“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell, the eminent scientist, engineer, and inventor of the telephone, spoke these words more than a century ago but they still ring true.
By setting aside the time to plan for the biggest deadlines in your fiscal calendar, you will save yourself time, stress, and potentially money too. This handy guide lists all the important business dates and upcoming changes to legislation for sole traders and the owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses, so that you can get ahead and avoid any nasty surprises.
The financial year dates you need to know about
Bills to rise
The energy bill support scheme is due to end on 31 March, removing the cap to the unit cost of gas and electricity. A new scheme is set to offer a discount on wholesale prices of gas and electricity, rather than a fixed price.
Rail fare increase
Fares are set to rise on 5 March, which may impact your business travel costs or commuting staff.
National minimum wage
On 1 April, new minimum wage and statutory increases take effect. Apprentice wages will rise from £4.81 to £5.28. Under 18s will now also get paid £5.28. 18 to 20-year-olds will see salaries rise from £6.83 to £7.49, 21 and 22-year-olds from £9.18 to £10.18, and the over-23s will experience a rise from £9.50 to £10.42.
Statutory sick pay, maternity (and parental) pay will also increase. The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) rises to £109.40, while the weekly rate of statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance, statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental pay, parental bereavement pay, and statutory adoption pay increases from £156.66 to £172.48.
UK tax year
For many businesses (the ones following the standard UK tax year) your tax year will run from the 6 April 2023 to the 5 April 2024.
Income tax threshold
The additional rate income tax threshold will fall to £125,140 in April from £150,000. Those whose earnings reach the threshold will no longer have any Personal Allowance – they will pay income tax on the lot.
The tax-free allowance for dividend income (the ‘dividend allowance’) is being reduced from £2,000 to £1,000 from 6 April.
PAYE requires that you register for payroll benefits and then meet monthly obligations to file remittances and pay HMRC. You also need to file benefits forms on your employees’ behalf every year. The PAYE registration deadline is 4 April. Remember, if you’ve just recruited your first employees, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance – it's the law.
New tax codes
As soon as you close off one year’s payroll, you must open the next. At the start of April, refer to the P9X – this is the document outlining the forthcoming year’s tax codes. These codes will be in place from the 6 April.
If anyone has left the business over the past year, it’s important to make sure your records have been updated. Make sure your payroll information is correct before you send your Full Payment Submission or Employer Payment Summary to HMRC – you can make corrections later but the process is laborious.
You have until the 19 April to submit your Full Payment Summary and Employer Payment Summary and pay any tax or National Insurance contributions due.
Extra bank holiday
Good news for some. The Coronation of King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6 May 2023 and there will be an additional bank holiday on Monday 8 May 2023 so adjust your plans accordingly.
Make sure that your employee records are in order. You must give a P60 to all employees on your payroll by the 31 May.
Those employing staff have until the 6 July to submit a P11D form to HMRC. This is a declaration of all expenses and benefits outside tax and insurance payments, such as car allowances, childcare benefits or interest-free loans. You’ll need to submit one of these forms for each employee who receives such benefits.
Payment of National Insurance
Your payments of class 1A National Insurance contributions are due to HMRC by the 22 July if you’re submitting digitally (if you’re still paying the old-fashioned way, you have to get this done by the 19 July).
Payment on account
Sole traders, remember, you pay your income tax and National Insurance contributions in two tranches. These are known as “payments on account”. Your second payment on account is due by the 31 July.
Ditch your whoopsie aisle
One for the midsize business owners, employing 50 people or more. From 1 October, the government mandates that you remove all the unhealthy volume promotions from your stores. This means all those “buy one get one free” style offers on high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products.
For those filing self-assessments, you have until the 31 October if you are still filing a paper return – but it’s advisable you move to digital filing as soon as you can.
Congratulations! If you started your business in the 2022/23 tax year, you have until the 5 October to let HMRC know that you need to start paying tax and National Insurance. Remember to get your business insurance set up if you haven’t already done so!
New partner joined the business?
If you started a partnership or became a partner during the 2022/23 tax year, you must let HMRC know by the 5 October.
For those filing their self-assessments digitally, you have until 31 January 2024 to get your return into HMRC.
Self assessment tax payment deadline
Get ready to pay your tax for the 2022/23 year by the 31 January 2024. And your first payment on account of tax for year 2023/24 is due on this date too. If you miss the deadlines for filing Self-Assessment tax returns or fail to pay the tax you owe, you’ll be charged penalties. There’s a £100 fine for filing your return late – up to 3 months after the deadline. The fine continues to rise if you file after that.
Capital Gains tax
When you sell a business asset, you must pay Capital Gains tax. This is a tax on any “gain” you made on the value of the asset – such as buildings or machinery - while under your ownership. The deadline for Capital Gains tax payment on assets sold in 2022/23 tax year is the 31 January 2024. The threshold for paying capital gains tax has been slashed from £12,300 to £6,000 for the 2023-2024 tax year.
The new points-based VAT penalty system came into force in January 2023. From 6 April 2024, self-assessment taxpayers with business or property income over £10,000 per year will be penalised for late submission of VAT under the new system.
Supporting your business
We understand the rising cost of living can affect your business as much as your personal finances. If you're worried about your business, we're here to provide support and guidance on how to keep things running.Find out more
You might also like...
How to level up your business cyber security
Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing risks to small businesses – here are some small steps you can take to protect your business according to Virgin Money Information Security expert, Elaine McKechnie.
“Boost your business’s social media presence in ten simple steps”
Looking for new ways to make your business stand out from the crowd on social media? Can’t quite understand why your followers aren’t growing? Social media and digital content expert Pilar Nalwimba reveals ten easy ways to fix that…
How to manage your mental health as a business owner
Understanding when to release the accelerator and activate the brakes for a bit is key to managing your physical and mental wellbeing as a founder. Here are seven simple ways you can maintain a healthy mind while running a successful business.
The essential guide to mastering your cashflow management
Managing your cashflow can be daunting, especially in the current climate. So, we asked financial journalist, Simon Read to round up the best ways you can manage, monitor and improve your cashflow for business success