New guidance published for employers on setting dress codes and sex discrimination
Following a joint report ("High heels and workplace dress codes") published by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee and Petitions Committee in January 2017, the Government Equalities Office has finally published promised new guidance on “Dress codes and sex discrimination – what you need to know”.
The new guidance is aimed at employers who set dress codes and employees and job applicants who may have to abide by them. It advises employers that while dress codes can be a ... read more
Responding to a County Court claim
It is important that any correspondence received from the County Court is dealt with promptly. This should include taking proper legal advice when appropriate.
Usually, a creditor asks the County Court to make a county court judgment (CCJ) against a person who is refusing to pay their bill. The CCJ rules apply to court orders in England and Wales. There are different court system process in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Before starting CCJ proceedings, creditors are required to take certain ... read more
When might you be due a tax refund?
HMRC has issued helpful guidance that explains when you might be due a tax refund and how to make a claim.
According to HMRC you may be able to claim a refund if you:
are employed and had too much tax taken from your pay;
have stopped work;
sent a tax return and paid too much tax;
have paid too much tax on pension payments;
bought a life annuity.
You may also qualify for tax rebates if you have spent money on your job such as fuel costs or work clothing, paid tax on savings interest or ... read more
NMW and LW enforcement measures
A new press release has revealed that in 2017-18, HMRC investigators identified £15.6 million in back pay that is owed to over 200,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers. This was an increase from £10.9 million for over 98,000 workers in the previous year. The launch of an online complaints service in January 2017 is thought to have been partially responsible for the increase as HMRC encourages underpaid workers to make a complaint online.
There are penalties for employers who don’t pay staff ... read more
More warnings to beware of bogus tax refund scams
Fraudsters are taking advantage of taxpayers who may be due a tax refund following the end of the 2017-18 tax year. HMRC is currently processing tax refunds, but the fraudsters are trying to get one step ahead. They do this by sending out scam emails and SMS-messages claiming to be from HMRC. Usually the messages include a click-through link to a replica of the HMRC website where the fraudsters then try and steal the credit or debit card details of unwitting taxpayers.
HMRC has confirmed that ... read more
Pay and expenses for volunteers
There are many rewarding opportunities for volunteering available across the UK. It is a popular misconception that only young people volunteer, however, people of all ages volunteer for numerous roles in a wide range of charitable and other sectors.
There is no official minimum or maximum age for volunteering. However, the following points should be taken into account:
Certain organisations’ insurance policies don’t cover volunteers if under 16 or over a certain age (usually 80), and
A ... read more
Can a builder charge 5% VAT for their services?
Whilst the majority of businesses charge VAT at the standard rate of 20% there are a number of different VAT rates and exemptions that businesses should be aware. There are actually three separate VAT rates, the standard rate of 20%, the reduced rate of 5% and a zero rate. The reduced rate of VAT applies to the supply of certain goods and services.
In this article we will look at situations when the reduced VAT rate can apply to the conversion of a premises. This can happen where the number of ... read more
Pensions Regulator to seize assets
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has announced that employers who refuse to pay workplace pension fines could have their assets seized to pay their debts.
TPR can issue fines to employers who fail to meet their automatic enrolment duties and can secure court orders if the debts are not then paid. TPR is to now appoint High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) to enforce court orders in England and Wales, and the equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland, on those employers who have refused or ... read more
Advance assurance for R&D tax claims
Advance Assurance for small companies that claim Research and Development (R&D) tax relief was introduced in November 2015. This measure makes it easier for small businesses investing in research and development to claim tax relief.
Advance Assurance is available to companies who haven’t claimed R&D before, have an annual turnover of less than £2million and less than 50 employees. R&D credits are a Corporation Tax relief that were introduced to encourage innovation and enterprise ... read more
Are you making money from a hobby?
The 'badges of trade' tests whilst not conclusive are used by HMRC to help determine whether an activity is a proper economic / business activity or merely a money-making side line to a hobby. However, there is a point where careful consideration needs to be given to deciding whether your hobby has in fact become a taxable trading activity.
It is clear from the significant amount of case law on this subject that a decision on whether there is a business activity is often not black and white. ... read more