14 December 2023
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Welcome to our roundup of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you.
December Payroll Deadline
The deadline for submitting payroll information before Christmas is 15th December 2023.

IMPORTANT REMINDER – Online Tax Return Deadline

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The online tax return filing deadline for the 2022 to 2023 tax year is Wednesday 31st January 2024. Any tax owed must also be paid by 31st January.

An important reminder to all our clients, please ensure you have accepted our Tax Return service proposal and submitted your supporting paperwork before the end of December.

HMRC Slashes access to helplines for seven weeks

In the busiest period of the tax year, HMRC has significantly reduced access to the self-assessment helpline, prioritising only complex queries.

Without prior warning, HMRC has confirmed that from 11 December until 31 January, it will redirect the majority of callers to the self-assessment helpline to online services, telling taxpayers to find their own answers to queries about tax returns. 


HMRC said that call centre advisers will focus on answering ‘priority queries’, described as ‘those that cannot be easily dealt with online’, as well as supporting the small minority of callers who require extra support or cannot use online services.

However, HMRC has not explained how these priority calls will be ranked and dealt with during this period.     

The sudden announcement, with only four days’ notice, follows the abrupt three-month closure of HMRC helplines over the summer and the decision that helplines would be cut by 30% by the end of 2024 to allow staff to be reallocated to jobs in other parts of HMRC.

Our advice is if you haven’t already done so, please send us your tax return information now.

Do I have to pay tax on office Christmas party?

Xmas Party

With the festive party season upon us, let’s look at the potential tax implications when planning a staff Christmas party from the expenditure limit on costs per head, guest lists and frequency of celebrations.

A company is holding a staff Christmas party this month and also held an annual staff summer event. Therefore, will the Christmas party now become a taxable benefit each year and not benefit from the exemption?

Section 264 ITEPA 2003 details an income tax exemption for annual functions. The exemption is not restricted only to a Christmas party, it can used for alternative annual functions during the year.

The exemption must be used for annual functions so for functions that can happen again the following year. For example, the exemption cannot be used for a one-off function such as the 10th anniversary of a business.

Another condition of the exemption is that the function must be open to all employees or all employees in one particular location.

The total value for an annual function which is exempt from income tax is £150 per head, if more than one annual function is held within in a tax year, the cost of both functions will remain exempt from income tax as long as the combined cost per person for both functions does not exceed £150 per head.

For example, if the client’s summer party cost was £50 per head, then as long as the cost per head at the Christmas party was £100 or below then both parties would be exempt from income tax as the combined cost of the parties per head is exactly £150.

For more information please contact your Client Manager.

The Autumn Statement – What was and wasn’t said

On Wednesday 22nd November the Chancellor took to the commons to give the Autumn Statement to praise themselves for meeting their own target to halve inflation to below 5% so that they can deliver the ‘’biggest tax cut in modern history’’. This was a much more restrained statement compared to the turmoil of this time last year and seemed more focused on positive headlines, likely to fuel the inevitable election campaign, than any wholesale changes to policy.

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Many have pointed out that the cuts don’t go far enough, and that the reality is that the tax burden is still the highest it has been in the modern era and people are worse off for it. Below we give some thoughts on the key points raised that may be the most impactful to our clients.

To read our Autumn statement in full, including more information on Inflation, National Insurance, Corporation Tax, Sole Trader Reforms and National Minimum Wage click the link here.

November Employee of the Month

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Well done to Nathan Mole for being November employee of the month.

Nathan has been with Maple since June 2021, he consistently produces a high standard of work for clients and will lend a helping hand to anyone who asks, proving he is a wonderful team player!

Nathan is on course to pass his AAT Level 4 shortly and is then looking at future qualifications he can undertake.

Keep up the good work Nathan!

Office Times over Christmas & New Year

Our office and telephone lines close at 12pm on Friday 22nd December 2023 and reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Best wishes from,

Jenny, James, Sara and all the Maple team

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Maple Accountancy is a firm of expert Business Advisors offering accountancy services, tax and business advice to owner-managed and family-owned businesses.

All clients are individual, and we tailor our service to your needs. Use the site to find out what makes us different and understand why you should appoint us.


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Maple Accountancy Ltd.

Carter House, Wyvern Court, ​Stanier Way, ​Wyvern Business Park, Derby. DE21 6BF

01332 207336

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