Archive for February, 2023

Marriage Allowance – are you benefiting?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you could be one of the 2.1 million couples currently benefiting from Marriage Allowance.

Understanding Marriage Allowance

It is a tax benefit that is available to married couples and civil partners in the UK. The allowance allows for a portion of one partner's unused personal allowance to be transferred to the other partner, reducing their tax bill.

Benefits of the allowance

The financial benefits of Marriage Allowance can be significant, especially for couples with one partner earning significantly less than the other. The partner who earns less than the personal allowance threshold (currently £12,570 in the tax year 2022/23) can transfer up to £1,260 of their unused personal allowance to their partner, who will receive a tax credit of 20% of this amount, currently £252. This reduces the higher-earning partner's tax bill by up to £252, providing a welcome boost to their joint finances.

Tax Year Marriage Allowance amount

2022/23 £252

2021/22 £252

2020/21 £250

2019/20 £250

2018/19 £238

Marriage Allowance eligibility

To be eligible for Marriage Allowance, both partners must meet certain criteria.

  • You’re married or in a civil partnership and are not currently in receipt of Married Couple’s Allowance
  • You do not pay income tax or you earn less than your Personal Allowance so are not liable to tax. For the tax year 2022/23, this means an income of less than £12,570
  • Your partner pays tax on their income at the basic rate so is not liable to higher or additional rate taxes. This means your partners income is between £12,571 and £50,270 before Marriage Allowance


Use the free Marriage Allowance Calculator on GOV.UK to check if you could be eligible for the tax relief.

These thresholds are subject to change each tax year, so it is important to check the latest information from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure you are eligible and understand the amount of Marriage Allowance you may be able to claim.

Overall, Marriage Allowance can provide a valuable financial benefit for UK couples, helping to reduce their tax bill and boost their joint finances.

How to apply for Marriage Allowance

You can apply online to HMRC at GOV.UK. You’ll need your national Insurance numbers and identification. You can also apply by calling 0300 200 3300.

Running a business from home? Don\’t forget to claim

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

Running your own business can incur a number of costs, not least renting premises. But if you are a sole trader you may prefer to work from home.

It’s convenient, there’s no commute and you’re on hand if extra childcare is needed. Plus, there is the bonus of saving costs.

But did you know there are a number of working-related expenses that you can claim for if you are using your home as your office.

After all, you may not be paying rent on a town-centre location, but your general household bills will go up with the extra electricity, heating and home insurance.

You can claim for some of these expenses though, including utility bills, internet, council tax and your mortgage interest.

How do I claim?

There are two methods you can use for calculating your expenses – one is straightforward, but favours the taxman, while the other is more cost-effective for you.

Using HMRC flat rate

This is the easier method and is unlikely to face any HMRC challenges. It is calculated on the number of hours a month you work at home. So, from a minimum 25 hours up to 50 hours you can claim £10 a month. The figure rises to £18 a month for 51 to 100 hours and anything over 100 can be claimed at £26 a month.

As an example, say you work 140 hours a month for eight months of the year (£26 x 8) and 60 hours for four months (£18 x 4), you could claim £208 £72 = £280.

The flat rate does not take into account telephone/internet expense. You can claim for the portion of the bill that is related to business use.

Manual method

The second calculation involves doing some sums. First, work out how much you pay in total for the following:

  • Mortgage interest (not the full mortgage payment) or rent
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Internet/telephone
  • Insurance
  • Council tax
  • Repairs
  • Heating

Now, count the number of ‘living space’ rooms in the house – this doesn’t include the bathroom, kitchen, utility. The next step is to calculate the number of days you use your office and the number of hours each day.

Let’s say the answers are:

  • Total household bills: £6,000
  • Number of rooms: 4 (three bedrooms and one lounge)
  • Number of days a week you work: 5
  • Number of hours a day: 8

Divide the annual cost of £6,000 by the number of rooms (6,000/4=1,500)

You use the office five days a week (1,500/7*5=1,071)

Divide 1,071 by 120 (the number of hours in five days) and multiply by 40 (the number of hours you work each week) = £357.14

The total is more than the £280 you could claim with the flat rate.

Need help?

If you are unsure what you can claim, get in touch.

Do not miss out on super tax break

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Businesses are being urged to take advantage of the 130 per cent super-deduction tax relief before its March deadline.

Introduced during the pandemic, super-deduction was designed to help organisations continue to invest through the difficult times.

But from March 31, the support will draw to a close.

What is super-deduction?

Super-deduction is a tax incentive to encourage companies to invest in qualifying assets, from vans and cranes to office desks and chairs. It was intended as a tax break for those businesses hesitant about investing during the pandemic to help trigger an economic recovery.

How does it work?

If your company spends £10m on qualifying assets, you will deduct £13m from your taxable profits for a tax saving of 19 per cent – or £2.47m.

Why is it ending?

The Government introduced super-deduction in April 2021, but it was only ever intended as a short-term deal. It was part of a raft of support introduced for businesses post-pandemic to support growth and encourage investment.

Can I still take advantage?

Time is tight, but you can still make qualifying purchases ahead of the cut-off date.

What purchases would qualify?

Most tangible capital assets used in your business would qualify for super-deduction. These include:

  • Solar panels
  • Computer equipment and servers
  • Tractors, lorries, vans
  • Ladders, drills, cranes
  • Office chairs and desks
  • Electric vehicle charge points
  • Refrigeration units
  • Compressors
  • Foundry equipment


Bob Edwards, Founder and Managing Director of Landmark PD, said: “If you haven’t already taken advantage of super-deduction then I would encourage you to do so before the deadline.

“You may have office equipment that you have been thinking of replacing or you have your eyes on a van you want to add to your fleet…do it now and save your business some money.”

Further information can be found at

If you need any advice on what will qualify for super-deduction, get in touch.

Eight million families benefit from cost-of-living support

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Struggling households are receiving payments into their bank accounts to help them with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

More than eight million families on means-tested benefits will automatically receive £301 with a further 6.5 million on disability payments due to receive £150 in the summer.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride said: “These direct payments will help people right across the UK over this year and the start of the next, as we continue to provide consistent, targeted and substantial support for the most vulnerable.

“Our wider support package, including the Energy Price Guarantee, will ensure every household is being helped through this challenging period of high inflation, caused by Putin’s illegal war and the aftershocks of the pandemic.”

The £301 payment is the first of five direct cost of living payments for the most vulnerable households, including pensioners and disabled people, with the total amount of support reaching up to £1,350.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt said: “High inflation, exacerbated by Putin’s illegal war, is hurting economies across the world and making people poorer.

“These payments are the next part of the significant support we are providing through this challenging time, with millions of vulnerable households receiving £900 directly into their bank accounts this financial year alongside additional help for pensioners and those with disabilities.

“This latest payment will provide some temporary relief, but the best thing we can do to help families and businesses is to stick to the plan to halve inflation this year.”

Payments timeline

Exact payment windows and qualifying periods for eligibility will be announced in due course, but are designed to ensure a consistent support offer throughout the year. Payment windows will be broadly as follows:

  • £301 – First 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Spring 2023
  • £150 – 2023 Disability Payment – during Summer 2023
  • £300 – Second 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Autumn 2023
  • £300 – 2023 Pensioner Payment – during Winter 2023/4
  • £299 – Third 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment – during Spring 2024

There are several benefits that could make claimants eligible for the £301 Cost of Living Payment, including Universal Credit and tax credits – through which 5.4 million households across the UK are expected to qualify, and Pension Credit, through which 1.4 million pensioner households are expected to be paid. A further 1.3 million will be eligible through legacy DWP benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support, reaching a total of 8.1 million households.

What happens next?

Eligible individuals do not need to apply for payments, as they are made automatically. Those eligible for cost-of-living payments through tax credits, and no other means-tested benefits, will be paid by HMRC shortly after DWP payments are made.

This builds on the Government’s wider support package, which includes further funding for the Household Support Fund, bringing its total value for October 2021 to March 2024 to over £2 billion.

The fund is distributed to English councils, who know their areas best and are then able to offer direct support for those most in need in their local area. Every household with a domestic electricity supply is also benefitting from the Energy Price Guarantee, which is saving the average household around £900 this winter and a further £500 in 2023/24 by capping energy costs.

Plans discussed to introduce digital currency

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

The pound in your pocket could become digital as the Bank of England starts a consultation on the future of currency.

Together with the Treasury, the Bank has launched research into what a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would look like and will be looking for views from the public.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: “While cash is here to stay, a digital pound issued and backed by the Bank of England could be a new way to pay that’s trusted, accessible and easy to use.

“That’s why we want to investigate what is possible first, whilst always making sure we protect financial stability.”

The consultation is being launched because both the Treasury and the Bank want to ensure the public have access to safe money that is convenient to use as our everyday lives become more digital, while supporting private sector innovation, choice and efficiency in digital payments.

What would a digital pound look like?

  • It would replicate the role of cash in a digital world, so that it is risk-free, highly trusted and accessible.
  • £10 of a digital pound would always be worth the same as £10 of cash.
  • Issued by the Bank of England, widely available and convenient to use.
  • Subject to rigorous standards of privacy and data protection – neither Government nor the Bank would have access to personal data and holders would have the same level of privacy as a bank account.
  • Accessed through digital wallets offered to consumers by the private sector through smartphones or smartcards.
  • Intended for payments, online, in-store, and to friends and family, rather than savings, with no interest paid on holdings.
  • Initial restrictions on how much an individual or businesses could hold.

Countries around the world are considering similar proposals including the Eurozone and the US and China.

Unlike cryptoassets and stablecoins, the digital pound would be issued by the Bank of England and not the private sector. We are separately already legislating to protect Access to Cash.

This means that it will have intrinsic value and not be volatile, unlike unbacked cryptoassets as there would be a central authority to back it.

The needs of vulnerable people are being considered in the digital pound design process ensuring that it would be simple and straightforward to use and understood and trusted by the public as a form of money.

What happens next?

A decision about whether to implement a digital pound will be taken around the middle of the decade and will largely be based on future developments in money and payments. The earliest stage at which the digital pound could be launched would be the second half of the decade.

Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, said: “As the world around us and the way we pay for things becomes more digitalised, the case for a digital pound in the future continues to grow. A digital pound would provide a new way to pay, help businesses, maintain trust in money and better protect financial stability.

“However, there are a number of implications which our technical work will need to carefully consider. This consultation and the further work the Bank will now do will be the foundation for what would be a profound decision for the country on the way we use money.”

What do you think about a digital pound?

Families advised not to miss out on childcare support

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Looking for childcare for the February half-term? Don’t forget you can save up to £2,000 a year with Government support.

Families are being reminded that opening a Tax-Free Childcare account can help their bank balance if they have children aged 11 or under – or 16 if their child has a disability – if they go to nursery, a childminder, attends breakfast or after school club, has holiday care or go to an out of school activity.

Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Tax-Free Childcare can make a big difference to household budgets and I urge families to make sure they are getting the help they are entitled to.”

For every £8 paid into an online account, families automatically receive an additional £2 from the Government. Parents can receive up to £500 every three months (£2,000 a year), or £1,000 (£4,000 a year) if their child is disabled.

How to get you money

Opening a Tax-Free Childcare account is simple and takes around 20 minutes. Money can be deposited at any time and can be used straight away, or whenever it is needed. Unused money in the account can be withdrawn at any time.

Victoria said: “It is a simple process – go online today, set up an account and start making real savings on your childcare costs.”

Families could be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare if they:

  • have a child or children aged 11 or under. They stop being eligible on 1 September after their 11th birthday. If their child has a disability, they may get up to £4,000 a year until 1 September after their 16th birthday
  • earn, or expect to earn, at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week, on average
  • each earn no more than £100,000 per annum
  • do not receive tax credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “We want to help working families and by using Tax-Free Childcare, they can use the Government top-up to make their money go further. Search ‘Tax-Free Childcare’ on GOV.UK to find out how it could help you.”

Government-backed small business support hits milestone

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

A noodle shop in Hertfordshire is the 100,000th recipient of support from the Government’s Start Up Loans programme.

More than £940m has been handed out to small businesses since the programme was launched in 2012.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “We know how important small businesses are to our communities, creating jobs, growth and opportunities, and that is why we are backing them all the way to not only start up, but to scale up.

“As a former business owner, I know how difficult it can be to get your business off the ground, which is why I’m incredibly proud that Government-backed Start Up Loans have helped 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, from Shetland to Shoreditch, to make their dreams a reality.”

UK-wide support

The scheme, administered by the British Business Bank, offers financial support, guidance and advice to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

From the 100,000 loans, 40 per cent have gone to women and one-in-five to people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

Meanwhile, young people (aged between 18 and 24 years old) have received 14 per cent of loans.

The success of the Start Up Loans scheme has been felt nationwide, with new and exciting businesses across the country using them to establish and grow.

The top five local authorities by loan volume and value are Birmingham, Leeds, Cornwall, Hackney in East London and Manchester.

With 12,382 loans in the North-West, 7,117 in the East of England, 5,616 in the East Midlands and 1,539 in Northern Ireland, as well as many more across all parts of the United Kingdom, the Start Up Loans scheme has seen the entire UK benefit, with total economic activity estimated to be around £5.3 billion.

Start up, scale up

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Start Up Loans said: “Start Up Loans supports people across the UK who are looking to start their own businesses and passing our 100,000 loan milestone is an amazing achievement that has been ten years in the making.

“We could not have achieved this without the dedicated support of our network of UK delivery partners and in-house team, and I’d like to take this chance to thank them for everything they do to make our work possible.”

The Government is not only supporting businesses to start up, but to scale up too. The Start Up Loans scheme was recently expanded to provide finance to eligible businesses operating for up to five years to support their expansion. The Business Secretary Grant Shapps also recently announced a ‘Scale-up Summit’ to bring together key technology, development and finance figures who have accelerated businesses from start-ups to scale-ups.

Thinking about starting a business? Get in touch to see how we can help.

Deadline approaching for checking property details

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Have you checked the details held on your property ahead of a UK-wide re-evaluation of non-domestic rates in just two months?

If the answer is ‘no’, we would strongly advise that you put it on your to-do list.

A new non-domestic rating list comes into effect on 1 April after the 2017 list closes. If the information held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) isn’t correct, it could affect your future business rates.

The rating list sets out all rateable values for non-domestic properties in England and Wales. It is used by local authorities to help determine business rates. But your rateable value isn’t the same as your business rates bill.

The closure of the 2017 list means that there are only limited circumstances in which further amendments may be made to it. These are when:

  • changes need to be made to the list following Checks submitted before 1 April 2023 (and any subsequent challenges and appeals).
  • the VOA is correcting inaccuracies on the list (this can be done up to 31 March 2024). If the list is changed then customers for those properties have the right to make a Check within six months of the change.
  • a customer wants to challenge the 2017 list on the grounds of a tribunal or court decision. They can do this so long as a Check has been made by 30 September 2023.

This means that you have up until 31 March to check that the factual information held about your property on the 2017 list is correct, and to inform the VOA if it isn’t (this is known as making a Check case).

You will be able to challenge the 2017 assessment if you are not happy with the outcome.

If information needs updating, you will need to have an account set up on the Government Gateway and claim your property before you can make a Check case.

It can take some time to claim a property. It is recommended that you do this as soon as possible if you want to make a Check case on the information held about your property on the 2017 list.

When reviewing the information already held, you will need to consider if the below have been correctly reported:

  • accommodation or floor area
  • heating and air conditioning
  • width if it is a shop
  • car parking
  • floor levels
  • mezzanines
  • temporary structures
  • storage land
  • security cameras

The VOA regularly looks at property information selected at random and will carry out inspections if it is believed the details are incorrect.