All Domains

2024 - January

PAY & CONDITIONS - 30.01.2024

Is there a right to a pay rise?

Lidl has announced the third increase in a year to the hourly pay of its store and warehouse workers. Do your employees have any right to a pay rise?

ERRORS - 29.01.2024

Payment processor services: get the VAT treatment right

HMRC is concerned that many businesses receiving payments from customers are making errors when there is a fee deduction for payment processor services. What is the correct approach and what should you do if you have made past errors?


EV charging: VAT position clarified

HMRC has amended its published guidance to remove any doubt about the rate of VAT that applies to electric vehicle charging at public points. What does this mean for your business?

INPUT TAX - 29.01.2024

When will HMRC disallow input tax with the Kittel principle?

A subscriber has received a large input tax assessment from HMRC, with all claims that relate to one particular supplier being disallowed for the last three years owing to the “Kittel principle”. What action should our subscriber take?

VAT RETURNS - 29.01.2024

Can you switch to monthly VAT returns?

Your business submits quarterly returns but your trading model has changed so that most of your future sales will be zero-rated. What are the risks and benefits of submitting monthly returns to HMRC and how will you make the change?

OVERSEAS ISSUES - 29.01.2024

Where does your business belong if you leave the UK?

After many years of supplying your services in the UK through a limited company, you have decided to move abroad. Can you continue being registered for VAT if you have a UK-registered address for your company with Companies House?

CHARITIES - 29.01.2024

Is your grant income subject to VAT?

Your charity has received a grant to help fund specific projects and you are concerned that the strict conditions imposed make it subject to VAT. Are your concerns justified and what checks can you make to ensure there are no problems?


Safety showers and their maintenance

The first moments after exposure to chemicals, particularly corrosive ones, are vital in preventing serious injuries. Well maintained safety showers provide immediate treatment to flush away the hazardous material. What do you need to know?

ENVIRONMENT - 25.01.2024

Five ways to protect your business against flooding

A flood is devastating if it happens at home or to your business. Planning your response to flooding, both before and after an event, can help keep your head above water. What is there to consider and how can you be proactive?


HSE Health and Work Conference available

WORKPLACE - 25.01.2024

Crush risk from lorry loader stabilisers

Serious risk of injury or death when a powered tilting stabiliser is being rotated to a vertical position has been identified in the HSE’s latest safety alert. What’s to know?


Worker spotted on pallet raised by forklift truck

A company has been fined after onlookers spotted an employee working from a pallet raised by a forklift truck at Ramsgate Harbour. How could this unsafe act have been allowed to happen, and how can you prevent similar behaviours in your workplace?

FIRE SAFETY - 25.01.2024

Fire extinguisher guidelines updated

When determining how many fire extinguishers you need, their type, size and location, the most important source of guidance is the British Standards document BS5306-8. What changes were introduced in the latest update?


NHS fined after employee found unconscious in manhole

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £480,000 after an employee suffered a brain injury after he was found unconscious in a manhole. What happened and what should have been in place to prevent this accident?

MENTAL HEALTH - 25.01.2024

Why provide a mental health first aider?

With stress, anxiety and depression accounting for 49% of work-related illness it’s a good time to consider whether you should provide more support for your staff. What is the role of a mental health first aider (MHFA) and can it benefit your business?


Employment contracts for new employees

What does the law require when it comes to issuing employment contracts to new employees? What are the essentials that you need to be aware of to ensure your business stays on the right side of the law?

HOLIDAY PAY - 25.01.2024

Has the government given a holiday pay bonus?

The entitlement for workers to be paid “normal pay” for four weeks’ annual leave has been preserved following amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998. What’s the potential problem here?


Failure to provide auxiliary aids was discriminatory

An employee who wasn’t provided with the recommended support on returning to work after a brain haemorrhage has won a disability discrimination claim for their employer’s failure to make reasonable adjustments. How did it fail in this duty?

TIME OFF - 25.01.2024

What time off rights do kinship carers have?

The government has published new guidance for employers on supporting kinship carers in the workplace and how to be a kinship friendly employer. What is kinship care and what statutory rights do kinship carers have to time off work?

STATUTORY RATES - 25.01.2024

Statutory payment rates for 2024/25

WORKING TIME - 25.01.2024

Q&A - record-keeping obligations

HOLIDAYS - 25.01.2024

What’s the latest on annual leave carry over rights?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 were amended with effect from 1 January 2024 to codify existing EU case law covering the carry over of annual leave in some exceptional circumstances. What does the legislation now say?

REDUNDANCY - 25.01.2024

Lack of early consultation made redundancy unfair

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that an employee’s dismissal for redundancy, in a small-scale redundancy exercise, was unfair due to the absence of early general workforce consultation. Where did the employer go wrong?


Construction industry scheme - what’s the latest?

In a move to prevent or at least reduce tax avoidance, changes to the construction industry scheme (CIS) rules takes effect from April 2024. As a contractor or subcontractor in the industry, what do you need to know?

CARS & VANS - 24.01.2024

When is a vehicle “available” as a company car or van?

After a routine compliance check HMRC is demanding years of back tax and NI plus penalties from our subscriber simply because once every few months an employee uses the firm’s van for work. Is HMRC right or just trying it on?


Tax and the personal use of business stock

You often take stock and materials from your business for private use. So that no tax relief is claimed for it, your bookkeeper removes the cost of the items in the business’s records. This seems fair, but will HMRC have a problem with it?

VAT - 24.01.2024

Reducing VAT penalty points

HMRC’s VAT penalty system based on points has been in place for a little over a year and the first new-style fines will soon apply. If you’ve accumulated points, when might these be knocked off your record to reduce the risk of a fine?

TAX PAYMENTS - 24.01.2024

HMRC ends repayment notification

ECOMMERCE - 24.01.2024

Is HMRC really targeting online sellers?

According to recent reports in the popular media, if you sell goods online new rules mean HMRC can tax you on the money you receive. Is this correct?

COMPENSATION - 24.01.2024

Has Post Office wrongly claimed tax relief for compensation?

It’s been widely reported that the Post Office wasn’t entitled to tax relief for compensation it expects to pay to sub-postmasters. If that’s the case, might you be in trouble with HMRC if you’ve ever claimed relief for compensation paid to a customer?

EXPENSES - 24.01.2024

Tax relief for home broadband?

You’ve agreed to reimburse part of an employee’s broadband bill for when they work from home. HMRC’s guidance says that although it’s a business expense you must deduct PAYE tax and NI from anything you pay. Why, and can it be avoided?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 23.01.2024

Allowance cut: options for clients

On 6 April 2024, the capital gains tax (CGT) annual exempt amount will be halved to just £3,000. What can clients do ahead of this to save tax?


Separating a trading group tax efficiently

The shareholders of one of your corporate clients have decided to split and go their separate ways, with each shareholder taking a business with them. How can a demerger be used to achieve the split, and will there be any tax payable on the separation?


Simplifications for small businesses announced

Following a review of the impact of Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD ITSA) on smaller businesses, a number of simplifications have been announced. What do these changes mean for your clients?

SELF-EMPLOYMENT - 23.01.2024

Are clients ready for cash basis by default?

Following a consultation, the cash basis is being simplified and will become the default basis of accounts preparation for unincorporated business from 6 April 2024. What are the implications of this decision for your clients?


Beware tax trap in the year of death

Investment bonds are popular for retirees, partly due to a tax-free withdrawal that can be made each year. However, if these are held at the date of death a hidden tax trap can spring. How can this be mitigated?

TAX CASES - 23.01.2024

Was HMRC approach valid?

LAND TAXES - 23.01.2024

Purchasing a second property: Scottish complications

Your client is looking at buying a holiday home near his favourite golf course. Upon closer inspection, you discover that the property he is interested in is located just over the Scottish border. What difference will this make for your client?


Statutory payment rates confirmed

A draft Order has been published which confirms the statutory payment rates for tax year 2024/25. What are they?

ANNUAL LEAVE - 15.01.2024

Managing an influx of annual leave requests

As workers plan and book their holidays for the year, how should you handle an influx of annual leave requests, and can you refuse any requests that you can’t accommodate?

INCOME TAX - 12.01.2024

Online side hustlers to feel HMRC’s wrath?

HMRC will soon start to receive information about the money people make on online selling platforms such as TikTok and Etsy. This has led to panic about a new “side hustle” tax. Who will be affected?


Flexible working: a new day-one right

TIME OFF - 09.01.2024

The new right to carer’s leave

On 6 April 2024 the new Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 will come into force. How much statutory carer’s leave will your employees be entitled to take in any twelve-month period and is this a paid or unpaid right?


Supporting employees going through divorce

Many people choose to end their marriages at the start of a new year, with January being known as the “Divorce Month”. How can you support an employee if you discover that they are going through a divorce?

TIME OFF - 09.01.2024

Dealing with requests for extended time off

One of your employees has asked for several months off work. Although this would exceed their annual leave entitlement, you’re not against the idea. However, if you agreed would you be obliged to keep their job open?


Informing staff about a colleague’s sudden death

On average, there are 11,300 deaths each week in England and Wales with hundreds of these being sudden and unexpected. If one of your employees dies suddenly and unexpectedly, how should you tell their colleagues?

CONTRACTS - 09.01.2024

Can you limit tribunal compensation in the contract?

It’s been suggested that you could protect yourself by having a clause in your employment contracts which caps the amount of compensation that the tribunal can award to an employee. This sounds like a good idea, but what’s the reality?


Unfairly dismissed over unfounded criminal allegations

An employee who was sacked after a colleague found a video of him being confronted by paedophile hunters has won his claim for unfair dismissal and been awarded over £21,000. Where did the employer go wrong?


Visual AI - the future of workplace safety?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining prominence in today’s workplace and can play a significant role in enhancing safety culture within your company. How can it help you manage day-to-day health and safety?

WORKPLACE - 09.01.2024

Workplace inspections - burden or benefit?

Workplace inspections are a proactive form of monitoring health and safety. They consist of walking around the workplace and identifying hazards, but during times of business pressures are they value-added or a burden on resources?

ENVIRONMENT - 09.01.2024

Carbon tax on steel imports from 2027

The government is proposing a carbon tax on imported steel and other raw materials from 2027 in a bid to support UK businesses and reduce emissions. What’s included in this proposal and how might it affect your business?

ASBESTOS - 09.01.2024

Refreshed asbestos guidance published

Asbestos is still the leading cause of work-related deaths in the UK. The HSE has refreshed its guidance to protect you and your workers. What’s included?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 09.01.2024

Roofing firm fined after two workers injured

A roofing company has been fined a total of £881,000 after two workers were seriously injured during two separate incidents. What were the circumstances and what should have been in place to protect the workers?


Apprenticeships - safety for life

National Apprenticeship Week in February 2024 is a good time to reflect on how you can influence an apprentice’s safety, not just whilst they are working for you, but for the rest of their working lives. What’s to know?

RISK ASSESSMENT - 09.01.2024

Council fined after death of family man

A council has been fined £2 million after “a hardworking man who loved his family very much” was killed while carrying out road repair works. What were the circumstances and how should they have ensured a safe working environment?


Is obesity now a disability?

Some changes to the Equality Act 2010 took effect from 1 January 2024, one of which was to the definition of disability for the purposes of protection against disability discrimination. Does the change mean obesity is now a disability?

INPUT TAX - 04.01.2024

Is officer being unfair?

IMPORT VAT - 04.01.2024

Import VAT claim shock at Tribunal

HMRC’s policy of only allowing import VAT to be claimed by the owner of the goods was upheld in a recent Tribunal case. What potential risks does this create for your business?

RECORD KEEPING - 04.01.2024

Enough evidence to support zero-rated sales?

Some of the goods and services sold by your business are subject to 20% VAT but others are zero-rated. Is your record keeping about the zero-rated sales sufficient to satisfy HMRC if it undertakes a compliance review?

INPUT TAX - 04.01.2024

Group registration and leasing cars: what can you claim?

Your business is registered as a VAT group and is partially exempt. All cars are leased through one group member that only has taxable income. How much input tax can you claim on the leasing payments and what other issues must you consider?

OUTPUT TAX - 04.01.2024

Airbnb instead of buy-to-let: how will this affect VAT returns?

Your business has always let a dwelling on a buy-to-let basis but you have now decided to make it available for short-term lettings instead through Airbnb. What are the VAT implications of this change in activity?


Is VAT payable on charity donations to plant trees?

A subscriber is the trustee of an environmental charity. A fundraising appeal is asking for donations from supporters. One tree will be planted in a city centre for each £20 donation. Are the donations subject to VAT as a supply of services?

HMRC - 04.01.2024

When is “legitimate expectation” a valid argument?

Your business has taken written advice from HMRC about a VAT issue but a different officer is now saying that the ruling was wrong and wants to issue an assessment for the last four years. What action can you take in this situation?


The Christmas gift of capital allowances

You received a smart new laptop for Christmas which you’ll use for work. Even though it cost you nothing can you claim a tax deduction in respect of the business use?

EXPENSES - 04.01.2024

How to provide staff uniforms tax efficiently

You pay a clothing allowance to your customer-facing staff and your business pays their PAYE tax and NI. You’re considering providing the clothing direct as you recently read that it’s more tax efficient than paying an allowance. Is this correct?

IR35 - 04.01.2024

Extracting income from your company where IR35 applies

If the work you do through your company is caught by the IR35 (off-payroll) rules, PAYE tax and NI must be accounted for even where you extract the income as a dividend. This can result in a double tax charge. How can you prevent it?

VAT - 04.01.2024

Time to switch to cash accounting?

In April 2024 the cash basis becomes the standard method of calculating taxable profits for unincorporated businesses. Is it worth aligning your VAT accounting with this and what does it entail?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 04.01.2024

HMRC cuts helpline ahead of SA deadline

HMRC is now refusing to answer most calls about self-assessment. If you have a question preventing you completing your self-assessment return on time, what steps can you take to avoid a fine?

PAYE ENQUIRIES - 04.01.2024

PAYE compliance check - what are your rights?

Our subscriber received a routine HMRC compliance questionnaire which he completed in full. HMRC then demanded more detailed information but without starting an investigation. Is our subscriber within his rights to refuse to supply it?

PENSIONS - 04.01.2024

Bump up your pension savings with an in-specie contribution

You want to make a pension contribution to take advantage of higher rate tax relief. The trouble is cash is tight and you can’t afford to contribute as much as you would like. How might an in-specie pension contribution help?

HOLIDAY PAY - 04.01.2024

New holiday pay rules in 2024

How to calculate holiday pay for part-year and irregular hours workers has raised challenges for employers for a number of years. A new law seeks to clarify the rules. What do you need to know?


How does inflation affect your stock valuation?

The company’s year end has passed and the annual stock count completed. But in this era of higher inflation, it’s more difficult to put a value on the stock. What’s the best way to value it?


Vertical analysis

Financial controllers need ways of analysing the numbers in financial statements to identify correlations between them and to compare the data with competitors. One tool for doing this is vertical analysis. How does it work?


Structuring an earnout

Your company is in negotiations to buy a smaller competitor. There is a difference of opinion between the two parties about how much the target company is worth. Could structuring an earnout break the purchase-price deadlock?

PAYROLL - 04.01.2024

Payroll: making sure it’s correct

HMRC has warned that some companies are incorrectly processing workplace pension contributions. Why is this a big problem and how can you correct it if you are one of those getting it wrong?

VEHICLES - 04.01.2024

EV charging costs - HMRC’s current position

HMRC has changed its guidance on electric vehicle (EV) charging costs. If you followed HMRC’s original guidance, what steps should you take now and how does this impact any tax paid previously?


Could it pay off to hold director salaries?

Directors of small companies have complete autonomy over when and how they are paid. What do you need to consider before committing the company to a director’s salary if cash is tight?

VAT - 04.01.2024

Should you switch to e-invoicing?

The company recently switched to electronic invoicing. There were a few teething problems but it’s now working well. However, some customers are demanding paper invoices. Do you have to comply with their requests?

PAYROLL - 04.01.2024

What does the employees’ NI cut mean for directors?

As a result of the 2% cut in NI, employees will benefit from this from 6 January 2024. But how does this cut affect directors?

RAISING FINANCE - 04.01.2024

Using credit cards for cash flow - benefits and pitfalls

A 2023 report shows that using credit cards is increasingly popular with SME business owners. What are the key advantages of using credit cards to fund business purchases and the traps to avoid?

SPREADSHEETS - 04.01.2024

Calculating working days

You have a project to complete between a given start and end date and want to know how many working days are available to complete it. How can Excel help you work this out?

CHILD BENEFIT - 04.01.2024

Child benefit goes digital

Child benefit payments take up to 16 weeks to commence. Now, HMRC has launched an online claim service for new parents which it says will take ten minutes to complete, and as little as three days for payments to arrive. What will you need to use the new service?


Under-radar changes announced

The National Insurance cuts announced in the 2023 Autumn Statement grabbed the headlines, but there were a number of other changes to note. What were the most important to be aware of?

INCORPORATION - 02.01.2024

Incorporation: non-tax incentives and options for relief

Your client’s unincorporated trading business has recently had a very negative experience with an aggressive creditor due to a misunderstanding. This has since been rectified, but your client was worried about the creditor threatening to pursue their personal assets. They want to incorporate to help protect against this. What tax considerations do they need to be aware of?

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