Skip to main content
We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.


For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Calls for government to delay Making Tax Digital

26 November 2018

Calls for government to delay Making Tax DigitalThe House of Lords has called for the introduction of Making Tax Digital for VAT to be delayed because of concerns that small businesses are not ready for the new system.

Making Tax Digital for VAT is set to become compulsory for VAT-registered businesses in April 2019. Those affected will have to submit their VAT returns using approved software or digitally-enabled spreadsheets.

However, a new House of Lords report, Making Tax Digital for VAT: Treating Small Businesses Fairly, has concluded that many small businesses are not prepared for the changes.

It has recommended that "the government defers the date for mandating Making Tax Digital for VAT by at least one year, while encouraging businesses to join voluntarily."

The report made the following points:

  • The evidence … suggests that HMRC, taxpayers and the software market are unprepared for the implementation of Making Tax Digital for VAT in April 2019;
  • HMRC has not done enough to communicate with taxpayers or agents to support their preparations to meet their Making Tax Digital obligations;
  • Although MTD for VAT-compliant software may be available, there has been insufficient time to establish a competitive, accessible and diverse software market;
  • The costs to businesses of MTD for VAT, both for initial set-up and for subsequent operation, will significantly exceed those used in the government's impact assessment.

These concerns are shared by many business organisations. Anita Monteith, tax manager at accounting body the ICAEW, said: "We support HMRC's ambition to increase the use of digital technology, but we are concerned, as is the committee, that many VAT-registered businesses are not going to be ready for implementation in April 2019.

"Time is running out. MTD for VAT is a major change in tax administration and, with its start date coinciding with Brexit, it is important for businesses, the economy and the UK tax system that it is a success. This is too important to be rushed."

Recent research by ICAEW has revealed that over 40% of businesses about to be affected by Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT are not yet aware of it and that a quarter of all businesses are still using a paper-based accounting system.

Simon McVicker, director of policy at freelancer body IPSE, said: "We support digitisation of the tax system, but we are worried about the speed of the implementation. HMRC's initial timetable for Making Tax Digital was way too ambitious and targeted the wrong businesses … we are concerned that many self-employed businesses simply don't know about the new requirements."

Dave Chaplin, ceo and founder of ContractorCalculator, said: "HMRC has the challenge of educating not just one business, but eventually 5.7m of them to get ready for MTD. They will never manage to educate everyone in time, whatever they do, but at this stage they perhaps haven't got far enough over the line to minimise disruption to business … The software vendors are of course keen for things to proceed, but the main challenge isn't the software, but the training and operational changes required by every business that is the most challenging aspect."

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry