Business Newsletter 21st November 2022

Get ready for new VAT penalties from 1 January 2023

For VAT periods starting on or after 1 January 2023, HMRC is replacing the default surcharge with separate penalties for late returns and late payment of VAT. At the same time, HMRC is introducing a new approach to charging interest on late-paid VAT.

The new points-based system for late submissions is designed to be more lenient for the occasional slip-up, whilst still penalising those who repeatedly fail to comply. It will operate in a similar way to the penalty points system for motoring offences. Also, like the system for motoring penalties, the points expire after a period of time.

If your business submits its return late (which also applies if you submit a nil or repayment return late), you could face penalty points and a £200 fine. ​

See the attached for details of the new points-based system: Prepare for upcoming changes to VAT penalties and VAT interest charges – GOV.UK (


Ten years of Automatic Enrolment achieves over £114bn in pension savings

Automatic Enrolment has helped millions put more into their pension pots than ever before, according to new figures released to mark 10 years since the policy was introduced.

In 2021, employees across the UK saved £114.6 billion in their pensions. This is a real terms increase of £32.9 billion compared to 2012 when Automatic Enrolment was introduced.

The figures reveal how the policy has transformed pension saving over the last ten years by normalising workplace pension saving, establishing a culture of retirement saving for a new generation, and helping foster a greater sense of security in later life.

More than 10.7 million employees were paying into a workplace pension in 2021. The proportion of women saving into a workplace pension, be it in the public or private sector, jumped by about 50% since 2012. Furthermore, young people have benefitted, with those aged 22 to 29 saving into a workplace pension more than doubling in the same period.

See: Ten years of Automatic Enrolment achieves over £114bn pension savings – GOV.UK (


UK sanctions on Russia top £18 billion for the first time

Data released last week reveals the full effect of UK sanctions on Russia – with £18.39 billion of Russian assets frozen and reported to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

The figure, released for the first time in OFSI’s Annual Review, demonstrates the key role the UK has played in standing up to Russia following their illegal invasion of Ukraine. It is nearly £6 billion pounds more than reported across all other UK sanctions regimes.

In conjunction with its allies, the UK has imposed the most severe sanctions Russia has ever faced, designating more than 1,200 individuals and 120 entities, and freezing the assets of 19 Russian banks with global assets of £940 billion since they began their illegal invasion.

See: UK sanctions on Russia top £18 billion for the first time – GOV.UK (


New British Standard on modern slavery

The British Standards Institution (BSI) have published a national standard, giving organisations guidance on how to manage modern slavery risks in their operations, supply chains and wider operating environment.

BS 25700 provides organisations with guidance for addressing the risk of modern slavery, including prevention, identification, response, remediation, mitigation, and reporting.

The benefits to businesses include:

  • Effective management of the risk of modern slavery in a way that supports human rights due diligence.
  • Positive business reputation.
  • Increased sales and customer loyalty, as consumers seek businesses with higher ethical standards.
  • Greater ability to attract talent and retain staff.
  • Improved investor confidence.
  • More responsive and stable supply chains.

See:  BS 25700:2022 Organizational responses to modern slavery – Guidance | BSI (


Additional flexibility in the application of council tax premiums and letting criteria

The Welsh Government has proposed that more categories of properties will be excluded from paying the council tax premium on second homes, managing the impact of new local tax rules to distinguish between second homes and self-catering accommodation.

There will also be additional guidance on the discretion local authorities will have in the application of the premiums. It follows ongoing discussion and engagement with councils, communities and the tourism industry.

The tax changes, which will be in place from 1 April 2023, are intended to develop a fairer housing market and ensure owners make a fair contribution to the communities in which they own homes or run businesses. The changes provide a clearer demonstration that the properties concerned are being let regularly as part of genuine holiday accommodation businesses.

The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for non-domestic rates instead of council tax is increasing from being let for at least 70 days in any 12-month period to being let for at least 182 days.

The change will mean two further categories of property will be exempt from council tax premiums if they no longer meet the letting criteria. It will apply to all properties that are restricted by planning conditions which means that they can only be used as short-term holiday lets or which prevent them from being used as someone’s main residence.

See: Additional flexibility in the application of council tax premiums and letting criteria | GOV.WALES