is important as they not only affect your company’s tax position but yours too. What are the requirements for you and your business and what are the dangers of not meeting them?

TAX - IR35 - 11.12.2019

Improved status tool launched

With the new IR35 rules looming HMRC has released its updated check employment status for tax (CEST) tool. How and when should you be making use of it?

PERSONNEL - 11.12.2019

Last minute December shutdown

You want to shut down on the Friday between Christmas and New Year to give everyone a five-day break. Can you insist that staff take this day off as annual leave and what if they don’t have any holiday left?

ADVERTISING - 11.12.2019

Keep your ad claims real

It can be easy to omit relevant details or make over-enthusiastic claims in your ads. Advertising rules seek to protect customers and prevent businesses profiting from being creative with the truth. How do you keep your ads on the right side of the line?


What not to do with your website

Website builders sometimes unwittingly make unforgivable mistakes. We have collected some examples of common blunders for you. Surely you can do better, can’t you?

SOFTWARE - CHROME - 09.12.2019

Which apps for your Chromebook?

A Chromebook laptop can be bought for a few hundred pounds. Which apps are worth installing on it?


The return of the PowerToys!

Do you remember Microsoft’s handy PowerToys that added various useful features to Windows 95 and XP? Here come the PowerToys for Windows 10! Are they equally useful?

SOFTWARE - WIDGET14|120 - 09.12.2019

Batteries widget for your Apple devices


Collaborating in teams with Samepage

Collaborating with others on projects is possible via Samepage and its web tool, desktop application and mobile app. Is this solution something for you and your business?

SOFTWARE - OFFICE - 09.12.2019

Customise Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office makes it easy for its users to adapt its applications so that they can use them even more efficiently. How do you do this exactly, and which are some useful elements to customise?


Workplace by Facebook: worth the while?

Did you know that Facebook has a professional version called Workplace? It offers an alternative to other communication tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Can Workplace offer added value within your company?


Hitting the right style

All organisations need a style guide. It shows that you communicate with a specific and consistent voice.

SOFTWARE - WINDOWS - 09.12.2019

Windows updates

Windows 10 normally keeps itself up to date automatically, and that’s a good thing. But what do you do if the update process fails or if you want to postpone updates until you are sure that they won’t cause any problems?


How mobile-friendly is your website?

WEB SERVICES - TRAVEL - 09.12.2019

What to pack for a (business) trip?

E-MAIL - E-MAIL ADDRESS - 09.12.2019

Change your e-mail address

A new job, a new Internet Provider, an e-mail address from your teenage years that now looks ridiculous... situations where a new e-mail address is advisable. How do you best tackle the problems that such a change may entail?


Managing your passwords

Chrome’s password manager has been equipped with several new functions. How does it increase security without sacrificing ease of use? Or is it better to turn to a dedicated password manager?


Your business portfolio online

Suppose you only have a modest website, or no website at all, but you would still like to put your products or projects in the spotlight. Is a portfolio management service something for you?

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