Archive for January, 2024

Update on Companies House changes

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

Looks like Companies House is morphing from passive registrar into a monitoring agency for the government. Changes that are likely to impact the business community from as early as March 2024 are listed below, extracted from a Companies House blog post, dated 22 January 2024.


“The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act became law in October 2023. Since then, we’ve been getting ready to introduce the measures brought in by the act.

“We're aiming to introduce the first set of changes on 4 March 2024. The introduction of these changes needs secondary legislation, so this date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. It will not be earlier than 4 March 2024. These changes include:


  • greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;
  • stronger checks on company names;
  • new rules for registered office addresses;
  • a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;
  • a requirement for all companies to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on their confirmation statement;
  • the ability to annotate the register when information appears confusing or misleading;
  • taking steps to clean up the register, using data matching to identify and remove inaccurate information; and
  • sharing data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies.”


One change from 4 March 2024 that may require action when these new regulations are finally introduced, is the requirement for companies to have an “appropriate” registered office address, no more PO Box numbers.


Another change is the requirement to provide Companies House with a registered email address. From 4 March 2024, new companies will need to give a registered email address when they incorporate. Existing companies will need to give a registered email address when they file their next confirmation statement with a statement date from 5 March 2024.


You will also need to confirm the company’s intended future activities are lawful on the confirmation statement. The intention of these new statements is to make it clear that all companies on the register, new and existing, have a duty to operate in a lawful way. Companies House may act against your company if they receive information that confirms you are not operating lawfully.

Red Sea disruption to supply chains

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

The Department for Business and Trade (DTI) has launched the Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy to safeguard the UK supplies of critical goods such as medicines, minerals and semiconductors. This should help importers counter the effects of the Red Sea disruption.

In their recent press release, the DTI said:

“Imports of critical goods for the NHS and UK manufacturing to be protected from global supply chain shocks, safeguarding business and consumers and boosting the economy.

  • New Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy forms key part of government work to back business and grow the economy, helping UK companies build strong and resilient supply chains for vital goods and avoid dependence on protectionist or coercive states.
  • Innovative research will be used to map the impacts of shocks on supply chains, such as those caused by the Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine and understand how the UK can secure the goods we need in future.

“UK supplies of critical goods such as medicines, minerals and semiconductors will be safeguarded, thanks to the Government’s new Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy launched today (Wednesday 17 January).

“The recent attacks in the Red Sea, one of the world’s most critical waterways, has threatened global trade. In response to increased geopolitical disruption, and the unprecedented challenges of recent years, like the Covid pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and environmental disasters, the UK Government and businesses have boosted their ability to manage supply chain shocks. This strategy builds on this and will further equip UK businesses to deal with global supply chain problems and access the imports they need which are essential to the functioning of the UK.”

More than 100 top UK firms, including pharmaceutical and manufacturing leaders like The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and Green Lithium have contributed to the strategy to ensure it helps develop resilient and secure supply chains that protect both their business and the consumers who rely on them.

Minister for Industry and Economic Security Nusrat Ghani will launch the Strategy today during a visit to Heathrow Airport, the largest import hub in the UK which managed more than £86 billion of UK imports in 2022.

Spread the cost of tax payments

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024

None of us has been exempt from the effects of inflation and cost of living issues in the past year. Which is why taxpayers who are obliged to register for self-assessment will be somewhat apprehensive as the deadline for paying any arrears of tax for 2022-23 and the first payment on account for 2023-24 looms large; both need to be paid by 31 January 2024.

However, according to HMRC, 44,800 taxpayers have already registered with HMRC to repay their tax dues.

They said:

“Those who are unable to pay in full can check online to see if they can set up a monthly payment plan called Time to Pay. If they owe less than £30,000, they can use the affordability checker on GOV.UK to help decide the best arrangements for them. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balances from 1 February.”

This Time to Pay facility is a welcome assist for individuals who simply cannot afford to settle their taxes in full by the 31 January payment date.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

“We want to help Self-Assessment customers meet their obligations and there is no time like the present to choose the right payment option for you. Whether you choose to pay in instalments, via the HMRC app or using online banking, search ‘pay your Self-Assessment tax bill’ on GOV.UK for a full list of options.”

HMRC has also reminded taxpayers to be aware of the risk of falling victim to scams and should never share their HMRC login details or any other personal data with anyone. HMRC scams advice is available on GOV.UK.

Tax reminder for crypto asset users

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

With use of crypto assets growing, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging people to avoid potential penalties and check if they need to complete a Self-Assessment tax return for the 2022-23 tax year.

Anyone with crypto assets should declare any income or gains above the tax-free allowance on a tax return. Tax may be due when a person:

  • receives crypto assets from employment, if they are held as part of a trade, or engage in crypto related activities that generate an income.
  • sells or exchanges cryptoassets, including:
    • selling cryptoassets for money
    • exchanging one type of crypto asset for another
    • using cryptoassets to make purchases
    • gifting cryptoassets to another person
    • donating cryptoassets to charity

The deadline to complete a tax return and pay any tax owed is 31 January 2024.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

“People sometimes forget that information about crypto-related income and gains need to be included in their tax return. Some people affected may not have had to do a tax return before, so it is important people check. With the Self-Assessment deadline just a matter of weeks away, I am urging people not to put off completing it.”

Need time to pay?

Taxpayers who are unable to pay any taxes due in full can access support and advice on GOV.UK. HMRC may be able to help by arranging an affordable payment plan, known as Time to Pay for customers who owe less than £30,000. Taxpayers can arrange this themselves online. Go to GOV.UK and search “HMRC payment plan” for more information.

HMRC will consider a taxpayer’s reasons for not being able to meet the deadline. Those who provide HMRC with a reasonable excuse may avoid a penalty. The penalties for late tax returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater

There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months. Interest will also be charged on any tax paid late.

And a final cautionary note. Everyone should be aware of the risk of falling victim to scams and should never share their HMRC login details with anyone. HMRC scams advice is available on GOV.UK.

More news on the Horizon saga

Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

Since the recent ITV airing of the Post Office sub-postmasters confrontation with the Horizon accounting software, a flurry of support for the affected individuals have been generated.

A news story issued by the Insolvency Service has been added to the list. Entitled:

Update: Postmasters impacted by Horizon who may have been made bankrupt

They said:

“Horizon was the former accounting system used by the Post Office. Between 1999 and 2015, a number of Postmasters experienced shortfalls in cash and stock in relation to the data produced by Horizon. As a result, Postmasters were required to make good the shortfall.

“In some cases, this led to bankruptcy, where some postmasters may have petitioned for their own bankruptcy or were subject to a bankruptcy order on the petition of a creditor. The Insolvency Service and the Official Receiver, acting as trustee in bankruptcy, continues to assist former Postmasters impacted by bankruptcy and we are working closely with the Post Office and the Department for Business and Trade to ensure that claims for compensation are paid as quickly as possible.

“Bankruptcy and claims for compensation are a complex area and we are helping claimants understand whether their bankruptcy orders can be cancelled and signposting appropriate advice.

“There are a number of official schemes offering compensation.

“If you wish to know more about claiming compensation directly from the Post Office, please click here.”

In an attempt to reach all the individuals who were subject to bankruptcy, adjudicator or a sequestration order and resided in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, and believe they were impacted by the Horizon discrepancies and have not yet been in contact with the Insolvency Service, please contact them via our dedicated inbox:

You will need to provide the following information:


  • full name;
  • date of birth;
  • contact details;
  • court / bankruptcy reference number relating to your bankruptcy (if available);
  • where your bankruptcy / adjudicator or sequestration order was made, i.e. England/Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; and
  • a brief overview of how you were affected.

If you were subject to a bankruptcy / sequestration order in Scotland or Northern Ireland, your details will be forwarded to the appropriate bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If an Insolvency Practitioner has been appointed as your Trustee in bankruptcy or you were subject to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), please direct any queries to the Insolvency Practitioner appointed.

If you are currently subject to a Debt Relief Order and within the 12-month moratorium period, please contact the Official Receiver dealing with your case.

The Insolvency Service closed their story with the following undertaking:

“If you have previously contacted the Insolvency Service on this matter via the Horizon inbox referenced above, we are currently working through the enquiries received and you will receive a response in due course.”

Beware rogue business rates agents

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is warning business owners to avoid taking advice from agents who approach them to reduce their business rates bills.

According to Alan Colston, Chief Valuer at the VOA:

“The vast majority of agents are reputable and provide a good service. But there is a small minority promising big reductions in business rates, based on incorrect information.

“These rogue agents often charge substantial fees for providing poor quality submissions using our online Check and Challenge service, which is free to use.

“We strongly advise businesses do their own research and explore different options before appointing an agent. Make sure you choose your own agent – don’t let an agent choose you.

“And remember, you can manage your business rates yourself by creating a Business Rates Valuation Account on GOV.UK.”

Cynically, business rates’ payers may be excused for noting that the VOA may have an agenda to ensure that any increase in rates goes unchallenged. However, in a recent press release the VOA have offered the following advice:

“We have a checklist to help businesses if they want to use an agent:

  • Anyone can call themselves an agent, but this does not mean they are a member of a professional body. Check an agent’s background before signing a contract.
  • If an agent is a member of the Rating Surveyor’s Association (RSA), Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), or Institute of Revenues, Rating, Valuation (IRRV), they must follow rating agent standards. This provides business owners with extra reassurance.
  • Check the length of a contract before signing. Rogue agents have been known to tie business owners into costly, long-term agreements.
  • Make sure you read the small print and fully understand the services for which you are paying. Legitimate agents should not pressure you into signing a contract or demand large sums of money up front.
  • Familiarise yourself with our Check service and create a Business Rates Valuation Account so you can manage your property and view correspondence between the VOA and your agent.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure the information your agent provides to the VOA is correct.”

There is also online guidance on the process for appointing an agent for business rates at

Selling online? Are you declaring the income?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Many of us use online trading platforms to sell unwanted goods or perhaps offer space in our home for rental.

If you are creating income in this way and you are earning more than £1,000 from this activity in any one tax year, then you will need to declare these earnings to HMRC.

This issue is likely to become a hot topic as from 1 January 2024 HMRC will be collecting data from the trading platforms and using this data to identify traders who have not declared their earnings.

HMRC’s manual on this topic says:

“The reporting rules commence in the United Kingdom on 1 January 2024.
“Platform operators that are within the scope of the rules will have to start conducting the due diligence, record keeping, and other obligations specified in the regulations from 1 January 2024.
“The required information must be reported by 31 January following the end of the reporting period. This means the reports for the first Reportable Period of 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024 will be due by 31 January 2025.”
Which means your online sales details will now be reported to HMRC by the individual trading platforms and if HMRC check to see if actual returns from taxpayers do not seem to agree with the data received from eBay, Amazon, Airbnb etc., then enquiries will ensue.
It’s worth underlining that if your online sales do not breach the £1,000 tax-free limit in any tax year, then you should have no reporting obligations. But please note, this £1,000 limit is not for each trading platform but for all your online sales revenues.
If you need to clarify if your online income is reportable, please call and we will help you decide if you need to make any declarations to HMRC.

New workers rights and benefits

Thursday, January 4th, 2024

The government has set out the next stages for a number of new Workers' Rights Acts to support UK workers.

In a recent press release they said:

“The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023, which became law in May this year, requires employers to pass all tips on to workers.

“Most employers already pass on tips to the staff who earn them. However, there are still some unacceptable tipping practices by unscrupulous employers, which must be stopped.

“Christmas is an incredibly busy season for hospitality workers, and usually a time of year when customers are more generous with their tips. All employees deserve to receive their fair share of tips, so the Government has launched a public consultation on the Tipping Act’s Code of Practice to gain feedback from employers, workers and other stakeholders on the fair and transparent distribution of tips.”

Additionally, new rights to protect new parents from redundancy, give carers extra support and help all employees work flexibly are also a step closer as government has laid legislation with plans for the measures to come in next spring.

These measures aim to improve the lives of hard-working families across Britain, aiding workers who have caring responsibilities or parents at risk of redundancy and ensuring everyone is able work as flexibly as needed into the new year.

An extra 2.6 million workers across the UK will benefit from the removal of the 26 week qualifying period that is currently required before making a flexible working request.

Those with caring responsibilities will also be entitled to a brand new employment right to a week’s leave to care for a dependent.

Redundancy protections are also being extended to cover pregnancy, as well as to new parents.

Government is also backing British workers by introducing the biggest ever increase to the National Living Wage, worth over £1,800 a year for a full-time worker, fulfilling the pledge to end low pay.

When this increase comes into effect in April 2024, the National Living Wage will be worth nearly £21,000 a year for a full time worker – almost double, in cash terms, the amount which a full time worker on the National Minimum Wage earned in 2010.

For the first time, 21 years olds will be legally entitled to the National Living Wage, which is set to reach two-thirds of average earnings.

Tax Diary January/February 2024

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

1 January 2024 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 March 2023.

19 January 2024 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 January 2024. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 January 2024).

19 January 2024 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 January 2024.

19 January 2024 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 January 2024 is payable by today.

31 January 2024 – Last day to file 2022-23 self-assessment tax returns online.

31 January 2024 – Balance of self-assessment tax owing for 2022-23 due to be settled on or before today unless you have elected to extend this deadline by formal agreement with HMRC. Also due is any first payment on account for 2023-24.

1 February 2024 – Due date for Corporation Tax payable for the year ended 30 April 2023.

19 February 2024 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 February 2024. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 February 2024)

19 February 2024 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 February 2024.

19 February 2024 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 February 2024 is payable by today.

Help to Save scheme

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

The Help to Save scheme is intended to help those on low incomes to boost their savings. Eligible users of the scheme can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and receive a 50% government bonus. The 50% bonus is payable at the end of the second and fourth years and is based on how much account holders have saved. The bonus is paid directly into the account holder’s chosen bank account.

This means that account holders on low incomes can receive a maximum bonus of up to £1,200 on savings of £2,400 for four years from the date the account is opened. The scheme is open to most working people who receive Working Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

Almost 450,000 people have opened Help to Save accounts since the scheme was launched in September 2018 and March 2023, with nearly £372.5 million paid into accounts during that time. This has seen the government award £146 million in bonus payments.

The scheme had been due to end in September 2023 but was extended by 18 months, until April 2025. The extension was announced as part of the Spring Budget measures earlier this year.

Tax exempt accommodation costs

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

There are special rules for the provision of living accommodation for employees. In most cases, employees will pay tax on any living accommodation provided by an employer unless they qualify for an exception.

However, where an employee qualifies for an exemption, there is no tax to pay on the provision of living accommodation. The definition of living accommodation includes houses, flats, houseboats, holiday homes and apartments. It does not include hotel rooms or board and lodgings.

An exception for living accommodation will usually apply in the following cases:

  • If it is domestic or personal
    • Accommodation is exempt if both:
      • you are an employer who is an individual, for example a sole trader; and
      • you are providing it for someone because they are a close relative – even if they happen to work in your business.
  • If it is provided by a local council
    • Accommodation is exempt if a local council provides it on the same terms that it provides housing to non-employees.
  • If it is necessary or usually provided for the job
  • If it is needed for security

Other charges and costs

If the accommodation you provide is exempt, you do not have to report Council Tax, water and sewerage charges to HMRC, or pay National Insurance and tax.

Help to pay your tax next month

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

If you are having trouble paying your tax on time you may be eligible to receive support from HMRC by applying for an instalment payment plan. An online payment plan for Self-assessment tax bills can be used to set up arrangements for paying tax liabilities of up to £30,000.

The large majority of taxpayers, who are due to make payments on 31 January 2024, could qualify to implement a Time to Pay arrangement online.

Taxpayers that want to use the online option must have filed their latest tax return within 60 days of the payment deadline and intend to pay their debt within the following 12 months or less. Taxpayers that qualify for a Time to Pay arrangement using the self-serve Time to Pay facility online, can do so without speaking to an HMRC adviser.

Taxpayers with Self-assessment tax payments that do not meet the above requirements need to contact HMRC to formally request a Time To Pay arrangement. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC will only offer taxpayers the option of extra time to pay if they think they genuinely cannot pay in full but will be able to pay in the future. If HMRC do not think that more time will help, they can require immediate payment of a tax bill and start enforcement action if no payment is forthcoming.