All Domains

2023 - October

PAY - 31.10.2023

Pay rise or cost of living payment?

Some employers are choosing to freeze pay and make discretionary annual cost of living payments instead. What’s the median cost of living payment that’s being made?

HARASSMENT - 31.10.2023

Employee told to wear make-up wins harassment claim

An employee who was told by her manager to wear make-up when she came into work has won her tribunal claim for harassment related to sex. Why did the tribunal reach this decision and what else did it say?


Employee awarded £25,000 over “deadnaming”

In what’s thought to be the first case of its kind, an employee has been awarded over £25,000 in compensation after she was “deadnamed” by her employer. What is “deadnaming” and why is it unlawful?


Should a disciplinary hearing have a time limit?

You’re about to write to an employee asking them to attend a disciplinary hearing. It’s been suggested that you set a time limit, e.g. two hours, to ensure that the hearing doesn’t go on any longer than is necessary. Why is this a bad idea?

REDUNDANCY - 31.10.2023

How long should the redundancy process take?

When you’re considering making redundancies, there are several stages you’ll need to go through to ensure that any redundancy dismissals you make are fair. How long should the redundancy process take from start to finish?


Can those nearing 66 be excluded from training?

You’re looking at providing some training for your workforce. However, one of your employees is nearing 66 and you suspect that they might retire soon. Can you exclude this employee from your training plans?


Fairly dismissed for claiming two meals on expenses

An employee who was sacked after he claimed for two lunches whilst travelling on a work-related business trip has lost his claim for unfair dismissal. Why did the tribunal find in the employer’s favour?


HMRC promises to speed up refund response

Many refund claims submitted to HMRC for past errors have been delayed by more than six months but it’s promised to improve the backlog. What does this mean for your business?


How much input tax to claim on mileage payments to staff?

You pay a mileage rate to staff who use their private cars for business trips. How much input tax can you claim on these payments and what records must your employees submit with their expenses claim?

OUTPUT TAX - 31.10.2023

What’s the VAT treatment of retentions held by customers?

Your business has contracts where the contractor retains a percentage of your fee for twelve months. This retention will be paid if there are no problems with your work, often referred to as snagging. How should you account for VAT in this situation?

BUILDING WORK - 31.10.2023

Can you charge 5% VAT if owner has moved in?

Your building services will qualify for 5% VAT if a residential property has not been lived in for at least two years. But in what situations can you still charge 5% if the owner moves in before you start work?

LOSSES - 31.10.2023

VAT on fees for loss-making networking events?

A subscriber hosts networking events at a hotel, charging £30 per delegate for light refreshments and the travel costs of a guest speaker. They don’t charge output tax as all events make a loss but input tax is claimed on the costs. Is this correct?

FRAUD - 31.10.2023

Look out for VAT fraud

A 2023 case highlights the importance of businesses taking active steps to prevent VAT fraud in their supply chains. What can you do to avoid a problem?


Changes ahead for lease accounting

If you prepare your accounts under FRS 102, then you may soon need to account for the company’s operating leases differently. What’s changing and what should you be doing now to prepare for it?

COST CONTROL - 31.10.2023

Effective cloud cost management

In times of prolonged economic uncertainty, cost-cutting strategies are a key focus for almost every finance leader. One area of significant and relatively untapped savings is cloud spending. Where do you start?

EMPLOYEE LOANS - 31.10.2023

Considerations when making loans to employees

With interest rates high, company loans to employees are often seen as a valuable benefit. If you extend loans to employees, how should you document these to protect the company?

CORPORATION TAX - 31.10.2023

Tax implications of company closure

One of your companies has to close down after only ever having made losses. With the difficult decision made you want to have it struck off as soon as possible but could this create a problem with HMRC?

VAT - 31.10.2023

When VAT demands seem too high

HMRC has just been examining the business’s records and on the back of this you have received a VAT assessment. The amount that’s being demanded seems unrealistically high. Is there anything you can do about it?

GIFTS - 31.10.2023

Tax relief following free use of a property

Our subscriber wants to give free use of a property, the freehold of which is owned by her company, to a registered charity. She has asked whether her company is entitled to any tax relief for this?


What to consider when setting up an EMI scheme

You’ve been looking at the enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme as an alternative to cash pay rises. But what are the income tax benefits for your employees and are there any tax or NI savings you can secure?

CONTRACTS - 31.10.2023

How to terminate a contract for non-payment

Your company has an ongoing contract with another business yet, despite promises to the contrary, it hasn’t paid up. The directors now want to walk away from the deal, but how should they go about terminating it?

SPREADSHEETS - 31.10.2023

The discounted cash flow model in Excel

The discounted cash flow (DCF) model is a fundamental financial tool used to determine the true value of a company or investment. What is the DCF model and how can you use Excel to calculate it?

CORPORATION TAX - 31.10.2023

Inform HMRC of no corporation tax to pay


Unfairly dismissed over sex work in the car park

An employee who was dismissed after his employer discovered that he was operating a sex business from its car park has won his claim for unfair dismissal. Where did the employer go wrong?

DATA PROTECTION - 31.10.2023

How to respond to a subject access request

A council has been reprimanded by the Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to process data subject access requests (SAR) quickly enough. Responding to these requests can be onerous. How can small businesses comply with the law without wasting time and resources?

EXPENSES - 31.10.2023

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?

HOLIDAYS - 31.10.2023

No holiday left to cover Christmas shutdown

You’ve decided to shut down between Christmas and New Year to give staff a well-deserved break. However, one employee doesn’t have enough holiday left to cover this period. Can they use days from next year’s holiday entitlement?

WORK EQUIPMENT - 31.10.2023

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?


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?

PAY - 31.10.2023

Recovering overpayments from an employee

You’ve discovered that an employee has been accidentally overpaid and are thinking about automatically deducting the amount of the overpayment from their next salary payment. What does the law permit you to do here?

PROPERTY - 31.10.2023

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?


Should you ban personal relationships at work?

ITV has issued new guidelines to staff saying that sexual, romantic or close relationships or friendships with co-workers must be declared at the earliest opportunity. If you want to introduce a personal relationships at work policy, how far should it go?

PROPERTY - 26.10.2023

All repair and improvement costs tax deductible?

Recording expenses relating to business premises often causes trouble. If you get it wrong it can mean tax deductions are lost or overstated leading to an HMRC enquiry. How should you approach recording this type of expense?

VAT - 26.10.2023

How soon should you register for VAT?

You’ve started a business to make a little extra cash. You don’t expect the turnover to ever come close to the VAT registration limit, but might you be required to register anyway, and if not is there an advantage to registering voluntarily?

EXPENSES - 26.10.2023

Are phone call charges tax deductible?

Our subscriber recently travelled abroad on business for his company. While overseas he incurred extra mobile phone charges. Can he claim a tax deduction for them?

TRADING INCOME - 26.10.2023

Is your side-hustle taxable?

HMRC is getting cannier at detecting and penalising people who make extra income but don’t declare it. With that in mind if you start a small side venture to make some extra cash, is it always necessary to declare it to HMRC?


Super-deduction - HMRC has an app for that

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 26.10.2023

HMRC on warpath over HICBC again

If your accountant prepares your self-assessment return, they are about to be tipped off by HMRC if you’ve not declared a liability to the high income child benefit charge (HICBC). What pre-emptive action should you take?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 26.10.2023

Private residence relief - when does home ownership begin?

A couple bought a plot of land and built a new home on it. When they sold it HMRC assessed them for capital gains tax. They appealed and won. HMRC disagreed with the ruling and referred it to the Upper Tribunal (UT). What was the outcome?


Tax efficient remuneration for multiple companies

On advice from your accountant your businesses are owned by separate companies within a group. As a director of each company what’s the most tax and NI-efficient way to be paid earnings from them?

INHERITANCE TAX - 25.10.2023

IHT planning with bonus and rights issues

One of your clients owns both a trading company and an investment company and has come to you for a review of their inheritance tax (IHT) position. How can a bonus or rights issue be deployed as part of an IHT-saving strategy?

VAT - 25.10.2023

New HMRC guidelines on mixed supplies

Some of your clients sell goods or services that would be subject to different rates of VAT if sold separately, or as a combined package for a single price. How will they know how much VAT to charge in these mixed supply situations?


Increasing tax efficiency when closing a company

Your client and the other shareholders are closing down a company that’s no longer needed. They’ll each make a substantial capital gain when its funds are distributed. How can your advice reduce the resulting tax bills?


Tax efficiency for owner managers in 2023/24

The tax savings that can be obtained by running a business through a company have vastly decreased in recent years. What suggestions could you make to improve the efficiency of a client’s profit extraction strategy?

CURRENCY GAINS - 25.10.2023

Fluctuations in FX rates: the tax implications

One of your clients recently sold a property located overseas. They are aware that the fluctuations in currency exchange rates need to be accounted for, but are unsure about how to treat costs relating to the overseas mortgage settlement. What can you advise?


Should clients opt for full expensing?

Your client, a limited company, is planning on spending £500,000 on machinery. It is familiar with the annual investment allowance (AIA), but it does not know much about capital allowances relief under full expensing. What are the pros and cons of each?


Overlap relief form: who’s excluded?

HMRC’s online form allowing you to request clients’ unused overlap relief went live in September. However, it won’t be able to provide a figure for some clients. Who is excluded, and what do you need to do?

REMOTE WORKING - 23.10.2023

Remote working claims increase by 50%

Analysis by HR consultancy Hamilton Nash has revealed that employment tribunal claims relating to remote working rose by 50% in 2022 compared to 2021. Why are these claims on the rise?

GRIEVANCES - 19.10.2023

Grievances: can the same person hear an appeal?

Where an employee’s grievance is “rejected” or “partially upheld”, they must be given a right of appeal. Can the same person who heard the initial grievance consider and determine the employee’s grievance appeal?

DATA PROTECTION - 19.10.2023

New guidance on monitoring workers

In October 2023 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published guidance for employers on how to lawfully monitor workers. What does the new guidance include and what does the ICO mean by its use of the term “worker”?

MINIMUM WAGE - 19.10.2023

NLW to exceed £11 p.h. in 2024

REDUNDANCY - 19.10.2023

Q&A - the Acas Code and redundancy

RECRUITMENT - 19.10.2023

50% will back out of job offer

In a recent survey, 50% of respondents said that they had backed out of a job offer in the last twelve months. Whilst you can’t stop a candidate doing this, what could you do to protect yourself?


Employee excluded from WhatsApp chat wins £130,000

A long-term sick employee who was excluded from his employer’s WhatsApp group chat has been awarded £130,000 compensation by the tribunal. Why did the tribunal make such a sizeable award in this case?

HOLIDAY PAY - 19.10.2023

Floodgates opened on historic holiday pay claims?

It’s been reported that an important ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in October 2023 has opened the floodgates to historic holiday pay claims. What did the court decide and do you really need to be worried?


Statutory rights following pregnancy loss

Apparently, 63% of employers have no policy that sets out an employee’s rights following pregnancy loss. Why is it important to have this type of policy and what statutory rights does an employee have following a miscarriage or stillbirth?

WORK AND PARENTS - 19.10.2023

Dependants’ leave and sickness exclusion periods

Where a child or young person is sick, there may be an applicable “health exclusion period” during which time they can’t return to school. Is an employee entitled to take dependants’ leave if their child is off school for this reason?

TRAINING - 19.10.2023

Safety training as a one-time event?

A common mistake the HSE identifies is that safety training is considered a one-off event rather than occurring on an ongoing basis. Why is it important to dispel this practice and ensure your employees receive regular, hazard-based training?

ENVIRONMENT - 19.10.2023

What’s chemical recycling?

You’ve heard the term “chemical recycling” being used by businesses as a solution to the problems with plastic waste packaging as well as other hard to recycle items like toys, tools and furniture. But what exactly is it and is it all it’s cracked up to be?

MACHINERY - 19.10.2023

Worker severs fingers in meat machine

A catering butchers has been fined after a teenage worker severed three fingers and partially a fourth while operating machinery that hadn’t been suitably guarded. What were the circumstances of the accident and how could it have been prevented?

LONE WORKING - 19.10.2023

Do lone workers know your procedures?

There are around eight million lone workers in the UK, making up 22% of the country’s total working population. A recent survey has highlighted that only 33% report concerns, yet 97% of companies have policies in place. Why is there such a discrepancy and how can you overcome it?

FIRE SAFETY - 19.10.2023

Check your sprinkler requirements

WORK EQUIPMENT - 19.10.2023

Dangerous ladders still being sold

The Ladder Association has highlighted the serious issue of the availability and use of substandard multi-purpose ladders in the UK. What’s the problem?

WORKPLACE - 19.10.2023

Woodworking company fined for dust exposure

A Norfolk woodworking company has been fined for failing to control its employees’ exposure to wood dust. Where did it go wrong and what should you have in place to protect your workers?

construction - 19.10.2023

Do you have RAAC?

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has hit the headlines this summer, with mass closures of public buildings without notice. Should you be taking action to mitigate the risks of RAAC at your own premises?

VAT - 17.10.2023

Reclaiming VAT incurred in an EU country

If you buy goods or services from an EU country that you import for use in your UK business, you must usually deal with the VAT ins and outs through your quarterly returns. But what about VAT paid on purchases made while in an EU country?


Who’s liable for the tax on joint account interest?

Our subscriber was asked by a friend if she would be a joint holder of a savings account. While she has no objection, the bank advised that her income tax would be affected. Is the bank correct?

INHERITANCE TAX - 17.10.2023

Letter of wishes - legitimate IHT dodge?

The inheritance tax (IHT) exemption for gifts between spouses looks generous but may ultimately do no more than defer tax. How can you use a letter of wishes to turn the exemption into real tax savings?


Friends and family finance for businesses

You’ve been offered financial donations from friends and family to help start your new business. If it’s a success you plan to reward the contributors. What would the tax position be for the business and the donors?


Setting tax-efficient salary - don’t be too quick on the draw

As a director of your small company you have complete autonomy over when and how you are paid. What do you need to consider before committing your company to a salary if cash is tight?

LOSSES - 17.10.2023

How to get tax relief for transition year losses

Basis periods have now been abolished for working out tax for unincorporated businesses. Whilst there’s lots of guidance about making the transition from the old to the new rules for profitable businesses, what’s the position if there’s a loss?

CARS - 17.10.2023

Electric vehicle charging, what’s new?

HMRC has changed its guidance on electric vehicle (EV)charging costs. As an employer if you followed HMRC’s original guidance, what steps should you take now?

CORONAVIRUS - 16.10.2023

Can you force staff to take a COVID test?

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising amid concerns about new variants, it seems that we may be on the brink of another wave. To try and limit the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace, can you require employees to take lateral flow tests?

DOMICILE - 11.10.2023

HMRC launches remittance basis toolkit

A new toolkit aimed at assisting non-domiciled taxpayers that use the remittance basis has been launched. What does this do?

HOLIDAY PAY - 09.10.2023

Are you liable for underpaid holiday pay?

A new ruling from the Supreme Court has increased employers’ potential liability for underpaid holiday pay. What do you need to know?

TRANSPORT - 04.10.2023

Haulage company fined after worker dies from injuries

Even though a risk assessment and adequate controls had been implemented, a worker fell 1.2m from a loading bay and died whilst accessing the rear of his lorry. What went wrong and how can you avoid a similar accident at your site?

DRIVING - 04.10.2023

Can defensive driving help your business?

Defensive driving can be highly beneficial for businesses that involve transportation or fleet operations. What is it and how can it help your business?

ACCIDENTS - 04.10.2023

Only careless people have accidents?

There are several common myths that persist in various workplaces which can lead to misinformation about safety practices. We take a look at a common myth that only careless people have accidents. How can this misperception affect your business?

ENVIRONMENT - 04.10.2023

Do more bins equal lower waste bills?

Only one in two SMEs have dry mixed recyclables like paper, plastic and metal, collected separately from their sites, and fewer still have glass and food waste picked up this way. Is a fear of higher bills a problem and is this a justified concern?


Changes to registration and consent processes

PEST CONTROL - 04.10.2023

Prevent a rodent problem


Managing the risks of carbon monoxide

Without proper mitigation strategies, exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) in the workplace can have severe health consequences. What can you do to lower the risk?

WORKPLACE - 04.10.2023

Companies fined after man crushed

Two construction companies have been fined after a groundworker suffered horrific injuries when heavy drainage pipes fell on top of him. How did this happen and what should have been in place to prevent the injury occurring?


What are “significant changes” in the workplace?

Significant workplace changes often require careful consideration, planning and implementation to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of workers. What types of change should be considered and how should you react to them?

MATERNITY - 04.10.2023

What happens after a second period of maternity leave?

An employee has notified you that they are pregnant again and will be taking a second period of maternity leave. Will they have the right to return to exactly the same job after the second period of maternity leave?

TRIBUNALS - 04.10.2023

Can you insist that employee is tribunal witness?

If you ever find yourself in the tribunal, you’re entitled to bring witnesses who can give evidence that’s directly relevant to the case. Can you insist that an employee acts as a tribunal witness and what if they have already left your employment?

WORKING TIME - 04.10.2023

Right to a predictable working pattern

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 (the Act) has received Royal Assent and is now enshrined in law. What rights does this new legislation grant and when does it come into force?

REDUNDANCY - 04.10.2023

Redundancy and suitable alternative employment

When you make an employee redundant you are obliged to offer them any suitable alternative employment that you have available. What’s the legal position if the employee initially rejects your offer but then changes their mind?

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