All Domains

2023 - June


Further rise in HMRC interest rates confirmed

Following the 13th consecutive increase in the Bank of England base rate, HMRC’s interest rates on overpaid or underpaid tax will also increase. What are they and when will they take effect?


Reference requests and sickness absence

You’re considering hiring a new employee but are concerned about potential sickness absence. When you write to their current employer for a reference, can you ask them to disclose the employee’s sickness absence history?

BEREAVEMENT - 27.06.2023

Dealing with the death of an employee

Over 600,000 people are expected to die in the in the UK in the next twelve months which means there’s a possibility you could lose one of your employees. What are the first steps you should take if you’re faced with this situation?


Can you ask about a criminal investigation?

You’ve heard a rumour that one of your employees was recently arrested and is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the police. Can you ask them if this is true and how can you ensure that such matters are always disclosed to you?

VICTIMISATION - 27.06.2023

What is victimisation?

An employee who alleged that she had been subjected to victimisation by her employer won her tribunal claim and she’s now been given £2,000 in compensation. What is victimisation and when can an employee bring this type of claim?

HOLIDAY PAY - 27.06.2023

Is nominal holiday pay on termination lawful?

Many employment contracts provide that an employee will be paid a nominal or lesser amount in respect of accrued but untaken holiday instead of the full amount owed if they are dismissed for gross misconduct. Is this lawful?

RECRUITMENT - 27.06.2023

Q&A - NI number in Apple Wallet?

REDUNDANCY - 27.06.2023

More redundancy rights for pregnant staff

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 extends redundancy protection rights that apply during maternity leave to pregnant employees. What do you need to know?


Is saying “whiter than white” discrimination?

A black employee who claimed that she had been offended when a colleague used the term “whiter than white” has lost her claim for race discrimination at the tribunal. Why did the tribunal reach this decision?

VAT - 27.06.2023

Challenging an HMRC VAT assessment

Following an inspection of your business records by HMRC you’ve received a VAT assessment. The amount being demanded is unrealistically high. How do you go about challenging it?


HMRC changes NI top-up deadline again

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 27.06.2023

Self-assessment helpline to close

HMRC says that it’s temporarily closing its self-assessment (SA) helpline. When is it happening and what are the alternative ways to get answers to questions about SA?


Was compensation payment employment income?

The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) was called on to consider whether a taxpayer was liable to the high income child benefit charge (HICBC) because of a termination payment she received from her employer. What did the FTT decide?


Tax planning for equipment purchases

Within limits, businesses are entitled to tax relief on equipment for the financial year in which they purchase it. However, purchases through HP and similar contracts are exceptions to this rule. How can you ensure the earliest tax relief for these?


The tax pros and cons of benefits vs dividends

As an owner manager of a company, taking income from it in the most tax and NI-efficient way is probably near the top of your list. The general view is that dividends are the best option, but when might benefits in kind trump them?

PROPERTY - 27.06.2023

Tax, expenses and breaks in letting periods

Your long-standing tenant has moved out of your buy-to-let property and you haven’t yet found another. You’re still incurring costs on the property but as there’s no rent coming in can you continue to claim a tax deduction for them?

INHERITANCE TAX - 27.06.2023

Is the IHT mortgage loophole real?

The press currently seem to be fixated on the rights and wrongs of inheritance tax (IHT). One of their latest claims is that older people can use a mortgage to make use of a “loophole” in the IHT rules. Is this something you should consider?


Input tax claim on purchase of dining room table?

VEHICLES - 27.06.2023

New payment scheme for vehicles

If you’re a motor vehicle trader, or occasionally buy and sell used vehicles for a profit, you will benefit from a new scheme if you move vehicles to NI or the EU for onward sale. What does it mean for your business?

DISCOUNTS - 27.06.2023

Can you offer discounts without issuing credit notes?

Your business wants to give some customers a special discount if they pay their invoices within 14 days. How should you deal with the VAT accounting to avoid issuing lots of credit notes every time you give a discount?

CONVERSIONS - 27.06.2023

Converting a part-residential property into houses

A subscriber is purchasing the freehold of a ground floor shop and first floor flat and will convert the property into two houses and sell them. Can they claim input tax on the project costs and is there an alternative approach that is more VAT efficient?

FLAT RATE SCHEME - 27.06.2023

Are you a limited cost trader?

Your business is a long-term user of the flat rate scheme and it saves you tax compared to normal VAT accounting. But have you correctly checked to ensure you are not a limited cost trader in some periods, with its punishing rate of 16.5%?


Are you charging too much VAT on overseas services?

Your business sells services to both charities and private individuals, i.e. on a business-to-consumer (B2C) basis. You have always charged VAT to your EU-based customers and not to those resident in non-EU countries. But is this correct?

POOL CARS - 27.06.2023

Can you claim input tax on a new pool car?

Your business buys cars for use by specific members of staff and correctly does not claim input tax. You’re thinking of buying a new pool car for general use by your staff. What are the conditions for claiming input tax?


Does the decision maker have a discriminatory motive?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that a dismissal is discriminatory only if the decision maker personally had a discriminatory motive. What does this mean?

HOLIDAYS - 27.06.2023

Annual leave entitlement for part timers?

If you employ part-time workers, you’ll need to carefully calculate their annual leave entitlement at the start of each holiday year, including any entitlement to bank holidays. What do you need to know?


What to expect at an employment tribunal hearing

If you’re giving evidence at an employment tribunal final hearing in defence of a claim brought by a job applicant, employee or ex-employee, it’s worth knowing what to expect on the day. What happens when you’re called to the witness table?


BSI standard on menstruation and menopause at work

The British Standards Institution has released a new Menstruation, Menstrual Health and Menopause in the Workplace Standard (BS 30416:2023). What's to know?

ADVERTISING - 27.06.2023

Stay on the right side of the ad rules

Advertising rules make sure consumers are not misled, so they apply to small businesses and corporate giants alike. It can be a difficult area to navigate, and the regulator has pulled together guidance for small businesses to help them stay on the right side of the rules. What does this new resource cover?

TRAINING - 27.06.2023

Are your staff well trained, or just trained?

With the HSE’s current focus on workplace safety culture, effective training is becoming more important. It protects your workers and demonstrates your duty of care. But do you know how effective your safety training really is?

INHERITANCE TAX - 27.06.2023

The hidden inheritance tax on gifts

The usual advice is that potential inheritance tax (IHT) payable on gifts starts reducing (tapering) once three years have elapsed, and after seven the gift is IHT free. However, the three-year deadline is often an illusion. Why?


OK to ask if a woman has or plans to have children?

According to a survey of more than 2,000 employees, 58% of women have been asked whether or not they have children, or if they plan to have children, during a recruitment process. Is it OK to ask these questions?


The dos and don’ts of capital allowances for employees

As a director or employee you’re entitled to a tax deduction for the cost of equipment you purchase and use in your work. What do you need to know to ensure your claim is complete and correct?

PAYROLL - 27.06.2023

Is there a deadline to issue a P45?

You must give an employee a P45 when they leave your employment. But does the law state how long you have to issue a P45 and what happens if you can’t provide this document to the employee before they start a new job?


Should you introduce Summer Fridays?

Summer Fridays allow employees to finish work early on Fridays over the summer months. Is it something you should consider for your business?

MTD - 22.06.2023

MTD scheme five times over initial budget

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has criticised HMRC’s handling of the Making Tax Digital project, saying it has spiralled out of control. What’s happened, and what’s the latest timetable for rollout?

NEW STARTERS - 20.06.2023

Have you deducted too much NI?

One of your workers claims you’ve deducted too much NI from his salary. He says you have the “earnings period” wrong. As this was calculated by your payroll software, you’re sure it’s right. What’s the problem?

STUDENT LOANS - 20.06.2023

Student loan plan changes

It’s up to the payroll team to ensure that student loan repayments are being deducted from wages by checking the correct student loan plan is selected. How can you prepare for the student loan changes being introduced later in 2023?

DATA PROTECTION - 20.06.2023

Protecting payroll data

There have been several high profile payroll data breaches recently. How can you ensure that your payroll systems are robust enough to protect your employees’ personal data?


Four-day week to become reality?

The 4 Day Week campaign has launched a “Four-Day Week Mini Manifesto” and will advocate for change in the run up to the next general election. What changes is it calling for and how likely are they to become law?

PENSIONS - 15.06.2023

Deadline to catch up on NI contributions extended

An opportunity to fill gaps in your NI contribution history back to 2006 was due to end on 31 July 2023. The government has just announced that this will be extended. What’s the new deadline?

CULTURE - 13.06.2023

Are safety interventions worthwhile?

A safety intervention, the practice of stopping work to discuss an issue, can be time consuming for businesses. So is there any benefit to introducing this practice to the workplace, and what can you expect them to achieve?

BEHAVIOUR - 13.06.2023

Coaching staff through change

Workplace changes can create an emotional rollercoaster for staff, each of whom will handle it differently, possibly impacting your safety culture. How can you help transition them through the change and get to operational excellence successfully?

ENVIRONMENT - 13.06.2023

Tread carefully with tyre savings

You’re in the market for some new tyres for company vehicles. These days they come with various pieces of information on noise, safety and efficiency. But will buying A-rated sets really save you money?


How often should equipment be tested?

FIRE SAFETY - 13.06.2023

Fire risk charging e-bikes?

Charging the battery of an e-bike or e-scooter could be putting your premises at risk. What are the dangers and what can you do to protect yourself and others?


Valeting firm put workers at risk of electric shock

A car valeting company has been fined after failing to comply with enforcement notices thereby putting workers at risk of electrocution. What were the circumstances leading to the prosecution and what should be in place to protect workers?

CARE HOMES - 13.06.2023

Care home inspections discover poor standards

The HSE has recently inspected care homes in Scotland and found that over two thirds had not complied with safety legislation and required action to be taken. What were the main issues and what should be in place to protect staff?

MACHINERY - 13.06.2023

Worker fractured arm after being pulled into lathe

A trainee worker fractured his arm in two places after he was pulled into unguarded machinery. Why was this able to happen and what can you do to safeguard your business by preventing a similar injury?

PARENTAL LEAVE - 13.06.2023

New right to neonatal leave and pay

DATA PROTECTION - 13.06.2023

Q&A - making a subject access request

TIME OFF - 13.06.2023

New right to carer’s leave

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 grants employees the statutory right to take five days’ carer’s leave each year. Is this leave paid or unpaid and when will it commence?

HOMEWORKING - 13.06.2023

Can you force hybrid workers back to the office?

Apparently, more than half of UK employers want their hybrid employees to come back to the office full time. Whilst many are actively trying to encourage this, can hybrid working employees simply be told “homeworking is cancelled”?


Can you ban personal relationships at work?

In light of the fallout from Phillip Schofield’s personal relationship with a junior employee, can you ban relationships between senior and junior employees?

PROBATION - 13.06.2023

Can you review a probation period that’s expired?

You hired a new employee who was subject to a three-month probation period. Unfortunately, this expired whilst their line manager was on holiday. Can their probation period still be reviewed or are your hands now tied?

TERMINATION - 13.06.2023

Announcing an employee’s departure

One of your employees has left your employment unexpectedly. This might be due to their resignation or a dismissal. Why should you always put out an internal announcement about such a departure?

INSURANCE - 13.06.2023

Who pays for mobile phone damaged on holiday?

An employee took their work mobile phone on holiday so they could be contacted during this time, but unfortunately it was damaged and can’t be repaired. Can a claim be made on the employee’s travel insurance?


“Toxic behaviour” sacking was an unfair dismissal

An employee who was sacked by WhatsApp due to her “toxic behaviour” towards colleagues has won her claim for unfair dismissal and been awarded over £12,000 by the tribunal. Where did the employer go wrong?

EXPENSES - 12.06.2023

Are reimbursed credit card fees tax exempt?

You’ve used your personal credit card to buy items for your company. Of course, you’ll be reimbursed by the company tax and NI free, but what’s the position if your company also pays the corresponding credit card charges?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 12.06.2023

How to push back against the CGT exemption cut

In March 2023 the Chancellor announced that the capital gains tax (CGT) exemption would be cut in half in April 2023 and the same again in 2024. What steps can you take to counter this indirect tax hike?

VAT - 12.06.2023

Unwinding an option to tax a property

As a landlord, making an option to tax a property can reduce your costs by allowing you to reclaim VAT on your expenses. But an option can work against you, e.g. by limiting the market when you sell. In what circumstances can you revoke an option?

PAYE - BENEFITS - 12.06.2023

Important deadline for employers

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 12.06.2023

Tax return requirement rises to £150k

To limit the number of self-assessment (SA) returns HMRC has to process it’s changed the criteria for when one is required. If HMRC removes you from SA as a result, should you go along with it?

PAYE - 12.06.2023

Tax codes - how important are they?

If you’re a director or employee HMRC adjusts the tax you pay on your salary by changing your tax code. At any one time it’s estimated that more than one in three codes are incorrect. Sounds bad, but does it really make much difference?


Investments that hide a tax trap

Tax planning in later life shouldn’t be confined to inheritance tax. For example, left untouched a popular type of investment can result in an unexpected tax bill for your estate. How can you prevent this?


Tax advantages of a director’s loan waiver

You owe money to the company of which you’re a director and majority shareholder. A colleague has suggested that your company could waive the debt instead of paying you salary. That sounds reasonable but is it tax efficient?

CORPORATION TAX - 12.06.2023

Mitigating the CT rate hike on company gains

Your company made a capital gain in November 2022 when the corporation tax (CT) rate was 19%. But, as the gain falls in its financial year to 30 September 2023 will part of it be taxable at the 25% rate which applies to profits from 1 April 2023?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 12.06.2023

Home office - the “exclusive use” factor

Our subscriber has read that using a room in his home exclusively for work can result in a capital gains tax bill (CGT) when he sells his home, but that this rule can be dodged by keeping private possessions in the room. Is this correct?


Delayed interview feedback was discrimination

The tribunal has ruled that an employer who delayed providing interview feedback for three months committed an act of discrimination. Does this mean that you must deal with all requests for interview feedback immediately?

CARS - 12.06.2023

When is a car not available for private use?

The Upper Tribunal recently decided a long-standing and contentious question regarding employer-owned cars, especially where company directors have access to them. What was the question and how did the judges decide?


Is it OK to use the term “surname”?

A university has hit the headlines after it advised its students to stop using the term “surname” because it could cause offence. Should you stop using “surname” in your workplace and remove it from application forms too?

CONTRACTS - 12.06.2023

How many hours needed for a job to be full time?

A job role is usually undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. Is there a legally defined or accepted number of weekly or monthly hours that an employee must work to be classified as full time or part time?

HEALTH & SAFETY - 12.06.2023

Heatwave help at work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised employers to take action to ensure staff are protected during periods of extreme hot weather this summer. What can you do?


Implementing reasonable adjustments for mental health

Your statutory duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees also extends to those who are disabled due to mental health issues. What are reasonable adjustments for mental health?

HOLIDAYS - 09.06.2023

Annual leave on termination

Agreements on pay in lieu of untaken annual leave can’t result in lower pay than would have been paid had the worker still been in work. What does this mean?

HARASSMENT - 09.06.2023

Should you consider a sexual harassment risk assessment?

With several high-profile organisations hitting the news headlines in recent weeks due to staff members facing sexual harassment allegations, and with changes to the law expected, is it time to conduct a sexual harassment risk assessment?

NEW LEGISLATION - 09.06.2023

New protection for parents and carers

Three government-backed private members’ bills that give parents and carers new employment protections have received Royal Assent. What are they?

REDUNDANCY - 09.06.2023

Failure to consider furlough rendered redundancy unfair

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that it was unfair to make an employee redundant without considering furlough as an alternative. What are the implications?

FOREIGN WORKERS - 09.06.2023

How to claw back immigration fees from foreign workers

If you intend to sponsor a foreign worker under the Skilled Worker route of the UK’s immigration system and you agree to pay their related fees, consider asking them to sign a clawback agreement. What do you need to think about when drafting one?

MATERNITY PAY - 08.06.2023

The effect of salary increases on maternity pay

Inflationary pay increases and a rise in the national minimum/living wage can lead to you needing to undertake significant backdating calculations in relation to statutory maternity pay (SMP). What do you need to be aware of?

BANK HOLIDAYS - 08.06.2023

Zero-hours workers and bank holidays

You have a number of workers on zero-hours contracts. Given the number of bank holidays in May 2023, do you need to pay such workers for these dates?


New minimum wage enforcement strategy

HMRC has changed its national minimum wage (NMW) enforcement strategy to be geographical rather than just sector-based. Which areas is it focusing on first and what action do you need to take if you receive an NMW nudge letter?

TAX - 06.06.2023

Buying a customer list: can you claim tax relief?

Your company is planning to buy a customer list and you’ve been asked to prepare a paper on the potential tax relief. Can you claim tax relief for the amortisation that you charge to the P&L or is there a different tax relief available?

CAR TAX - 06.06.2023

Pool cars - perk or necessity?

Much is made of the tax savings achieved by convincing HMRC that a car or van used by employees for work is a pool vehicle. But there are plenty of hoops to jump through. How can you do so?


July 6 - time to make tax-efficient use of dividends

Dividends tend to be the preferred way for directors to extract profit from their company. But if they don’t have an immediate need for the income is there a way to use the dividend and increase its tax efficiency?

VAT - 06.06.2023

VAT on customer deposits

Your company is to soon start taking deposits from some customers when they place an order. What’s the VAT treatment of these deposits and what happens if the order is cancelled but you keep the deposit?


Can you afford to buy another business?

Buying another business can be a successful growth strategy but how do you know if your company can afford to purchase another company? What do you need to consider?

VAT - 06.06.2023

Paying VAT on UK imports

If your business occasionally imports goods into the UK, it’s likely that you will need to pay import VAT. While your courier may arrange this for you, there are certain checks you should make when completing your VAT return. What do you need to watch out for?

SPREADSHEETS - 06.06.2023

Uses of Excel’s new TEXTSPLIT function

If you need to split text contained within a cell, you’ll be familiar with the Text to Columns wizard. In 2022 Microsoft introduced a new function, TEXTSPLIT. What are the advantages of using this over Text to Columns?

FORECASTS - 06.06.2023

Interest rates rise again - effects

The Bank of England increased interest rates again in May 2023. How will the continued rise in rates affect your business?

STAFF COSTS - 06.06.2023

Managing pay rises during high inflation

High inflation can prompt workers to demand higher salaries to offset rising living expenses. What can you do to ensure that any pay increases are affordable for the business?

RISK MANAGEMENT - 06.06.2023

Assessing the risk of a supplier or customer defaulting

The current economic climate can expose where your business is vulnerable to financial difficulties suffered by suppliers and customers. What can you do to assess and mitigate the risk of a contract default?

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