All Domains

2023 - November

VAT RETURNS - 30.11.2023

Change to VAT processing policy

If you submit a return late, HMRC could take longer to process it in the future, meaning an estimated debt will be held on file for longer. What does this mean for your business?


How does the annual adjustment work?

Your business is partially exempt and uses the standard method to work out how much input tax to claim each quarter. However, you have not carried out any annual adjustment calculations for the last three years. What action should you take to correct this problem?

EXPORTS - 30.11.2023

Selling goods to individuals in the EU: what are the pitfalls?

Your business has the chance to sell goods to private customers in the EU and you are aware there is a low value tax scheme. What is the threshold for these sales and what must you consider to avoid a problem with the EU tax authorities?

PROPERTY INCOME - 30.11.2023

Are rooms rented out by beauty salon exempt from VAT?

One of our subscribers trades as a hairdresser and needs to raise extra income by subletting rooms in her salon to other traders in the beauty industry. Will she charge VAT on these supplies?

INPUT TAX - 30.11.2023

How much VAT can you claim on mixed use assets?

Your business is buying two assets, a yacht and a motorbike, which will both have business and private use because they will be available to staff and directors for leisure trips. How much input tax can you claim on these purchases?


How to reclaim VAT on late-posted purchase invoices?

You’ve discovered that a bundle of purchase invoices were omitted from your last VAT return, with total input tax unclaimed of nearly £20,000. What issues must you consider to solve this problem?

RECRUITMENT - 30.11.2023

How long will applicants wait for an offer?

Apparently, 52% of candidates are reluctant to attend more than two interviews when applying for a new job. How long is the average job applicant prepared to wait to find out if they’ve got the job?


£340,000 for being called “a pensioner”

An employee who was labelled “a pensioner” because of his age and placed “in the relegation zone” has been awarded £340,000 in compensation by the tribunal. These are both no-nos, but where else did the employer go wrong?


Employee denied phased return to work wins £29,000

An employee who was denied a phased return to work after having extensive surgery on both of her wrists has been awarded over £29,000 in compensation by the tribunal. What was the legal issue here?


Is it time to scrap Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is a long-standing tradition in many UK workplaces. However, new research shows that the festive tradition no longer has widespread support. What are the reasons for this and is it time to scrap Secret Santa altogether?

DISMISSAL - 30.11.2023

Employee speaks their mind following dismissal

In November 2023 the Prime Minister fired the Home Secretary. In response, she sent a no holds barred letter criticising his conduct. If you dismiss an employee and they react in the same way, what should you do?

TIME OFF - 30.11.2023

Requests for time off for medical appointments

One of your employees has requested time off during working hours to attend a medical appointment. Must you grant their request and are you entitled to ask them about the nature of the medical appointment?

MATERNITY LEAVE - 30.11.2023

No intention to return from maternity leave

Sometimes an employee will decide that they don’t want to return to work after maternity leave. If you find yourself in this situation, can you simply draw a line under their employment, or must the employee still formally resign?

LEGISLATION - 30.11.2023

Amendments to the Equality Act 2010


Q&A - duty to mitigate losses


“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?

INHERITANCE TAX - 29.11.2023

Problem with residence nil rate band rules?

The mother of one of our subscribers owns a house in a retirement community. When she dies the property must be sold back to the property management company. Will this mean the estate will lose the residence nil rate band (RNRB)?

CONTRACTS - 29.11.2023

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?

WORKPLACE - 29.11.2023

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?


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?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 29.11.2023

How to transfer a business to a company tax efficiently

Anti-avoidance rules prevent business asset disposal relief applying on capital gains made from transferring goodwill from an unincorporated business to a company. But it’s still possible to achieve a 10% tax rate. How’s it done?


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?

COMPANY LAW - 29.11.2023

Company’s class rights variation determined by court

Companies must follow the right procedure when changing the rights attached to a class of their shares. A recent case illustrates the confusion that can arise if a bespoke procedure in the articles is not drafted carefully enough. What happened here, and how can other companies avoid this tricky situation?


Company loans - a cheap form of profit extraction

Despite falling inflation, the Bank of England says it won’t rush to reduce interest rates. So, if you need a loan and your company has available cash is it cheaper and more tax efficient to borrow from it instead of your bank?

EXPENSES - 29.11.2023

Handling mixed-purpose travel expenses

Your company pays for an employee’s business trip which lasts a few weeks. The employee uses his downtime to make sightseeing trips. Does this private purpose mean that your company has to treat any part of the expense as taxable?


How to maximise capital allowances

Tax relief in the form of capital allowances (CAs) for expenditure on equipment often goes begging or is delayed because it’s overlooked or not claimed at the right time. What steps can you take to improve tax efficiency?


New companies - how soon can a director be paid?

You’ve formed a company and are in the process of getting it up and running. As it hasn’t generated any income yet can it pay you a salary, and if it does will it be entitled to tax relief for it?

VAT - 29.11.2023

Overclaimed VAT - is it always repayable to HMRC?

Our subscriber made purchases from a supplier and reclaimed the VAT charged on their invoices. The supplier has subsequently gone under and apparently was never registered for VAT. Must the VAT our subscriber reclaimed be repaid to HMRC?


HMRC invites claims for NI refunds

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 29.11.2023

December deadline for tax returns

Apart from the well-known 31 October and 31 January deadlines for self-assessment returns, there’s one in December too. What is it and why might it matter to you?

INCOME TAX - 29.11.2023

HMRC’s marriage allowance calculator fails to impress

HMRC recently launched an online calculator to help individuals decide if they are entitled to the marriage allowance (MA). This can save couples a modest amount of tax. The trouble is the calculator isn’t accurate. What’s the full story?

MINIMUM WAGE - 27.11.2023

Largest increase to minimum wage

The government has announced substantial increases to the national living wage (NLW) and national minimum wage (NMW) from 1 April 2024, and a key change for workers aged 21 and 22. What are the new rates and what’s the key change?


Avoid problems with directors’ trivial benefits

Your client has been warned by HMRC that low value benefits given to directors may not be covered by the exemption for trivial benefits. They are sceptical, and have asked you whether this is the case. What can you advise?


Tax cuts focus on NI rates

The Autumn Statement announced headline-grabbing NI cuts for both employees and the self-employed. What were the main changes and, crucially, when do they happen?

LOANS - 23.11.2023

How can clients beat high interest rates?

HMRC’s official rate of interest, used for calculating the taxable amount on participator loans, is very low compared with high street rates. How can your clients use this to their advantage in a tax and NI-efficient way?

VAT - 23.11.2023

Gifts and entertainment: avoiding festive VAT blues

The festive season means that many of your clients will be entertaining and making gifts to their staff and customers. What is the VAT treatment of these expenses for both input and output tax purposes?

DOMICILE - 23.11.2023

The remittance basis and new share exchange rules

A non-domiciled client has received income and gains from an offshore company and wants to exclude them from tax under the remittance basis. However, you are aware of a share exchange prior to this. Why might new rules mean the basis can’t apply?

PARTNERSHIPS - 23.11.2023

Do clients need to apply the salaried member rules?

Your client, a limited liability partnership (LLP) that provides investment management services, has asked whether one of its members meets the conditions of the salaried member rules. What are these rules, and what guidance does recent case law provide?

PENALTIES - 23.11.2023

Penalties: evidence and the burden of proof

One of our subscribers recently convinced HMRC to remove a surcharge in relation to a supposedly late payment. How does their experience, and a recent tribunal case, underpin some fundamental issues when it comes to appeals?

INHERITANCE TAX - 23.11.2023

Effective planning for older clients

Several of your clients have attained state retirement pension age but have not undertaken any inheritance tax (IHT) planning. You have arranged a series of meetings to discuss strategies which are suitable for using later in life. What ideas might you suggest?


Tax cuts focus on National Insurance

With inflation decreasing faster than expected the Chancellor was able to make some cuts after all. Where might you stand to benefit?

EQUAL PAY - 20.11.2023

Equal pay day is 22 November

22 November is Equal Pay Day. It’s the date on which, according to The Fawcett Society women start working for free until the end of the year. It’s only two days later than last year. What are the essentials of equal pay law?


What can business learn from football’s mistakes?

With the recent death of Sir Bobby Charlton questions are being raised about sports equipment and practices. But is there anything that businesses can learn from sport’s dawning acknowledgement that repetitive tasks can hurt people?

ENFORCEMENT - 16.11.2023

Working with your inspector

When a health and safety inspector calls, you may feel inclined to keep dialogue to a minimum, but taking a collaborative approach can pay off. Why is this and what are our top tips for dealing with the enforcing authorities?

ENVIRONMENT - 16.11.2023

Government U-turn on targets

On 20 September 2023, Rishi Sunak announced major changes to the UK’s approach to the net zero target. What were these changes to policy and how might it affect your business?

ENVIRONMENT - 16.11.2023

Hazardous wood waste requirements


Why offer ‘flu jabs?

GAS SAFETY - 16.11.2023

Managing risk from compressed gases

The British Compressed Gases Association has issued new guidance regarding managing the risk from workplace gases. What’s included?


Refurbishment firm fined for failing to protect its workers

An alloy wheel refurbishment company has been fined for multiple health and safety failings. What were they and what can you learn from this case?

ANIMALS - 16.11.2023

Don’t overlook the risks of animals in the workplace

While it’s important to acknowledge that working with animals can be rewarding and fulfilling, there may be some truth to the old adage of never working with them. What can go wrong?

YOUNG PEOPLE - 16.11.2023

Company fined after work experience injury

A 16-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after becoming trapped under a tractor while on paid work experience. Why did the accident happen and how could it have been prevented?


HMRC amends rules for job expenses claims

TAX CLAIMS - 14.11.2023

Tax reliefs and deductions - know your (time) limits!

Strict time limits apply to claims by individuals and businesses for tax deductions and reliefs. What are the key dates you need to know to ensure you don’t lose your entitlement to them?

BUSINESS RATES - 14.11.2023

Business rates reform - what’s the latest?

On top of higher interest rates and inflation, businesses and commercial landlords now face another burden in the shape of new rules for business rates. What’s the full story?

VAT - 14.11.2023

Go electronic with your invoices

Your business recently switched to electronic invoicing. There were a few teething problems but it’s now working well. However, some customers are asking for paper invoices and getting pushy about it. Must you comply with their requests?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 14.11.2023

Missed the 31 October deadline?

If you file your 2022/23 paper tax return after 31 October 2023, it’s likely that HMRC will fine you. However, there are exceptions. When and how can you use them to avoid a penalty?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 14.11.2023

What can you deduct from capital gains?

The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) recently ruled on a dispute regarding what should be deducted when working out a capital gain. The FTT’s decision might seem surprising but was it correct?

PENSIONS - 14.11.2023

Maximise partner’s pension with company cash

Your partner is about to give up work to have a child. She expects to be out of the job market for several years. Meanwhile she wants to keep up her pension savings. Is getting your company to pay her contributions a tax-efficient way to do it?


Pros and cons of charging your company rent

If you own your business’s trading premises, charging rent can be a good way to extract income. The trouble is it can increase any capital gains tax (CGT) payable if you sell the property. Can the income tax saving justify the extra CGT?


OK to make your Christmas party mandatory?

With remote and hybrid working there may be few times when all staff get together. To encourage and maintain team building, is it OK to make attendance at your work Christmas party mandatory?

RECRUITMENT - 13.11.2023

Pros and cons of re-hiring a former employee

You’ve recently advertised a job vacancy that you’d like to fill quickly and one of your former employees has applied for the position. What are the advantages and disadvantages of rehiring them?


Nut allergy results in discriminatory dismissal

An employee who was sacked following a period of sickness absence caused by a nut allergy has won his tribunal claim for discrimination. Where did the employer involved in this case go wrong?

RESIGNATIONS - 13.11.2023

Missing out on exit interviews

According to new research, thousands of employers are missing out on vital information because they don’t conduct exit interviews. Why are exit interviews so important and who should conduct them?

HOMEWORKING - 13.11.2023

87% of homeworkers take care of children on the job

Apparently, 87% of homeworkers regularly look after their children while carrying out their jobs. As this could negatively impact performance, can you ban homeworkers from taking care of their children whilst working for you?

HARASSMENT - 13.11.2023

The new duty to prevent sexual harassment

The new Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 introduces a new duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the workplace. When does this new duty come into force?

CONTRACTS - 13.11.2023

Employment contracts and electronic signatures

It’s been suggested that you could speed up your recruitment processes by sending employment contracts out to new hires via email and asking them to sign on the dotted line with an electronic signature. Is this legally acceptable?


What’s a “breach of contract”?


What are the risks of unpaid internships?

It seems that some employers are still offering unpaid internships. What are the risks in doing so?

VAT - 10.11.2023

HMRC scraps paper VAT registration

From 13 November HMRC will abolish the paper VAT registration form. How will new applications be made from that date?

RESIGNATION - 06.11.2023

Why conduct exit interviews?

According to a new survey by Cpl Talent Evolution Group, more than half of employees who resigned from their last job were not invited to an exit interview. What are the benefits of holding exit interviews?

FIRE SAFETY - 02.11.2023

E-cigarette battery fire risk

MENTAL HEALTH - 02.11.2023

Shift work linked to mental health issues

According to a recent study, shift work is linked to a greater likelihood of suffering mental health issues. What’s to know and how can you manage the risk?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 02.11.2023

Rail company fined after volunteer injured

A Welsh heritage train operator has been prosecuted after a volunteer fell from the top of a carriage. What went wrong and what obligations do you owe any volunteers?

NOISE - 02.11.2023

Have you tried the shout test?

The HSE is asking bosses to shout at work to test if they have a workplace noise problem, and if the test returns a positive result it would like you to “CUFF” it! What does it have in mind and what action should you be taking?

GAS - 02.11.2023

Unregistered plumber handed suspended prison sentence

A man has been given a suspended jail sentence after carrying out illegal gas work and breaching an enforcement notice. What were the circumstances of the case and how can you avoid incompetent tradesmen?


What are explosives precursors?

Explosives precursors are substances that can be used to manufacture or create explosives. These materials have legitimate purposes in various industries, but they can also be misused to create dangerous explosives. What’s to know?

BEHAVIOUR - 02.11.2023

How perception influences safety behaviour

Perception, our subjective interpretation of reality, plays a significant role in shaping our behaviours and decision-making processes. Why is this important to your management of health and safety and how can you positively influence perception?

ENVIRONMENT - 02.11.2023

Avoid penalties by taking better care of waste

The Environment Agency has described waste crime as the “new narcotics” and small businesses could be a target for illegal operators raking in millions every year. Can you end up the one facing fines and if so how do you best protect yourself?

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