Archive for May, 2023

Paying work-related expenses? Do not forget to claim

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

Taxpayers are missing the chance to claim for work-related expenses – and many of those who do, fail to receive a full refund by using agents.

Now HMRC has stepped in to remind workers that they can make their own claims directly through GOV.UK.

More than 800,000 taxpayers claimed tax refunds for work expenses during the 2021 to 2022 tax year, but while the average claim was £125, more than 70 per cent of claimants missed out on getting the full amount they were due because they used an agent to make their claim instead of doing it themselves.

HMRC advises it is quick and easy to claim a tax refund directly through its online portal on the GOV.UK website, and is the only way to guarantee receiving 100 per cent of the repayment – with no small print and no middlemen taking a cut.

Don’t be out of pocket

Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to The Treasury said: “Nobody should miss out on the full claim of a tax rebate – and by going straight to HMRC people can avoid being left out of pocket because of unscrupulous repayments agents.

“Thanks to our Spring Budget reforms, if someone no longer wants an agent involved in their claim, they’ll be able to cancel it so any future rebates will go to the taxpayer in full.”

Jonathan Athow, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Strategy and Tax Design, said: “Every penny counts and we want to make sure employed workers are getting what they deserve – their hard-earned cash straight back into their pockets. To make a claim just search ‘employee tax relief’ on GOV.UK. It is the quickest way of getting a tax refund on your work-related expenses and ensures you get 100 per cent of the money back.”

What you can claim for

Submitting a claim through HMRC’s online portal is straightforward and takes about 15 minutes. Customers can use the handy online tool to check eligibility and a full list of work expenses they can claim including:

  • uniforms and work clothing
  • buying work-related equipment
  • professional fees, union memberships and subscriptions
  • using their own vehicle for work travel (excluding journey from home to work)

Customers who already have a Government Gateway account can follow the step-by-step guidance to submit their claim. Those who need to set an account up can do so quickly and easily via GOV.UK.

For customers who are considering using a repayment agent, HMRC is reminding them to be aware that an agent always charges for services – in some cases up to 50 per cent of the value of the claim. And while initially it may seem simpler, customers will need to supply the agent with the same information they could use to make the claim themselves using HMRC’s free online portal.

It is important customers understand what they are signing up to. Before signing a contract with a repayment agent, they should research the company and always check the small print to ensure they understand what commission is being charged and how much of their tax refund they are likely to receive back.

Customers can find out more about how to make a work-related expense claim and what type of expense they can claim at GOV.UK.

Speak to us if you need further advice on making a claim.

The power of management accounting and cloud software for SMEs

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), effective financial management is vital for success in a competitive business landscape.

Harnessing the power of management accounting, coupled with cloud accounting software, can provide SMEs with powerful tools to enhance decision-making, streamline processes and fuel growth.

Enhanced decision-making

Management accounting provides SMEs with real-time, accurate financial information and analysis. By leveraging cloud accounting software, businesses can easily access and analyse key performance indicators (KPIs), cash flow statements and profitability reports.

This enables owners and managers to make informed decisions promptly, identify areas of improvement and respond to market changes effectively. With greater visibility into their financial data, SMEs can optimise resource allocation, identify cost-saving opportunities and prioritise investments that drive business growth.

Streamlined processes and efficiency

Cloud accounting software offers SMEs a host of automation features, reducing the burden of manual bookkeeping tasks. By automating processes such as invoicing, expense tracking and financial reporting, SMEs can save time and reduce the risk of errors.

Real-time synchronisation of financial data allows for seamless collaboration among team members, accountants and other stakeholders. Additionally, cloud software ensures data security and eliminates the need for manual back-ups. With streamlined processes and improved efficiency, SMEs can focus on core business activities, improve productivity and allocate resources to value-added initiatives.

Scalability and flexibility

Cloud accounting software provides SMEs with scalability and flexibility. As businesses grow and their financial needs evolve, cloud software can easily accommodate expanding operations and adapt to changing requirements.

Cloud solutions offer the advantage of anytime, anywhere access to financial data, empowering SMEs to stay connected and make informed decisions on the go.

Cloud-based platforms often integrate with other business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management tools and payroll software, providing a holistic view of the business and facilitating seamless data flow across different functions.

Cost savings

Adopting cloud accounting software eliminates the need for significant upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure. SMEs can leverage cost-effective subscription models, paying only for the features and resources they require.

Reduced reliance on manual processes and improved data accuracy can help minimise errors, penalties and unnecessary expenses. This cost-saving approach frees up capital for other strategic investments and growth initiatives.

Management accounting, combined with cloud accounting software, empowers SMEs with accurate financial insights, streamlined processes, scalability, flexibility and cost savings.

By embracing this approach, SMEs can make data-driven decisions, optimise operations, and position themselves for long-term success in today’s competitive business environment.

Embrace the power of technology and unleash the full potential of your SME.

Rising cost of fuel and groceries fall under spotlight

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

Families looking for support during the cost-of-living crisis will be reassured by action being taken to help control the price of road fuel and groceries.

While many of the factors driving price increases are not competition related, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has a vital role to play in giving consumers assurance that competition in critical markets is working well, so they can exercise choice with confidence.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “The rising cost of living is putting people and businesses under sustained financial pressure. The CMA is determined to do what it can to ensure competition helps contain these pressures as much as possible.”

Road fuel

The CMA has provided an update on the Road Fuel market study it began last year.

While the evidence shows that the majority of fuel price increases are due to global factors, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, indications are that higher pump prices cannot be attributed solely to factors outside the control of the retailers. Based on evidence gathered as part of the Road Fuel market study, the higher prices drivers are paying at the pumps appear in part to reflect some weakening of competition in the road fuel retail market.

Evidence gathered by the CMA indicates that fuel margins have increased across the retail market, but in particular for supermarkets, over the past four years. As a result of these increasing margins, average 2022 supermarket pump prices appear to be around 5p per litre more expensive than they would have been had their average percentage margins remained at 2019 levels.

Although supermarkets still tend to be the cheapest retail suppliers of fuel, evidence from internal documents indicates that at least one supermarket has significantly increased its internal forward-looking margin targets over this period. Other supermarkets have recognised this change in approach and may have adjusted their pricing behaviour accordingly.

While the level of engagement with the study has varied across supermarkets, the CMA is not satisfied that they have all been sufficiently forthcoming with the evidence they have provided.

The CMA will now conduct formal interviews with the supermarkets’ senior management to get to the heart of the issues.

Sarah said: “Our Road Fuel market study is nearly complete. Although much of the pressure on pump prices is down to global factors including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have found evidence that suggests weakening retail competition is contributing to higher prices for drivers at the pumps. We are also concerned about the sustained higher margins on diesel compared to petrol we have seen this year.”


As cost-of-living pressures have grown, the CMA has been working to understand how well markets in essential goods and services are working. Along with road fuel, it identified groceries as an early priority, and started work earlier this year looking into unit pricing practices online and instore.

While global factors have also been the main driver of grocery price increases, and at this stage the CMA has not seen evidence pointing to specific competition concerns in the grocery sector, it is important to be sure that weak competition is not adding to the problems.

Sarah said: “Grocery and food shopping are essential purchases. We recognise that global factors are behind many of the grocery price increases, and we have seen no evidence at this stage of specific competition problems. But, given ongoing concerns about high prices, we are stepping up our work in the grocery sector to help ensure competition is working well and people can exercise choice with confidence.”

Government cash for industries to boost economy and cut emissions

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

Factories producing some of the country’s best-known beers, cereals, soft drinks and cars will receive government support to reduce their energy costs and cut carbon emissions.

Heineken, Kellogg’s, Toyota and Britvic are among businesses across the UK to be awarded a share of £24.3 million government funding to help clean up their manufacturing processes and improve their energy efficiency.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) supports businesses using high amounts of energy to reduce their fossil fuel using innovative low-carbon technologies. This will help companies save on their energy costs, which in turn will safeguard British jobs and help grow the economy – one of the government’s five priorities.

  • Heineken is receiving £3.7 million to upgrade its Manchester Brewery, including installing technology to recover waste heat from the refrigeration systems used to cool their beer.
  • Toyota in Derby is receiving over £282,000 to introduce new airless paint sprayers, which use static electricity instead of air, to reduce the amount of energy they need.
  • Britvic Soft Drinks will use £4.4 million to implement new technologies, including a heat recovery system and Low Temperature Hot Water network, at its site in east London, where it produces drinks such as Tango and Robinsons.
  • Kellogg’s in Wrexham will receive funding for a study assessing the possibility of recovering the waste heat from their cereal manufacturing processes to reduce their gas usage.
  • Tate and Lyle Sugars, which supplies nearly half of all the sugar and syrup on UK supermarket shelves, is receiving over £71,800 to explore how to reduce natural gas use at their Thames Refinery.

Minister for Energy Efficiency Lord Callanan said: “We are leading the world in reaching net zero, having cut emissions by 48 per cent – but to keep up this progress and achieve our green goals, we’ve got to transform our industrial sectors, as some of the industries most critical to our economy are also those with the highest emissions.

“We’re backing them with government funding to use the latest technologies to cut their emissions and their reliance on fossil fuels – helping to future-proof these industries as we grow our green economy.

“This will not only cut their energy costs but also boost their competitiveness on the world stage, helping them thrive and protecting the thousands of jobs they offer across the country.”

Road to net zero

Energy-intensive industries are responsible for 11 per cent of the UK’s total emissions and represent over 70 per cent of UK industrial emissions. While the UK is making excellent progress on the road to net zero, decarbonising faster than any other G7 country, it is estimated that industry will need to cut its emissions by two thirds by 2035 for the UK to achieve its net zero target.

Matt Callan, Senior Director Supply Chain at Heineken UK, said: “We are proud to have ambitious targets when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, within both our own operations and across our entire value chain. For over 150 years, we have been passionate about making a positive impact and more than ever it is clear that there is no time to waste in taking action to reduce carbon emissions.

“This investment and IETF funding will enable us to act faster, and with the commitment and passion of our colleagues and partners, will help us raise the bar at our Manchester Brewery to brew our beers in a more sustainable way.

“The project will make a significant contribution on our journey to carbon neutrality and provide us with the learnings to reapply across our other sites as we continue our journey to brew a better world.”

A total of £289 million is being made available to businesses through the IETF up to 2027 and these allocations take the amount awarded under the scheme so far to £61.4 million.

Millions of pounds saved as tide is turned on benefit fraudsters

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money have been saved as the Government clamps down further on benefit fraud.

With a fresh determination to drive down fraud and errors in the benefit system, the overpayment rate has decreased by £400 million over the past 12 months.

The latest national statistics confirm that in the past year fraud and error rates in 2023 fell to 3.6 per cent (£8.3 billion) from 4.0 per cent (£8.7 billion), with Universal Credit (UC) losses falling from 14.7 per cent (£5,920 million) to 12.8 per cent (£5,540 million). The figures also reveal reduced rates of fraud, both overall and within UC.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, said: “Our welfare system provides a strong financial safety net for vulnerable people, and no one should be able to cynically abuse that for profit.

“We are cracking down on fraudsters, and the figures show encouraging progress as DWP works to both prevent new fraudulent claims and collar cases where people have been shamelessly exploiting the system.

Multi-million pound Fraud Plan

“While we may be beginning to turn the tide on fraud, there is no room for complacency and still much to do. Our £900 million Fraud Plan will help us deliver savings of over £9 billion for the taxpayer over the next five years.”

The rates of fraud and error are coming down, with statistically significant decreases recorded in the UC overpayment rate and rates of claimant error – which has reduced by over a third. The official error overpayments rate is now at the lowest recorded rate.

The overall rate of fraud overpayments is also down from the highest recorded level in 2022 when fraudsters took advantage of the temporary easements the DWP put in place during the pandemic to pay people who needed help.

The Government has been clear that it will crack down on those exploiting the benefits system as they are stealing from those who most need help.

Minister responsible for tackling fraud, Tom Pursglove MP, said: “Benefit fraud is never a victimless crime, which is why it’s entirely right we stop money going to fraudsters and serious crime groups intent on exploiting the system – and is instead paid to the people who need it.

“Cutting fraud delivers on the Prime Minister’s priorities, reducing our national debt and helping to curb inflation by protecting the hard-earned money of taxpayers.

“We’re starting to see the rates of fraud and error move in a positive direction, thanks to our preventative work, alongside vigorously pursuing fraudsters using the full range of our powers to show that crime does not pay.”

Savings targeted

Last year the DWP launched a robust plan to drive down fraud and error from the benefits system. The “Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System” plan sits alongside investment of £900 million that will deliver £2.4 billion of savings by the end of next year, growing to over £9 billion by 2027/28.

This additional funding will allow the Department to review millions of Universal Credit claims over the next five years. They also provide intelligence on new and emerging ways to identify fraud and error entering the welfare system.

As part of the fraud plan, when parliamentary time allows, DWP plans to introduce a raft of new powers, including strengthening the penalty regime by introducing a new civil penalty for cases of fraud, which will act as a deterrent to those cynically seeking to exploit the system.

The new powers would also include requirements for organisations, such as banks, to share data securely on an increased scale to check levels of savings and whether claimants are living abroad. There are also plans to increase DWP officers’ powers to conduct searches, seize evidence, and make arrests.

If you believe your circumstances have changed, you are encouraged to get in touch with the DWP to ensure your entitlement is correct.

Tax change supports low-earning savers

Thursday, May 11th, 2023

Low earners will benefit from plans introduced in a raft of tax changes to help them boost their savings.

The Government has published 23 technical tax updates, many of which simplify and modernise the tax system.

Among the changes is a reform to the Help to Save scheme, introduced for working people on low incomes who are claiming certain benefits.

There will be changes to how its bonus is calculated, the length of time an account can be open for and eligibility requirements, all with the aim of enhancing long-term savings habits.

Help to Save was launched in 2018 and allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save. Accounts can be open for a maximum of four years and savers can put a maximum of £50 into their accounts every month.

Since the scheme began more than £255 million has been saved through it and the Government wants to encourage more people to open accounts.

Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Rising prices are putting household budgets under strain – and it’s in tough times like these that many people turn to their savings.

“We want to support savers and make sure the tax system provides them with the options they need to shore up their finances, helping them through rainy days as well as helping them plan for the future.

“A simpler tax system will also help deliver on the Prime Minister’s priorities of creating economic growth and reducing our country’s debt.”

The Government also wants to address the fact that some parents who have not claimed Child Benefit could miss out on building their state pension. Those affected will in future be able to claim National Insurance credit retrospectively as ministers move to tackle this issue.

When parents claim Child Benefit, they can also receive a National Insurance credit which helps them build their State Pension. This is aimed at those who, due to caring responsibilities, are out of work or not earning enough to pay National Insurance, to ensure they are still able to do that.

Parents do not need to take any action immediately. The Government intends to legislate to allow eligible individuals to retrospectively claim National Insurance credit, and the next steps to be taken will be published in due course.


Since the closure of the Office for Tax Simplification the government has committed to putting simplification at the heart of all tax policy making.

If you need help to find out what you are eligible for, talk to us.

Restaurant and bar staff to benefit from new tipping law

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

Millions of hospitality workers can look forward to seeing extra pounds in their pockets with the passing of a new Tipping Bill.

More than two million workers will have their tips protected and be able to view an employer’s tipping record.

An estimated £200 million a year will go to staff as they retain the tips that would have otherwise been deducted.

Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “As people face rising living costs, it is not right for employers to withhold tips from their hard-working employees.

“Whether you are pulling pints or delivering a pizza, this new law will ensure that staff receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work – and it means customers can be confident their money is going to those who deserve it.”

Many hospitality workers rely on tips to top up their pay and are often left powerless if businesses don’t pass on service charges from customers to their staff.

This Bill makes it unlawful for businesses to hold back service charges from their employees, ensuring staff receive the tips they have earned. The measures are expected to come into force in 2024, following a consultation and secondary legislation.

This overhaul of tipping practices is set to benefit workers across the hospitality, leisure and services sectors helping to ease cost of living pressures and give them peace of mind that they will keep their hard-earned money.

Dean Russell, Conservative MP for Watford, said: “I am very pleased that my Tips Bill has received Royal Assent. Hard working people working in hospitality in Watford and across the country will be able to retain their tips, knowing that they will now have a fair deal.

“I have always had reservations that some employers kept tips which were earnt by their staff. This new law will stop this immediately and will ensure that the tips are given to the individual staff member, or team.

Virginia Crosbie, Conservative MP for Ynys Môn, said: “I am pleased this bill is now law. Driving it forward was all about fairness for workers and for those who give tips for good service. It was never right that a minority of companies could pocket tips when the public wanted them to go to the person who served them or made their food.

“The law will now boost wages for what are often lower paid jobs and not boost company profits at the expense of hard-working staff. But it is also about valuing the people who do important jobs in our economy, especially in tourist areas like Anglesey, and I am proud to have played my part.”



Through the Act, a new statutory Code of Practice will be developed to provide businesses and staff with advice on how tips should be distributed. On top of this, workers will receive a new right to request more information relating to an employer’s tipping record, enabling them to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal.

UK Hospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Fantastic hospitality experiences don’t happen without a huge effort from our teams, both front and back of house, and tips are a generous way of customers showing their gratitude, while providing a welcome boost to employees’ earnings. Tips are just one part of what makes working in hospitality a great job and career.

“We’re pleased to support this new piece of legislation as it comes into law today and look forward to working with Government and other stakeholders on a code of practice that ensures a fair distribution of gratuities amongst all who contribute to providing great hospitality.”

Fresh financial support for energy intensive businesses

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Energy intensive businesses can benefit from new support under the Government’s latest move to support industry.

Some companies using high amounts of energy could see their bills slashed by as much as 20 per cent off predicted wholesale prices.

Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability Amanda Solloway said: “We are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel for global energy prices as Putin’s grip on the market weakens – but our vital energy and trade intensive industries remain uniquely exposed to these challenges.”

Applications have now opened for energy and trade intensive sectors that are most affected by the unprecedented rise in global energy prices to claim further discounts on their bills between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024 – helping deliver on the Government’s priority to halve inflation.

Ceramics and textiles are among the wide range of sectors potentially in line to benefit. These companies use high amounts of energy to deliver their goods, but also are exposed to strong international competition, meaning they cannot raise their prices to cover the increase in costs they have faced.

Ministers are urging companies to check their eligibility and submit their applications at the earliest opportunity, as the Government continues its unprecedented support package that has protected businesses and as of April has saved them £5.9 billion on energy costs – more than £30 million a day.

“We stand firmly behind British business and that’s why we’re protecting them with an additional offer of support so they can continue to thrive. I urge businesses to check their eligibility and submit an application right away so they can get the help they need.”

The offer is part of the Government’s new Energy Bills Discount Scheme, launched last month, which will continue to automatically give businesses across the UK money off their energy bills as wholesale energy prices fall to the lowest level since before Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Businesses are advised to check GOV.UK as soon as possible to find out their eligibility and what they need to do to apply. Discounts could be reflected in bills from as soon as June, with support backdated to 1 April. This could save some around 20 per cent on predicted wholesale energy costs.

Heat networks with domestic customers can also now receive a new, sector-specific support rate to make sure households do not face disproportionately higher bills compared to customers supported by the Energy Price Guarantee. Heat suppliers will need to apply for this rate and are legally obligated to pass on the discount to their customers.

This is just one of a range of ongoing schemes supporting households and businesses with energy costs at this time which the Government is urging all eligible customers to apply for and take full advantage of.

The Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment scheme is providing top-ups starting at £750 for organisations using large quantities of kerosene heating oil, such as such as farms, hotels, charities and public buildings like schools and hospitals. Organisations have until 28 April to apply for this support via GOV.UK.

This scheme is also offering £150 payments to organisations using alternative fuels.

If you need help to find out what you are eligible for, talk to us.

Fake reviews given thumbs down in new clampdown

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

New legislation has been introduced to put an end to online fake reviews and subscription traps that costs more than £1bn a year.

The measures will help ensure businesses and consumers are protected from rip-offs and can reap the full benefits of the digital economy with confidence.

Businesses that breach consumer rights will come under the spotlight with the far-reaching new rules that provide extra power for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In competitive markets, firms strive to give consumers the best products, most choice, and lowest possible prices. The Bill will provide the CMA with stronger tools to investigate competition problems and take faster, more effective action, including where companies collude to bump-up prices at the expense of UK consumers.

Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “Smartphones and online shopping have profoundly changed the landscape for businesses, consumers and the foundations of a modern thriving economy, which now lie in strong consumer choice, confidence and competition.

“From abuse of power by tech giants, to fake reviews, scams and rip-offs like being caught in a subscription trap – consumers deserve better.”

The CMA will be able to directly enforce consumer law rather than go through lengthy court processes. The reforms will also heighten the consequences for wrongdoers as the CMA and the courts will have the power to impose penalties of up to 10 per cent of global turnover for breaching consumer law.

The Bill will also enable the Government to ban the practice of facilitating fake reviews or advertising consumer reviews without taking reasonable steps to check they are genuine. New rules will ensure consumers can exit subscriptions in a straightforward, cost-effective, and timely way and require that businesses issue a reminder to consumers when a free trial or introductory offer is coming to an end.

This will help deliver one of the Government’s five priorities to grow the economy by increasing consumer choice and confidence in the products they buy and services they use.

As part of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, a Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within the CMA will be given new powers to tackle the excessive dominance that a small number of tech companies have held over consumers and businesses in the UK. This market dominance has stifled innovation and growth across the economy, holding back start-ups and smaller firms from accessing markets and consumers.


The government’s new digital regime will give the DMU powers to ensure that businesses and consumers are not unfairly disadvantaged by the biggest players, allowing them access to dynamic and thriving digital markets that will ultimately support our economy to grow. If a firm is deemed to have strategic market status in key digital services, the DMU will be able to step in to set tailored rules on how they behave and operate.

The DMU will also be able to tackle the root causes of competition issues in digital markets by carrying out targeted interventions, opening up new paths for start-ups or smaller firms that have previously struggled to grow and compete in these markets.

Firms may be told to give customers greater flexibility when purchasing products online and to break down restrictive technical barriers that block users from using products on different devices and systems. The new regime will drive innovation across the entire economy, maintain and further the UK as an attractive tech destination for international investment, and make the digital economy a fairer place for businesses and customers.

Paul Scully, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy said: “The announcement shows we are proudly pro-growth and pro-innovation across the board in the tech sector, seeking to open up new opportunities for all firms, however small or large they are, while empowering consumers.”

Tax Diary May/June 2023

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

1 May 2023 – Due date for corporation tax due for the year ended 30 July 2022.

19 May 2023 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 May 2023. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 May 2023).

19 May 2023 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 May 2023.

19 May 2023 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 May 2023 is payable by today.

31 May 2023 – Ensure all employees have been given their P60s for the 2022/23 tax year.

1 June 2023 – Due date for corporation tax due for the year ended 31 August 2022.

19 June 2023 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 June 2023. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 June 2023).

19 June 2023 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 June 2023.

19 June 2023 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 June 2023 is payable by today.