All Domains

2023 - September

OUTPUT TAX - 29.09.2023

Is there a problem giving staff free stock?

Your business buys and sells goods and it’s your policy to give some free items to staff. You also personally take some stock for yourself and your family. You amend your stock records for these but what should you do with the VAT?

REPAYMENTS - 29.09.2023

Will HMRC repay missing VAT return?

Your accountant has discovered that your business failed to submit a VAT return five years ago for a particular quarter. The return shows a net repayment because you had high zero-rated sales in that period. Can you submit it now for a repayment?

RECHARGES - 29.09.2023

VAT on zero-rated expenses recharged to customers?

A subscriber trades as a consultant and a customer has asked why VAT has been charged on rail and air travel costs recharged on their sales invoices. The customer has asked for a VAT credit because they are a zero-rated disbursement. Are they correct?

CREDIT NOTES - 29.09.2023

When can you adjust returns for customer refunds?

Your business sometimes issues credit notes but then repays the customer over a longer period of time. You adjust your VAT returns on the date that you issue the credit note but is this correct?


VAT due on online advertising?

Your business buys online advertising to increase the number of hits to your website. Most of the advertising charges are invoiced by EU suppliers and two of them are charging local VAT. Is this correct and what action should you take if not?

HMRC - 29.09.2023

Dealing with poor HMRC service

One third of taxpayers are dissatisfied with the quality of HMRC’s service. The HMRC Charter annual report has acknowledged serious service failures, including major issues with VAT. How does this affect your business?

COMPANY LAW - 28.09.2023

Company left in limbo after director’s death

A family business was plunged into conflict when its sole director died. In a case that illustrates the need for such companies to think about succession planning, one side tried to get the court onside in its power grab. Did it succeed?

MACHINERY - 28.09.2023

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?


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?


“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?

VAT - 28.09.2023

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?


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?


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?

HOMEWORKING - 28.09.2023

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”?

TAX DEPOSITS - 28.09.2023

Tax deposits deadline looming

The Certificate of Tax Deposit Scheme will come to an end on 23 November 2023, yet £89 million remains unclaimed. What should you do if you have such a certificate?

DRESS & APPEARANCE - 27.09.2023

Can you ban pink hair?

An employee in the US has hit the headlines after her new employer suggested she wear a wig to hide her pink hair. In the UK, can your dress and appearance policy require employees to only have natural or traditional hair colours?

ENVIRONMENT - 25.09.2023

Government U-turn on greenhouse gases

The PM has reneged on the government’s plans to cut greenhouse gases. What five things can you learn from his move?


Employee told to do laundry wins £28,000

An employee who resigned and successfully claimed constructive dismissal after she was told to do housekeeping duties instead of her usual job has been awarded £28,000 by the tribunal. Why did the employee have a legal right to resign?


Dealing with requests to work remotely from abroad

According to media reports in September 2023, hundreds of council staff across the UK have been given permission to work remotely from abroad. If one of your employees asks to work in this way, are you obliged to agree?

CONTRACTS - 20.09.2023

It’s not binding because I didn’t read the contract!

You’ve reminded an employee about a term that’s included in their employment contract. They’re now saying it isn’t binding as they never read the contract before they signed it. Is this correct?


Sun, sea, sand and holiday sickness

An employee has returned to work after a week’s holiday abroad. Unfortunately, they were struck down with a bug on their arrival and weren’t able to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. Must you automatically recredit their holiday?


“Clever woman” loses discrimination claim

An employee who was referred to as a “clever woman” by a colleague has lost her claim of sex discrimination at the tribunal. Why did the tribunal side with the employer in this case and what else do you need to know?

DATA PROTECTION - 20.09.2023

Data protection and workers’ health


Q&A - what’s a “detriment”?

RECRUITMENT - 20.09.2023

Inundated with job applications?

Research shows that applications per job vacancy grew by nearly 40% in August 2023 compared with the previous year. If you’re inundated with applications, you can bring forward the closing date?

PATERNITY LEAVE - 20.09.2023

Employee “invents” children to take paternity leave

An employee writing anonymously on social media claimed that they’d invented the births of four children to fraudulently take paternity leave. How was this possible and what’s the easiest way to prevent this type of fraud?

WORKPLACE - 20.09.2023

Pret fined for worker trapped in freezer

Pret has been fined after an employee was trapped in a freezer for more than two hours, where she tried to use croissant boxes to stave off hypothermia. How could this happen and what should be in place to prevent a similar occurrence?

WORKPLACE - 20.09.2023

Help prevent slips, trips and falls

With wetter months approaching now is a good time to review your policy and procedures for preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace. What should you be considering and are there any further controls that could be applied?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 20.09.2023

Reaching working heights safely

With the EU Revocation Bill raising questions about working safely at height, now is a good time to review your current practices to ensure that your staff are protected from the dangers of working at height. What are the best standards to apply?

ENVIRONMENT - 20.09.2023

Plastic bans loom but other green rules delayed

Single-use items like cutlery and plates have been banned in England from 1 October, but the government has decided to delay other packaging rules until at least 2025. What do you need to know?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 20.09.2023

Harness wearing on mobile tower scaffold

PPE - 20.09.2023

Concerns over American safety shoes

The HSE has been made aware of a potential issue regarding the testing of boots to American Standard; ASTM F2412-18A. What is it?


Crafting a convincing business case to improve safety

There may be individuals who are sceptical about the significance of investing in health and safety initiatives. So how can you develop a business case that will persuade management to release funding to enable you to meet your action plan?

ENFORCEMENT - 20.09.2023

Fine for obstructing HSE investigation

A construction company and its director have been fined after a catalogue of health and safety failings were discovered during an inspection. What should the company have done and what can you do to prevent a similar occurence?


Non-compete clauses to be outlawed?

The government intends to introduce a statutory three-month limit on the length of non-compete clauses. When this cap takes effect, what are your options for restricting what an employee can do once they’ve resigned or been dismissed?

CORPORATION TAX - 19.09.2023

Can company clients invest tax efficiently?

The director of one of your company clients has asked you whether the company can use excess cash to make an enterprise investment scheme (EIS)-type investment. Is this possible, and is there an alternative if not?

LAND - 19.09.2023

Can clients claim VAT on option fee?

One of your clients has a deal with a local farmer, giving them first refusal to purchase ten acres of land if the farmer decides to sell it in the next ten years. Is the farmer right to charge VAT on the fee and can your client claim input tax?


Ensure R&D claims meet new requirements

2023 has seen a number of changes to R&D tax relief, including the way that claims need to be made. HMRC is concerned about the latest requirements not being adhered to. What do you need to do?


Resolving unintended IHT exposure on business assets

A married couple have come to you for a review of their inheritance tax (IHT) position. They own a trading company and are expecting business property relief (BPR) to apply, but you find two business assets that may cause an unexpected IHT problem. How might they resolve it?


Considerations and opportunities ahead of forced change

2023/24 is the transitional year for basis period reform. What are some key points, and as you are preparing the 2022/23 returns for your clients, why might you advise them to change their year end before the forced change?


CT hike: solving problems with associates

The main rate of corporation tax increased to 25% from 1 April 2023. The relevant thresholds must be shared between companies that are associated, which means the hike will affect such clients more than others. Is there a way around the problem?

LOANS - 18.09.2023

Joined up bookkeeping saves tax on directors’ loans

Several years ago you made a loan to your company. Since then you’ve drawn on company cash to pay private expenses. On balance you’re in the black but HMRC says your cash drawing is separate from the loan and is taxable. Can it be right?

COMPANY TAX - 18.09.2023

Tax relief for donating free use of a property

Our subscriber wants to give free use of a property, the freehold of which is owned by his company, to a registered charity. He wants to know if his company is entitled to any tax relief for this?

COMPANY VANS - 18.09.2023

Low and tax-free company vans

If your company provides a van for use by an employee or director it usually counts as a taxable benefit in kind. However, the rules which determine the tax and NI position are tricky. What do you need to know?

PAYROLL - 18.09.2023

HMRC’s warning over payroll errors

HMRC says that some employers are incorrectly processing workplace pension contributions. Why is this a big problem and how can you correct it?

PENALTIES - 18.09.2023

Remember, remember the 5th of October

You’ve recently read that you can be fined if you owe tax for 2022/23 and don’t tell HMRC about it by 5 October 2023. Is this right and if so what steps can you take to avoid a penalty?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 18.09.2023

Can deferred share buybacks ever be tax efficient?

The main director shareholder of a company is moving on. It’s been agreed the company will buy his shares, but the trouble is it doesn’t have enough cash. Why is this a problem and how can it be resolved?


Employers can reclaim NI on car allowances


Get some (tax) relief from ULEZ

RESIDENCE - 15.09.2023

Lord Sugar falls foul of little-known residence rule

Lord Alan Sugar has found himself in the spotlight after he alleged his accountant gave him incorrect advice in respect of his tax residence. What went wrong?

NOISE - 12.09.2023

Excessive noise hinders office return

A study has found that excessive noise is preventing people from returning to the office, and results in reduced productivity when they do go in. What can you do to overcome these obstacles and ensure a healthy workplace for all concerned?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 12.09.2023

Reducing the risk of serious falls

Serious injury and deaths from falling from height are still too prevalent in the workplace. You’ve heard a lot about reducing risk, but what steps should you take to ensure you have the best controls in place to prevent accidents?

ENVIRONMENT - 12.09.2023

Water company guilty of greenwashing

Ads made by two water companies have been scrutinised by regulators after complaints of greenwashing. The cases show a change in approach from regulators, but what is it and what can you learn?

ENVIRONMENT - 12.09.2023

Are “carbon neutral” claims dead?

Many businesses are backing away from making carbon neutral claims and now one of the most trusted providers of such claims - the Carbon Trust - has binned its certification label. What’s to know?

WORKPLACE - 12.09.2023

£1m fine after worker lost an eye

Europe’s second largest manufacturer of tissue paper has received a seven-figure fine after an employee suffered serious facial injuries when he was hit by a crane hook. Why did this happen and what can you do to prevent a similar incident?

MENTAL HEALTH - 12.09.2023

Don’t forget mobile worker mental health

Prioritising mental health in a dynamic work environment is a focus of the HSE’s Working Minds campaign, with particular emphasis on drivers of heavy goods vehicles. What’s involved and will it complement your policies?

WORK EQUIPMENT - 12.09.2023

Failure to guard conveyor led to serious injury

A worker had their palm completely degloved after being drawn into a conveyor system. What should have been in place to prevent this accident from occurring?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 08.09.2023

HMRC reopens self-assessment helpline

HMRC’s self-assessment helpline was closed in June. It’s now reopened for calls ready for the tax return filing season. What do you need to know?

HOLIDAYS - 08.09.2023

What happens if staff don’t take annual leave?

A new report by Access PeopleHR has found that employees are now using less of their annual leave compared to two years ago, due to various factors including being too busy and the cost of living crisis. What are the risks?

CORPORATION TAX - 07.09.2023

HMRC issues reminder about new R&D tax relief rules

Despite new requirements for research and development (R&D) claims being in force for a month, almost half of claims made since then have omitted the necessary information. How can you avoid missing out?

MINIMUM WAGE - 06.09.2023

Work-related travel causes minimum wage breaches

HMRC has named and shamed another 202 employers who have breached minimum wage laws. Of those employers, 39% had failed to correctly pay workers for their work-related travel. What do you need to know?


Reasonable adjustments for job applicants

You have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees who are disabled. Does this duty extend to the recruitment process and what’s the situation if a job applicant hasn’t advised you that they are disabled?


Should you have hair colour rules?

An employee has turned up to work sporting bright blue hair which you think looks really unprofessional. Can you ask them to revert to a natural hair colour?

MOBILE PHONES - 06.09.2023

Can you ban mobile phone use at work?

You’ve noticed that some employees are often glued to their mobile phones. Whilst you understand they may need to respond to the odd message or make an urgent call, it’s really impacting productivity. Can you ban personal mobile phone use at work?

DISMISSAL - 06.09.2023

Must you say “please” when making employee requests?

An employee who refused to carry out job-related tasks because her bosses didn’t say “please” has claimed race discrimination at the tribunal. Are employees entitled to insist that you always make such polite requests of them?

RECRUITMENT - 06.09.2023

Is a “golden hello” taxable?

DATA PROTECTION - 06.09.2023

Misusing personal data for sex

Research by the Information Commissioner’s Office shows that hundreds of employees have used a third party’s personal data to make romantic or sexual propositions. What do you need to know?


Broken toilet costs unhappy employer over £32,000

An employee who was sacked after he contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about a broken toilet in his workplace has been awarded £32,738 by the tribunal. Where did the employer go wrong?

FORECASTING - 06.09.2023

Sensitivity analysis in forecasts

It’s difficult to predict the future and variables such as market trends, economic fluctuations and customer preferences can severely impact a business’s financial performance. How can you build some sensitivity into your forecasts?

VAT - 06.09.2023

Reclaiming VAT on office refurbishments

The company is relocating premises and is spending a fair amount on refurbishments such as new furnishings and artwork for the office. You’ve heard that you might not be able to reclaim VAT on some of these costs, but is that really correct?

TAX - 06.09.2023

Using loss relief to cancel tax on extra profits

The Court of Appeal was asked to decide if a company was entitled to use loss relief to cancel tax on extra profits that resulted from a tax enquiry. The company had lost its argument in the lower courts twice, so would it be third time lucky?

PAYROLL - 06.09.2023

Demystifying pension tax relief

In August 2023 HMRC reminded employers about the confusing pension scheme tax relief methods but also issued a warning that it’s the employer who is responsible for any resulting underpayment of tax. What do you need to know?

SPREADSHEETS - 06.09.2023

Embedding a range in a Word document

You’re writing your monthly report for the board and need to incorporate some data from an Excel spreadsheet. Is there a way to embed the data so that the Word document updates whenever the spreadsheet is updated?

GIFTS - 06.09.2023

When business gifts come with a cost

A grateful customer has sent several cases of champagne for the company to share among staff and directors. Happy days. But is there tax to pay here and, if so, who is actually responsible for paying it?

TECHNOLOGY - 06.09.2023

Taking advantage of ChatGPT

ChatGPT has created quite a stir recently for its potential to create a range of content. However, ChatGPT could also be an invaluable resource for your finance team. What are some of the ways you can make use of this AI chatbot?

COMPANY CARS - 06.09.2023

Workplace charging scheme

ENERGY COSTS - 06.09.2023

Save costs with SME Climate Hub?

Mitigating the increase in energy costs is a key focus for many finance leaders. How could a new initiative, the SME Climate Hub, help achieve this?


Reporting in uncertain times

Economic uncertainties due to matters such as inflationary pressures and the war in Ukraine are likely to require you to consider how these factors impact the value of assets in your year-end accounts. What do you need to consider?

CORPORATION TAX - 06.09.2023

Can group companies reduce their tax bill?

Your company owns a subsidiary which has profits that are higher than its parent. But this difference in profits can result in a higher overall corporation tax (CT) bill for the group. What’s the problem and how can you mitigate it?

EXPENSES - 05.09.2023

Deductible director’s entertainment - too good to be true?

You’re the sole shareholder and director of a growing trading company. It’s been a good year and you want to celebrate in style with the employees who helped. Will HMRC allow tax relief if you put the expense of entertaining everyone through the business?


Is NI payable on car allowances?

Two businesses paid their employees’ car allowances. They said no NI was payable on these to the extent the cars were used for business. HMRC argued the payments were just earnings and so liable to NI. How did the Upper Tribunal (UT) rule?

VAT - 05.09.2023

Can you legitimately dodge registration?

Because of exceptional circumstances your business turnover has exceeded the VAT registration limit. You’re sure that this won’t be repeated. Must you register and wait to deregister when your turnover falls or is there an alternative?

TAX INCENTIVES - 05.09.2023

Tax breaks for Investment Zones

To boost technological and industrial growth, twelve areas around the UK are being designated as Investment Zones (IZ). The associated £80 million funding offers access to enhanced tax reliefs. If your business is in an IZ, how can you benefit?

PROPERTY - 05.09.2023

Property rental, getting hitched and a tax trap

Getting married or becoming civil partners has many tax advantages. However, for landlords it could result in higher income tax bills. Why, and what steps can you take to prevent this?

BENEFITS - 05.09.2023

Is there a financial benefit to benefits in kind?

You’ve been approached by a firm selling employee benefits schemes. They claim your employees will be better off if you pay some of their salary in benefits, which in turn helps with your staff costs. You thought such schemes were outlawed by HMRC. Can they still work?

ACCOUNTS - 05.09.2023

New guidance on basis period reforms

HMRC has published its initial guidance on reporting income under the new basis period rules. If these affect you, how should you prepare for them?

RECRUITMENT - 04.09.2023

Make job offers stick

According to a survey by management consultancy Gartner, in the last year 50% of candidates accepted a job offer but then backed out before starting. How can you improve the odds?

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