Job Support Scheme

A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from ‌‌1‌‌ November to protect jobs where businesses are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Job Support Scheme will be open to employers across the UK even if you have not previously applied under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which closes on 3‌1‌‌ ‌‌October.

The Job Support Scheme will start from 1‌‌ November and you will be able to claim in December. Grants will be paid on a monthly basis.  

The scheme will operate in addition to the Job Retention Bonus. You and your employees can benefit from both schemes in order to help protect viable jobs. 

For information on what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim, search ‘Job Support Scheme factsheet’ on GOV‌.UK.

New Self Assessment Self-Serve Time To Pay Scheme

If you deferred paying your July 2020 Payment on Account, you will need to pay the deferred amount, in addition to any balancing payment and first 2020/21 Payment on Account, by 3‌1‌‌ ‌‌January 2021. This may be a larger payment than you usually pay in January.

If you’re unable to pay your Self-Assessment (SA) bill in full by 31‌‌ January 2021, you can set up a Time to Pay payment plan of up to 12 months online without speaking to us. If you have SA tax debts of up to £30,000, you’ll able to access this Time to Pay facility through GOV‌.UK and will get automatic and immediate approval. If your SA debts are over £30,000, or you need longer than 12 months to repay your debt in full, you will still be able to use our Time to Pay arrangement by calling HMRC. 

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

If you deferred payments that were due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, then these payments need to be made to HMRC by 31‌‌ March 2021. You can use the New Payment Scheme to spread these payments over equal installments up to 31‌‌ March 2022. Alternatively, you can make payments as normal by 31‌‌ March 2021 or make Time To Pay arrangements with HMRC if you need more tailored support.

July 2020 Newsletter

Download July 2020 Newsletter

As we continue to confront the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of temporary – and in some cases permanent – government incentives and schemes has grown.

Our latest newsletter, which you can download from within this post, covers as many of these legislative changes and initiatives as possible, to enable you to keep up to date with the shifting sands of the tax landscape.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement on 8 July, in particular, introduced an additional range of initiatives as part of a new stimulus package including a significant temporary raise in the nil-rate threshold stamp duty and land taxes across the country. This could greatly impact on your decision to buy or sell residential property. Also aimed at homeowners and landlords, a Green Homes Grant will now encourage investment in energy-efficiency home improvements to residential properties. A temporary VAT rate cut, to 5%, on hospitality, holiday attractions and accommodation is also hoped to contribute to a ‘summer of spending’.

For those of you who own businesses or employ staff, the government’s incentives for business include the Kickstart Scheme, the Traineeship Payment scheme (aimed at 16-24 year olds) and the Job Retention bonus (encouraging retention of furloughed staff), each of which we explain.

More immediately, we discuss the government’s Covid-19 employment support measures, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which has been extended but with a varied timetable of changes for the months between July and October which it is important to note.

Our other stories in this edition include:

  • Defining reasonable excuse – HMRC considers being ‘affected by coronavirus’ as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing certain tax obligations and deadlines, however defining precisely how Covid-19 has led to the unmet obligation is another matter. We explain how setting out cases with supporting details is a necessity.
  • Insolvency law reforms – The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, which gained Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, introduces new permanent and temporary solutions to assist failing businesses in these troubled times. We cover the bill’s key aspects.

As ever with the contents of these newsletters, should you find yourself in need of guidance and tax assistance, we would be happy to hear from you to help you with your concerns.

Download July 2020 Newsletter

Ultra Low Emission Vehicles

From 6 April 2020, the car and car fuel benefit calculation is changing with the introduction of 11 new bands for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) including a separate zero emissions band.

If your company car has a CO2 emission figure of 1-50g/km, you will now need to provide the cars zero emission mileage. This is the distance that the car can travel in miles on a single electric charge.


Are you a self-employed worker working in the EU, EEA or Switzerland?

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31st October, there may be changes for UK self-employed workers working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland?

Currently, workers only need to pay social security contributions in one country at a time. If we leave without a deal, the coordination between the UK and the EU will end. This will mean self-employed workers may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and the EU, EEA or Switzerland at the same time.

If you are a self-employed worker, you will need to do the following to prepare:

  • If you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will continue to pay UK National Insurance contributons for the period shown on the form.
  • If the end date on the form goes beyond the day the UK leaves the EU, you will need to contact the relevant EU/EEA or Swiss authority to confirm whether or not you need to start paying social security contributions in that country from the date we leave the EU. You can find the relevant authority on the European Commission’s website.
  • If you are a UK or Irish national working in Ireland, your position will not change after Brexit as you will be covered under the international agreement signed by the UK and Ireland in February 2019.
  • A replace for the A1/E101 form will be issued for new applications after Brexit, this ensures you will continue to make UK National Insurance Contributions to maintain your social security records.


HMRC Custom Declaration Training Grants

Do you trade with the EU?

To ensure that trade with the EU continues as smoothly as possible after Brexit on 31 October, HMRC are offering 2 grants to help businesses complete customs declarations in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.

You can get funding for:

  • training that helps your business to complete customs declarations and processes
  • IT improvements to help your business complete customs declarations more efficiently

You can use the funding to reimburse what your business has spent on relevant IT improvements and training since 31 July 2019.

Who can apply?

You must be:

  • established in, or have a branch in the UK when the grant is paid to you
  • not have previously failed to meet your tax obligations – HMRC will check their records to decide if they can offer your business a grant
  • For the IT grant, you must have fewer than 250 employees, currently complete customs declarations and have an annual turnover of less than 50 million Euros.
  • For the Training grant, you must import from or export to the EU and complete customs declarations (or intend to do so in the future)

To apply, check out the Customs Intermediary Grant website. Applications close on 31 January 2020 (or earlier if the funding is fully allocated).


August Newsletter

Welcome to our August Newsletter – a round up of What’s New and changes in tax and payroll

Auto Enrolment & Seasonal Staff

During the summer months, many of you will have taken on seasonal or temporary staff. Seasonal and temporary workers (including family members) who are aged between 22 to State Pension Age and earn over £192 per week (£833 per month) must be assessed to see if they qualify for automatic enrolment into your workplace pension. If you know that your staff will be working for you for less than three months, you can use ‘postponement’, during this time you will not need to put staff into your pension unless they ask you to put them into it.

The Pensions Regulator has an online tool for employers with seasonal and temporary workers.


When is a Trivial Benefit not a Trivial Benefit?

You may or may not know that you are able to provide your employees with as many benefits of £50 or less without having to pay Income Tax or National Insurance on that benefit (Capped at £300 per year for Directors). But, that benefit also has to meet other conditions in order to be classified as a ‘trivial benefit’ – these are:

  • It must not be cash or a voucher redeemable for cash
  • it must not be provided in recognition for work performed i.e given because your employee has agree to work on a specific project
  • it must not be part of a salary sacrifice arrangement or any other contractual obligations


New Starter Checklist – Student Loans

HMRC’s new starter checklist, now includes sections that enable your new employees to inform you if they are:

  • receiving a Postgraduate Student Loans
  • whether they are receiving Plan 1 or Plan 2 Student Loans

We would encourage you to use these Starter Checklists when you take on a new employee.


And finally, Statutory Maternity Pay …. a quick guide and some useful links

When an employee informs you that they are expecting a baby, you need to:

  • Ask your employee for a MATB1 Certificate, issued by their doctor, which will show you when their baby is due.
  • Establish if your employee qualifies for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
  • If you employee does not qualify for SMP you need to give your employee form SMP1 which sets out the reasons why they do not qualify.

HMRC have a really useful calculator to help you decide whether your employee is eligible for SMP.

In order to qualify for SMP, your employee needs to have:

  • Given you medical evidence MATB1 (as stated above) – if your employee does not give you medical evidence, they are not entitled to SMP
  • Have worked for you long enough
  • Earned enough – their average weekly earnings need to be equal to or higher than the lower earnings limit – currently £118 per week
  • Given you notice when they want their SMP to start (28 days notice is required)

Did you know – employees do not have to pay National Insurance to qualify for SMP and they do not have to return to work for you.

For Statutory Paternity Pay – your employee needs to supply you with a completed SC3 declaration form. As with maternity pay, if your employee is not entitled to SPP, you need to give them form SPP1 to let them know that they do not qualify.

If you would like us to run your payroll for you, please give us a call on 01908 227055 or drop us an email.


Notifying HMRC when your company becomes active

I have set up a company, when should I notify HMRC?

A:  Companies must notify HMRC within three months of becoming active, which means, carrying on any business activity, trading or receiving income.  This includes, buying, selling, advertising, renting a property and employing someone.  You can check the guidance Corporation Tax: trading and non-trading to clarify what counts as business activity and starting to do business.

HMRC will need the date your company became active and the date to which the annual accounts will be made up to, and they will use this information to update your records.  This will ensure the correct notice to file is issued and minimises delays when returns are received.  It will also prevent incorrect late filing penalties being issued.

If you require any help and advice setting up a company or producing accounts, please give us a call on 01908 227055


June Newsletter

Welcome to our June Newsletter – a round up of What’s New and changes in tax and payroll.

First – A reminder!

P11D Deadline 6th July 2019

There are only 2 more weeks left to complete and submit your P11D Expenses and Benefits forms. These need to be submitted to HMRC by 6th July 2019 and Class 1A National Insurance Contributions must reach HMRC by 22 July (or 19th July if you are paying by cheque).

When paying online ensure that you use the correct payment reference – it will be your 13 character Accounts Office reference followed by 1913.

Why 1913? The ’19’ lets HMRC know that the payment is for the tax year ended 5 April 2019 and ’13’ lets them know the payment is for Class 1A NIC.

If you would like us to complete and submit your P11Ds – drop us an email or call us on 01908 227055.


Auto Enrolment – Workplace Pension

A lot of companies will be coming to a stage where they need to ‘re-enrol’ their employees for Auto Enrolment.
Re-enrolment should be carried out every 3 years from your staging date (i.e. if your staging date was 1 October 2016, you should re-enrol by 1 October 2019, 1 October 2022 etc).

What does this involve?

  • Staff who opted out of the workplace pension must be put back in. They then need to decide whether they wish to opt out again.
  • Employers must complete and submit an online ‘re-declaration of compliance’ form. This informs the Pension Regulator that you have met your responsibility.


GDPR – Do you need to pay the Data Protection Charge?

All businesses (including sole traders and partnerships) that process personal data are required to pay an annual data protection charge to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office).

How much you pay depends on the size of your business:

  • £40 – Micro organisations & sole traders
  • £60 – Small and medium organisations
  • £2,900 – Large organisations

You can find out if you should be paying the charge by using the ICO’s self-assessment tool and, if you are required to pay the charge, you can find out how much you should be paying on the ICO’s charge-assessment tool.


Do you operate CIS? A new VAT reverse charge comes into effect on 1 October 2019

The reverse charge, which comes in effect on 1 October 2019, will apply to standard and reduced-rated supplies of buildings and construction services made to VAT registered businesses, who also make onward supplies of those building and construction services. This does not include the supply of staff or workers by employment businesses.

You can find more details in HMRC’s guidance notes. HMRC will be publishing more information on the reverse charge in the coming months, watch this space – we will keep you up-to-date.

UPDATE 25 September 2019: The reverse charge has been put back until 1 October 2020.


Making School Holidays easier with Tax-Free Childcare

Get up to £2,000 per child per year!

Did you know that Tax-Free Childcare is not just there for everyday childcare costs such as childminders, nurseries & nannies?

You can also use it to pay towards the cost of after school clubs, play schemes, holiday clubs & summer camps.

Tax-Free Childcare is available to working parents with children aged 0 – 11 years. You can get up to £2,000 per child per year to spend on qualifying childcare.

You can apply online here.


Do you employ EU citizens?

If they want to continue living and working in the UK after we leave the EU, they will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

They can apply online via HMRC’s website.


High Income Child Benefit Charge – could you be better off claiming Child Benefit?

Individuals who receive Child Benefit may have to pay a tax charge known as the High Income Child Benefit Charge. However, you could still be better off by claiming Child Benefit!

The tax increases gradually by 1% for every £100 of income over £50,000 and, at £60,000, the charge is equal to 100% of the Child Benefit entitlement.

If you would like us to look at your Child Benefit position, please give us a call on 01908 227055 or drop us an email.


Tax Credit Renewal Deadline 31 July 2019

The deadline for renewing tax credits is fast approaching. You need to report to HMRC:

  • Your net profit from self-employment for the tax year 2018/19.
  • Dividends.
  • Investment income
  • Interest
  • Pensions
  • Net profit from property/rent

You can manage your tax credits via HMRC website.


Stay safe online!

A not so common cyber attack!

The National Cyber Security Centre have developed Cyber Essentials to help you protect your organisation against the most common cyber-attacks.


Making Tax digital – Are you ready to submit?

More than 325,000 businesses have signed up for MTD since it came into force on 1 April 2019. If you have a turnover above the £85,000 VAT threshold, have you registered? and are you ready to submit your VAT return on time?

If you would like us to complete your VAT return or help with Making Tax Digital, please give us a call on 01908 227055 or email us.


Company Cars – informing HMRC

If you are not yet payrolling your benefits- in-kind and buy company cars for your employees, you will need to inform HMRC of the details of that car on form P46 (car).

There is now a new fuel type category on Form P46 (car) for diesel cars meeting Euro standard 6d. This is fuel type ‘F’.

Vehicles in category 6d are not subject to the 4% supplementary rate of taxable car benefit which applies to other diesel cars. This means, if you are payrolling benefits, you need to ignore the 4% supplement and work out the car benefit based on CO2 emissions using the percentage for non-diesel cars.

If you would like us to run your payroll – please give us a call on 01908 227055.


Are your payslips correct?

If you have an employee who works varied hours or days, it is good practice to detail the amount of hours/days worked on their payslip, i.e. 

  • Your employee worked 16 hours @ £10 per hour, show this rather than 1 x £160 or:
  • If your employee worked 12 days @ £100 per day, it should be recorded as such, rather than 1 x £1,200.



Payslips of employees who work a fixed amount of hours each month can be shown as 1 x £xxxx, but any overtime or any adjustments to normal pay must be shown separately. 

You must show separately on payslips:

  • Overtime
  • Any payments that will be made by different methods, ie. part payment by cheque, part in cash
  • Holidays
  • Deductions, i.e. unpaid leave, subscriptions

All workers are entitled to receive a payslip on or before their pay day.  This includes agency workers who must get payslips from their agency. 

If you would like help running your payroll, please give us a call 01908 227055










HMRC Personal Tax Accounts

Did you know you and can set up an online Personal Tax Account with HMRC (also available as a mobile app)?

You can use your personal tax account to:

  • check your Income Tax estimate and tax code
  • fill in, send and view a personal tax return
  • claim a tax refund
  • check and manage your tax credits
  • check your State Pension
  • track tax forms that you’ve submitted online
  • check or update your Marriage Allowance
  • tell HMRC about a change of address
  • check or update benefits you get from work, for example company car details and medical insurance
  • find your National Insurance number

Personal Tax Accounts can be set up by logging into


VAT and Staff Trivial Benefits


Q:  Can I claim VAT on staff benefits?

You can reclaim VAT on staff benefits regardless of how much they cost.   If you provide a product (say a Kindle) it counts as a supply of goods and you must account for VAT  as if  you had sold it, so this contras out the VAT that you reclaimed.

No VAT is payable on the following: 

  • if the value of all gifts you give to your employees is less that £50 for the entire year
  • gifts that are exempt or zero-rated  (i.e.a book)
  • the gift is a service (i.e. gym membership)  N.B. this should to be offered to all employees







Tax on Customer Tips

If you are employed in a profession that receives tips from customers, you need to report these tips to HMRC.  Who is responsible for reporting them depends on how the tips are distributed, as follows: 

Staff member keeps the tips for themselves

If  you are an employee and receive a cash tip direct from a customer and you keep the money for yourself,  this counts as earnings for tax purposes.  You don’t need  to pay National Insurance on these, nor will your employer pay Employers National Insurance on them either. 

You will need to keep a record of what tips you have received and report these at the end of the tax year on your self-assessment tax return. If you don’t usually complete a tax return then you can telephone or write to  HMRC and let them know the total amount of tips you received for the year. 

Note: If you call, keep a record of when you rang, who you spoke to and what you told them. 

HMRC will adjust your tax code accordingly.   If you leave your employment, remember to inform HMRC that you have left.

Employer shares the tips out to all  staff 

If tips are collected in a box or you have to give your tips to your employer, who then distributes them to all members of staff, then your employer must add them to your salary when they do the payroll.  You will pay both tax and National Insurance on these tips (your employer will also pay National Insurance on them too). 

If tips are collected in this way, there is no need for you to inform HMRC that you are receiving tips. 







New tax regime for company cars

The Government has launched a review of vehicles taxes linked to CO2 emissions. 

The CO2 emissions from all vehicles produced from September 2017 will be assessed using WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) .  WLTP is thought to be more accurate than the current system  NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) and  will identify which cars cause more pollution.   

Initial results indicate that CO2 levels are around 20% higher than those produced using NEDC and, as a result, there have been reports that income tax  and vehicle excise duty on company cars will increase by the same amount. Once the government has all the new emissions data, it will amend the company car tax rates so that overall there’s no major tax hikes.  

The changes will not take effect until 6th April 2020.  If you are considering buying company cars, remember to look at the WLTP results and not the NEDC. 


Welsh Tax Codes

Who will pay Welsh rates of Income Tax?

A taxpayer who is resident in the UK for tax purposes and has their sole or main place of residence in Wales for more of the tax year than in any other part of the UK will pay Welsh rates of Income Tax (WRIT).

HMRC will identify Welsh taxpayers based on information held within its systems. Employers and pension providers will not decide an individual’s Welsh taxpayer status. Welsh taxpayer status applies for a whole tax year and can’t be applied for part of a year.

From April 2019, Welsh resident taxpayers employed or in receipt of a pension will have a tax code beginning with C. Those completing a Self Assessment tax return online will be asked about country of residence on their return.




Do you have to pay tax as a Foster Carer?

HMRC treats paid carers, which includes foster carers, as running their own business for tax purposes.  This means you may have to pay tax on money you receive. 

However, you can claim ‘Qualifying Care Relief’ (QCR), which could reduce the tax payable. 

You can use QCR  if you have children or adults placed with you by:

  • a local authority
  • health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland
  • a fostering service provider
  • a shared lives service provider

Qualifying care relief covers:

  • foster care
  • shared lives care
  • kinship care
  • staying put care – where a young person who was fostered continues to receive care after their 18th birthday
  • parent and child arrangements – where the parent is aged 18 or over and the child isn’t a ‘looked after child’
  • supported lodging schemes – unless the relationship is more similar to that of a landlord and tenant rather than that between family members

HMRC offer a factsheet, which explains QCR in more detail.

If you need help with completing a tax return, please give us a call on 01908 227055






GDPR Privacy Notice for Staff

As you will be aware, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018.  If you employ staff, you will have to give them detailed information on the data that you hold on them and how you process it.  

Some of the things that you should inform your staff of are: 

  • the name and contact details of the person, within your business, who is the Data Controller
  • the name and contact details of your appointed representative (if you have one)
  • the name  and contact details of your Data Protection Officer
  • what data you hold on your employees and how you process it
  • the legal basis or bases for that processing
  • the name of any third-party that you share their data with 
  • how many years you will hold this data

Your employees have a legal right to access this data, rectification, erasure, restriction of processing, objection and data portability. They also have the right to lodge a complaint about your data processing with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The above information should be provided to staff in a privacy notice.  This should be made available either at the point you collect their personal data or before you do so, not afterwards.  




Diesel Car & Fuel Benefit Charge increase

On 6th April 2018, the diesel supplement, relating to the car & car fuel benefit increased from 3% to 4%  for all diesel cars that are not certified to meet the Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) standard.

You can find out if your car is RDE2 compliant by asking the manufacturer for the “Certificate of Conformity”.    The diesel supplement will continue to apply to cars using diesel only (not diesel hybrids) and registered on or after 1 January 1998, which do not have a registered Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions value. It will also apply to models registered on or after 1 January 1998, which have a registered NOx emissions value which exceeds the RDE2 standard. 





Trivial Benefits

Since April 2016, employers have been able to provide  small benefits-in-kind to their employees without them counting as taxable perks. 

These should not

  • cost more than £50
  • be cash or cash vouchers
  • in recognition of a service performed by the employee as part of their job
  • form part of their contract of employment 

Whilst you can provide any number of small benefits to your employees, the rules for Directors are different.  Directors are limited to £300 per year.

More information can be found on HMRC’s website

If you would like us to complete you P11Ds, please give us a call on 01908 227055




Tax Free Childcare

All eligible parents who’s youngest child is under 12 can now apply for Tax Free Childcare. 

Tax-Free Childcare is a government scheme to help parents with the cost of childcare; allowing parents to work, or work more, if they want to.  Parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare online – reducing their childcare costs by up to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

You each must be earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week – this is £131.36 in tax year 2019/20 if you’re 25 or over. 

This earnings limit does not apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

You’re not eligible if:

  • your child does not usually live with you
  • the child is your foster child
  • either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000
  • you’re from outside the EEA and your UK residence card says you cannot access public funds

The money can go towards a whole range of regulated childcare, whether nurseries, childminders, after-school clubs or holiday clubs. Parents and employers can find out what help is available on the Childcare Choices website. This website includes a Childcare Calculator that compares all the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.

Parents in England can also apply for 30 hours free childcare through the same online application, and should make sure they do so in good time for the next term.




Updated: 14 February 2019

HMRC Online Services – 2 step verification

In order to use your HMRC online business tax account for corporation tax, PAYE and other business services, you will need to use two step verification. 

How does it work?  Once you have entered your username and password, you will now also need to enter an access code.  This code changes each time you log in and is received either through HMRC’s app, by text message to your mobile phone or as a voice message on your landline. 

What if you would like multiple users?  If you would like your Bookkeeper or Accountant to log into your HMRC online account, you will need to set them up as a user.  They will receive a User ID and can create their own password and register their mobile.   You can create  an additional user by logging into your online account and clicking on the ‘Manage account‘, ‘Account Users‘ then ‘Manage Users‘.




Are you calculating the National Minimum Wage correctly?

Are you including other payments and benefits when calculating the National Minimum Wage (NMW)?  You may be doing so incorrectly.  

Here are a few things you should/should not include:  

Mileage Allowance
Mileage allowance only counts, when calculating a worker’s total remuneration for NMW purposes, if it is above the tax approved mileage allowance payments rate.

Tips and Gratuities
Tips and gratuities do not count towards the NMW or the National Living Wage. 

Living Accommodation
Living accommodation provided by an employer to a worker is the only benefit in kind which counts towards a worker’s NMW pay.  A notional amount, called the accommodation offset (currently £6.40 per day) , counts towards a worker’s NMW pay. 

Other things to note: 

Student Placements
If you have student placements who are part of a further/higher education course then the student does not qualify for the national minimum wage in respect of work done for an employer as part of that course, providing:

  • the work experience is undertaken before the course ends, and
  • the period of work experience does not exceed one year

An apprentice should have a contract which specifies: 

  • the pay rate
  • the length of the apprenticeship
  • what training is to be provided and to what level
  • the rights and obligations of the employer and the apprentice

Keep a check on your employees birthdays so you can increase their pay on the day when they fall into the next age bracket.

Annual NMW increases
The National Minimum Wage increases each year on 1 April.  We always publish the rates on our website.

HMRC fines
HMRC fines are 200% of the total amount you have underpaid your employee, up to £20,000.  




A Guide to Shared Parental Pay and Leave

Shared Parental Leave enables eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption.

If you are unsure as to whether you qualify for SPL or how SPL is calculated, we have put together a short guide, which we hope you will find useful: 

  • Both parents must have been employed by their companies for 26 weeks prior to the Qualifying week (Qualifying week is 15 weeks before the week the baby is due to be born)
  • Both parents must still be in the same job  a week before the Shared Parental leave is due to start
  • The father or  civil partner must have earned at least £30 per week in the 26 weeks prior to the Qualifying week
  • You cannot get Shared Parental leave if you got Maternity Allowance rather than Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Agency workers are not entitled to shared parental leave but may be entitled to shared parental pay
  • As with Maternity pay, Shared Parental pay is paid for 39 weeks.  You can decide to share that between you and your partner, so if the mother/civil partner/adopter takes 15 weeks pay – their partner can take the remaining 24 weeks pay
  • The same with Shared Parental leave – if the mother/adopter takes 15 weeks leave – their partner can take the remaining 37 weeks leave. 
  • Both parents needs to give their employer 8 weeks notice of the leave they wish to take, The number of weeks available to take, how much each partner will take and declaration from their partner that they agree to the shared leave process.  There are no legal forms but you can download a form from ACAS website
  • Shared Parental Leave cannot start until the child is born – the mother/adopter must take at least 2 weeks after the birth or 4 weeks if she works in a factory.
  • It can be split into 3 separate blocks – both parents can take SPL at the same time
  • Each parent can work up to 20 days during SPL without bringing it to an end (similar to KIT days)
  • A mother/adopter can have these days in addition to KIT days (so effectively she could have 34 days back to work with full pay without bringing her maternity leave to an end)
  • KIT days are not available during Statutory Paternity leave

HMRC have online calculators to help you check if you are entitled to Shared Parental Pay and Leave:

More detailed guidance  can be found on the ACAS website 


Procedures for taking on a New Employee

Did you know a starter declaration should be completed by every new employee? 

The declaration needs to be completed to determine which tax code your employee should be put on before the first FPS is done.  One of the most common reasons for incorrect tax codes is due to the declaration not being completed before the FPS. 

Usually information from your employee is on their P45.  However, if your employee doesn’t have a P45 then you should ask them to complete a ‘New Starter Checklist  This checklist will provide you with all the information you need to get your new employees on the correct code, avoiding late payroll adjustments.  There is also a checklist for ex-PATs

It’s good practice to get new employees to complete the checklist on day one. 

Here is a link to HMRC’s guidance on what the checklist should include:




On Maternity Leave? Have you heard of ‘KIT’ days?

To keep in toucMaternity Leaveh during maternity leave and ease your return to work, you can work for your employer during your SMP pay period for up to 10 days without ending your maternity leave or losing your SMP for any weeks that you do some work. These 10 days are called ‘keeping in touch’ (KIT) days and allow you to undertake the odd day’s training or do some occasional work for your employer.

Your employer has no right to demand that KIT work is undertaken and you have no obligation to undertake such work.

Before any work is done, you must agree with your employer:

  • what work you’ll be doing
  • whether the KIT days are used in a row, singly or in blocks, but any work on any day (even an hour) will count as a whole KIT day
  • how much you’ll be paid for work done

Your employer may count the amount of SMP towards the contractual pay agreed with you but they must pay the weekly SMP rate you are entitled to and comply with statutory obligations, for example paying at least the National Minimum Wage.

If you work more than 10 days in your SMP pay period:

  • Your employer can’t pay SMP to you for any weeks where you work
  • Your maternity leave will come to an end

Once you have used your 10 KIT days, you’ll lose one week’s SMP for each week or part week you work.

The SMP pay period isn’t extended to take account of any such weeks. Any SMP lost in this way is always at the standard rate first, or 90% of the AWE if this is lower than the standard rate.

You must take 2 weeks (or 4 weeks if working in a factory) compulsory maternity leave immediately after the date your child is born and can’t work or use a KIT day during that time.




Last updated: 6 March 2019

Making Tax Digital

The Government recently announced a new timetable for Making Tax Digital (MTD).

Under the new timetable:

  • only businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to keep digital records and only for VAT purposes
  • they will only need to do so from 2019
  • businesses will not be asked to keep digital records, or to update HMRC quarterly, for other taxes until at least 2020

Making Tax digital
Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital will be available on a voluntary basis for the smallest businesses, and for other taxes.

This means that businesses and landlords with a turnover below the VAT threshold will be able to choose when to move to the new digital system.

As VAT already requires quarterly returns, no business will need to provide information to HMRC more regularly during this initial phase than they do now.

All businesses and landlords will have at least two years to adapt to the changes before being asked to keep digital records for other taxes.






Last updated:19 March 2019

Lifetime ISAs (LISA)

If you are between the ages of 18 and 39, you can open a Lifetime ISA (LISA).

There is no maximum monthly contribution – you can save as little or as much as you want each month, up to £4,000 a year, and any savings you put into it before your 50th birthday will  receive a government bonus of 25% – that’s a bonus of up to £1,000 a year! 

You can use some or all of the money to buy your first home, or keep it until you’re 60.

The total amount you can save each year into all ISAs is £20,000.

Use it to save for a first home

Your savings and the bonus can be used towards a deposit on a first home worth up to £450,000 across the country.

Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home – so two first time buyers can both receive a bonus when buying together.

If you have a Help to Buy: ISA you can transfer those savings into the Lifetime ISA in 2017, or continue saving into both – but you will only be able to use the bonus from one to buy a house.

Alternatively, use it to save for retirement

After your 60th birthday you can take out all the savings tax-free.

You can withdraw the money at any time before you turn 60, but you will lose the government bonus (and any interest or growth on this). You will also have to pay a 5% charge.




Last updated: 12 December 2018