All Domains

2024 - March

CHEMICAL SAFETY - 26.03.2024

Know your hazard and precautionary statements

All substances are supplied with a label and a safety data sheet (SDS) which gives you information about the properties of the chemical. But what is a hazard or precautionary statement, what information is provided and how should you use this?


Employee fall leads to severe chemical burns

A company has been fined £400,000 after an employee was seriously injured while carrying out a routine task at its chemicals site in Scotland. What were the circumstances of the event, could it have been prevented or the severity of the injury reduced?

TERRORISM - 26.03.2024

Are you prepared for a terrorist threat?

With new legislation on the horizon, you could do well to start thinking about your preparedness for terrorist threats. Fortunately, the government has provided some easy to use guidance. What’s available?

MENTAL HEALTH - 26.03.2024

Do workers with poor mental health take more risks?

Whilst it is well documented that poor mental health raises absenteeism in the workplace, it is becoming recognised that it may be having another negative impact - a rise in workplace injuries. Why is this, and can you do anything to reduce the risk?

ENVIRONMENT - 26.03.2024

Should you be “carbon negative”?

Marketers are always looking for new green claims to make and you recently saw products labelled “carbon negative”. What on earth does it mean - is it better than carbon neutral or carbon positive?

PPE - 26.03.2024

Correct PPE for all

LEGISLATION - 26.03.2024

50 years of formal health and safety

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA). Is it still relevant to your business?

RISK ASSESSMENT - 26.03.2024

Van driver killed by entrance barrier

A van driver was killed when a swing barrier speared his windscreen whilst he was driving off site at a cider manufacturing facility. How could this have happened and how can you reduce the risk of a similar incident at your workplace?


Family loyalty: is your generosity causing a VAT problem?

A close relative has set up a new business that is not VAT registered. To help, you have agreed to pay their supplier of advertising services all costs for one year and claim input tax on your own returns. Has your generosity created a connected party problem?

INVOICES - 26.03.2024

Do you always need to issue a VAT invoice?

Your business is making more low value sales to a wider range of customers following a change in your business model and trading activities. What sales can you make without issuing a tax invoice and what must you do instead?

PROPERTY - 26.03.2024

VAT on variation and surrender fees?

You no longer need to occupy all floors of the building that you are renting. You are discussing several options to reduce your rental costs, including paying a variation fee to change the terms of the lease, but what are the VAT issues to consider?

HMRC - 26.03.2024

VAT helpline services slashed

A shortage of staff and more tax-paying customers with complex issues mean that HMRC is struggling to cope. How could it affect your business?


Deregistration: an opportunity to escape the VAT club?

After seven years of frozen thresholds, the Chancellor has announced an increase in the deregistration sales threshold on 1 April 2024. What does this mean and what are the pitfalls of deregistering?

FLAT RATE SCHEME - 26.03.2024

Is FRS tax calculated on gross or net holiday let income

A subscriber rents out three holiday homes. They use the flat rate scheme (FRS) but have calculated tax based on the net commission received from their online booking agency. Have they made errors and, if so, how should they correct them?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 21.03.2024

HMRC U-turn on helpline closures

Earlier this week, HMRC announced that it would be scaling back its tax helplines, a move that was widely criticised. It has now seemingly reversed the decision. What’s going on?

INHERITANCE TAX - 19.03.2024

Saving IHT with a letter of wishes

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

STAMP DUTY LAND TAX - 19.03.2024

Budget brings changes to SDLT

Stamp duty land tax is paid by the buyer of legal interests in property located in England and Northern Ireland. The 2024 Spring Budget made a number of changes, so which are the key ones that may affect your clients?

PROPERTY - 19.03.2024

Tax implications of property exchanges

A client is looking to downsize and has agreed with a friend to swap their main residence. They also jointly own two investment properties with their brother which may benefit from being separated into sole ownership. What are the key tax issues to consider and will both exchange transactions be treated the same?

VAT - 19.03.2024

Management charges between connected companies

One of your clients owns two companies and wishes to move profits between them. Another client has a holding company that wants to charge its trading subsidiaries for its services. What VAT issues must they consider before making management charges?

BUDGET - 19.03.2024

How does the Budget impact clients?

Following on from January’s reduction in Class 1 NI, the 2024 Spring Budget continued to focus on individual taxpayers. What were the highlights for your clients?

DOMICILE - 19.03.2024

Non-domiciled regime set to be axed from 2025

Clients who are UK-resident, but not UK-domiciled, for tax purposes will no longer be able to use the remittance basis to shelter overseas income and gains from April 2025. A new residence-based system will be rolled out instead. What do we know so far?

R&D - 19.03.2024

R&D tax relief changes made clear

A number of changes to research and development tax relief will apply to companies for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2024. Why are these changes being made, and why will your SME clients be particularly affected?

WORKING TIME - 19.03.2024

What are the rules on working hours and rest breaks?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 set out rules limiting a worker’s working hours and providing for them to have rest breaks. What are your main obligations in relation to working hours and rest breaks under the legislation?

JURY SERVICE - 19.03.2024

Can you apply to defer an employee’s jury service?

An employee summonsed to jury service is legally obliged to attend unless there are compelling reasons why they are unable to. If they’re summonsed at an inconvenient time for your business, can you apply for their jury service to be deferred?


Why offer enhanced paternity pay?

A parent charity has called for paternity leave to increase to six weeks and statutory paternity pay (SPP) to rise to 90% of pay. Should you provide more than SPP?

PAY - 19.03.2024

What’s a “week’s pay” from 6 April 2024?

From 6 April 2024 the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2024 will increase the maximum amount of a “week’s pay” which is used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and the unfair dismissal basic award. What’s the new amount?


Can you give a final written warning for a first offence?

Where you’re disciplining an employee for a first misconduct offence or managing their poor performance, it can be tempting to shorten the disciplinary or capability procedure by bypassing the first written warning stage. Is this lawful?


Managing annual leave requests for religious festivals

For Muslim employees, the holy month of Ramadan began on 11 March 2024 and is due to end around 10 April 2024 with the festival of Eid al-Fitr. If an employee has requested to take annual leave for the festival, can you decline their request?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 19.03.2024

Tax helplines to be cut

It’s now been confirmed that HMRC staff will be permanently diverted away from the self-assessment helpline meaning more blackout periods. What’s the full story?


What’s the NI cut really worth?

VAT - 18.03.2024

Leasing cars - what are the VAT pros and cons?

You’re considering leasing instead of purchasing cars for your business. This will improve cash flow and, according to the salesperson, allow you to reclaim VAT that you would not otherwise be entitled to. Are they correct?

INVESTMENTS - 18.03.2024

ISA limits - what’s the latest?

BUDGET - 18.03.2024

Good Budget for business?

While most of the headline Budget announcements affect individual taxpayers, lurking in the small print are a few changes for businesses. Will they impact you?


Should termination payment have been paid tax free?

The Upper Tribunal (UT) recently had to decide if the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) was wrong in ruling that a payment made on termination of employment was taxable. Why did the taxpayer believe it was and did the UT agree?

LOANS - 18.03.2024

Make your mortgage interest tax deductible

A friend has told you that his accountant was able to get him tax relief for his home mortgage interest. As relief for this type of interest ended decades ago, how was it possible and might you be able to do the same?


Avoiding or reversing inefficient profit extraction

The end of the tax year is almost here and it’s time to check your tax position. You may have room to take more tax-efficient income from your company, or you might discover you’ve overdone it. What steps can you take to rescue the situation?

PROPERTY - 18.03.2024

Budget 2024 - big changes to property-related taxes

The Spring 2024 Budget was a mixed bag for residential landlords. The Chancellor gave with one hand and took away with the other. As a property owner, what might the changes announced mean for you?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 18.03.2024

Selling land for cash now plus a share of future value

Following our article about reducing tax on large capital gains made from the sale of land, our subscriber asked a question about so-called contingency payments. How is the tax calculated on these and can it be reduced?

FOOD SAFETY - 12.03.2024

Food allergens - how to prevent an incident

Approximately 2 million people in the UK have a food allergy. Are you prepared in the event of a worker or member of the public having an allergic reaction? What’s to know and can you do anything to prevent an incident?


Effective checks on routine monitoring

You’ve introduced a set of forms and asked staff to record safety tasks including inspections, testing and maintenance. The idea is that a quick check of the documents will reassure you that each job is getting done. Or will it?

ENVIRONMENT - 12.03.2024

Switch and save on water

Since 2017 SMEs have been able to switch water suppliers, but few seem to have done so. What’s involved and what are the benefits to your business and any environmental targets you have in this space?


World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2024

MENTAL HEALTH - 12.03.2024

Protecting your helpers

MENOPAUSE - 12.03.2024

New menopause guidance suggestions

Guidance has been published regarding the management of workers who are suffering extreme menopause symptoms. What’s included and what should you have in place?

WORKING AT HEIGHT - 12.03.2024

Company fined after avoidable death of worker

A company involved in fruit and vegetable production has been fined £320,000 after a worker was killed. What led to the incident and how can you avoid a similar situation?

SILICA DUST - 12.03.2024

How should you control brick dust?

One of our subscribers received a visit from the HSE in connection with the management of brick dust on a construction site. Where did they fall short and what have they been asked to improve?

ANIMALS - 12.03.2024

Farmer fined after friends injured in cow attack

A woman was left with broken ribs and life-changing internal injuries after having to climb a tree to escape angry livestock. What happened and are there any lessons that can be applied to your workplace?

HOLIDAYS - 11.03.2024

Employee takes holiday even though you denied the request

With the Easter school holidays starting soon, it’s likely you may have had to decline annual leave requests. If you’ve refused a request but then hear that an employee plans to take the time off anyway, how should you deal with that?

BUDGET 2024 - 06.03.2024

Budget delivers on most predictions

The Chancellor delivered his Spring Budget earlier today, with several announcements affecting individual taxpayers. What were the highlights?

CONTRACTS - 06.03.2024

Changing an employment contract

If you need to change one or more terms of an employment contract for genuine business reasons, you have three main options to effect that change. What are they and what are the risks?

BANK HOLIDAYS - 06.03.2024

Is it worth considering a flexible bank holidays scheme?

A flexible bank holidays scheme can help you to create a more inclusive workplace and may assist with staff recruitment and retention. How do these schemes operate and what should you consider before deciding whether to introduce one?

RECRUITMENT - 06.03.2024

What are the rules on employing children?

If you’re considering employing a child who’s still at school, be aware that there are various restrictions in place around the types of work they can do, and the hours they can work. What steps can you take to ensure compliance with the law?

RIGHT TO WORK - 06.03.2024

Guide to right to work checks updated

MINIMUM WAGE - 06.03.2024

Salary sacrifice and the minimum wage

HMRC has named another 524 employers for failing to pay the minimum wage, with salary sacrifice highlighted as an issue. What’s the problem here?

REDUNDANCY - 06.03.2024

Failure to consider selection pool made redundancy unfair

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employee’s redundancy dismissal was unfair because her employer hadn’t considered whether she should be placed in a wider selection pool. What did the employer do wrong here?


New Acas Code of Practice on flexible working requests

A new draft statutory Acas Code of Practice on requests for flexible working and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 are both expected to come into force on 6 April 2024. What provisions are in the Acas Code of Practice?

GRIEVANCES - 06.03.2024

How long should a grievance investigation take?

Once a formal grievance has been raised by an employee, you need to promptly and properly investigate it. However, are there any rules around what’s a reasonable timeframe for conducting such an investigation?


New MTD trial launches soon

HMRC’s Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD ITSA) pilot has been a disaster. Despite this, it’s pushing businesses and accountants to use it from April 2024. Should you consider signing up?

VAT - 05.03.2024

VAT and customer incentive schemes

You want to set up a loyalty scheme for your customers but haven’t settled on exactly what it will be. You especially want to avoid tricky VAT issues. What are your options?

TAX PLANNING - 05.03.2024

Threshold tax and benefit traps on families

The media like to bandy about the phrase “stealth tax”. In reality what they call stealth tax isn’t at all. However, there are genuine cliff-edge income thresholds that result in unfair tax charges. What are they and how can you avoid them?

RAISING FINANCE - 05.03.2024

Take advantage of SEIS cash injection

Your company is relatively new and needs extra finance. You’re thinking about offering a Dragons’ Den type deal to outside investors. How can a tax incentive scheme help make your deal more attractive?

EXPENSES - 05.03.2024

Overseas business trip with the family - is it taxable?

Our subscriber is making an overseas trip for business and is taking her spouse and two children so they can holiday while she’s working. Her question is, can she put the expense through her company and if so are there any tax considerations?

TRUSTS - 05.03.2024

Winding up a trust - avoiding a tax trap

You’ve been looking after a trust for your children for years. As they are now adults and working you’ve decided to wind up the trust and give each of them their share of the fund. What steps can you take to make the winding up tax efficient?

CAPITAL GAINS TAX - 05.03.2024

Sell now to reduce your CGT bill

The new tax year starts in April 2024, at which time the capital gains tax (CGT) annual exemption will be cut by half. How can you use your current exemption to reduce tax on later gains?

OVERTIME - 04.03.2024

Must you pay staff when they work overtime?

According to the TUC, UK employees worked £26 billion worth of unpaid overtime in 2023, with 3.8 million employees putting in an average of 7.2 extra hours per week. Must you pay them for those overtime hours?

PAYE ENQUIRIES - 02.03.2024

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?

TIME OFF - 02.03.2024

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?

RISK ASSESSMENT - 02.03.2024

Crush injury lands luxury yacht maker in hot water

A premium yacht maker has been hit with a £600,000 fine after one of its workers suffered life-changing injuries at its shipyard in Plymouth. What happened and how could the incident have been avoided?

LATE PAYMENT - 02.03.2024

Effective late payment chasing tactics

Late payment is a perennial problem, interrupting cash flow, pushing businesses into further borrowing and even forcing some small firms under. You can’t legislate for others’ behaviour, but how can you best position your own business to tackle this issue?


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?


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?

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