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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.

Millions of calls to HMRC are not answered

30 May 2018

Millions of calls to HMRC are not answeredNew figures from the National Audit Office reveal that one in ten phone calls to the HMRC helpline are not picked up.

Over 43 million people called HMRC's tax advice helpline over the past year; however, more than 10% of these were not answered. The National Audit Office (NAO) data also shows that 14% of calls rang for more than ten minutes before they were picked up by an adviser.

What's more, the audit of calls did not include those tax-payers who got an engaged tone when they called the helpline.

Meg Hillier, chair of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, told the Telegraph: "There are a lot of people who are self-employed, who do not have a raft of tax advisers and who rely on HMRC for help. Hanging on the phone during the day is difficult to do for a lot of people."

An HMRC spokesman said: "We have improved our customer service standards enormously over the last two years. Our phone call handling has got better, with the average response time falling from 12 minutes in 2015-16 to below five minutes for the past two years.

"Time in the automated telephony system is valuable because it ensures customers are directed to the right person to deal with their question, or get their question answered through the automated system."

However, the figures show that the number of people who can't get through has actually doubled in the past year - from one in 20 last year to one in ten this year.

HMRC has been accused of cutting back on staff and resources in order to encourage more tax-payers to submit their tax returns online as part of the move to Making Tax Digital.

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