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Business Advice

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Are you a Self-Assessment Early Bird?

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has released figures showing that 295,250 Self-Assessment tax returns were filed in the first week of the new tax year. Almost 70,000 were filed on the first day – April 6th. This seems to suggest an increasing trend for filing tax returns early. Last year,…

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Good News! The Economy is on the UP!

Understanding economic changes: How recent events affect businesses Data releases in recent weeks from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) coupled with Bank of England decisions might make recent news about the economy seem a bit confusing. Understanding how this news affects businesses is important so let’s break it down.…

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How can you save on Capital Gains Tax?

Over the last two years, the tax-free allowance for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has been cut by over three-quarters. For the tax year that recently began on 6th April 2024, the Annual Exempt Amount has been reduced to £3,000 (£1,500 for trustees). These reductions mean that more and more of…

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Defending Against E-mail Compromise

How to defend your business from e-mail compromise E-mail phishing attacks that target senior leaders and finance personnel in the business are on the increase. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published guidance aimed at helping small to medium sized businesses to deal with Business Email Compromise (BEC). The…

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Check your State Pension Entitlement

New digital service to check your State Pension forecast launched A new digital service has been launched that makes it easier to check if you have any gaps in your National Insurance (NI) record that may affect your State Pension entitlement. The service is called Check Your State Pension forecast…

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Dealing with a cyber-attack

Most businesses have exposure to cyber risk Almost every modern business relies on computer networks for day-to-day operations, and this means that most firms are exposed to cyber risk. A cyber-attack is any attempt to steal data, damage or disrupt a computer system. In the event of a cyber-attack, it’s…

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Tax Update May 2024

Welcome to our May Tax Update In this edition we take a look at beta testing for MTD for Income Tax, guidance on work travel, official rate of interest, investing in an unquoted trading company and upcoming Accounting Events. WANT TO BE PART OF BETA TESTING OF MTD FOR INCOME…

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Hybrid Working

What counts as a business journey for tax purposes? With COVID came the necessity for some employees to work remotely from home. Post-Pandemic, some employees have chosen to continue this hybrid working, whilst others have no choice as regional offices close down to help cut costs. HM Revenue and Customs…

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Inheritance Tax Update

Lump sum death benefit charge What do you need to tell HMRC? New guidance has been published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to help legal representatives find out what they need to tell HMRC to calculate the lump sum death benefit charge. When someone passes away and their estate…

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Don’t Get Caught Out by Tax Avoidance

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is running a campaign to help people avoid being caught out by tax avoidance schemes. This is particularly relevant to those who are contractors, agency workers, or are working through an umbrella company. Tax avoidance schemes are schemes designed to bend the rules of the…

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Payroll Updates: Changes to Tax Codes

Have you checked your tax code? Prior to the tax year starting each 6th April, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), will issue new tax codes to employees, usually where there is a change of tax code. These tax codes, a series of letter and numbers, allow employers to deduct the…

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Research and Development Update

New R&D tax relief guidance available For accounting periods beginning on or after 1st April 2024, a new merged scheme for research and development tax credit comes into force. The new merged scheme replaces the old RDEC and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) schemes. The new scheme reduces the amount…

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April is Stress Awareness Month

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), via its Working Minds campaign, has declared April Stress Awareness Month. Work-related stress is an important consideration for businesses since all employers have a legal duty to prevent work-related stress to support good mental health in the workplace. Managing work-related stress doesn’t just help…

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Training for the self-employed

Are training costs tax deductible for the self-employed? HM Revenue & Customs has recently updated and clarified its guidance on training costs paid by the self-employed. The general rule for whether the cost of a training course can be deducted from your self-employed profits is that it must be incurred…

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Good bookkeeping: A backbone of business success

Keeping your accounting records up-to-date can feel like a chore, but when your bookkeeping is kept up-to-date, you and your business can gain some significant benefits. Let’s review a few: Financial clarity Regular bookkeeping ensures that your business’ financial transactions are accurately recorded, categorised, and updated regularly. Having up-to-date information…

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Inheritance Tax on Wedding Gifts

Spring has arrived, Easter is upon us and the wedding season is fast approaching. So, have you thought about giving a cash gift to someone close on the day of their wedding or civil partnership? This could not only be a generous gift, but can also be tax efficient for…

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The VAT Flat Rate Scheme

Understanding the pros and cons of the VAT Flat Rate Scheme for businesses Value Added Tax (VAT) is a significant consideration for businesses. It impacts your cash flow, the amount of admin work needed, and even your overall profitability. One option available to businesses – with a VAT exclusive turnover…

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Payroll Updates: Changes to National Insurance

In the Spring Budget on 6th March, one of the headline announcements by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was a the further reduction to National Insurance. In this ‘Insight’ we take a look at what this means for Employees, Employers and the Self-Employed, with a look at the new National Living Wage…

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Year-End Tax: Transferring Tax Allowances

Are you eligible for a £252 saving on your tax bill? With the tax year ending on 5th April, March is a good month to check whether sharing unused tax allowances with your partner could save you some money. HMRC says that March is the most popular month for Marriage…

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HMRC changes is guidance on Twin-Cab Pickups

In an announcement made on 19th February, the Government confirmed that twin-cab pickup vehicles with payloads of 1 tonne or more will continue to be treated as goods vehicles for both capital allowances and benefit-in-kind purposes. On 12th February, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had updated its guidance on the…

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Sole Trader vs Limited Company

Exploring the tax implications of trading as a Sole Trader against registering as a Limited Company When starting a business, or indeed as an established business, choosing the most suitable legal structure for your business is an important thing to consider. Two popular options are operating as a sole trader…

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Tax Refund and QR Code Scams

In our ‘Insight’ on 16th February, we highlighted some advice from HMRC and the National Cyber Security Centre on Tax Scams and using online services. This week, we look into their warnings regarding tax refund scams and the use of QR Codes to phish for business information. HMRC warns about…

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Holiday Lets Being Assessed for Business Rates

Some self-catering holiday let owners are being asked to provide trade information The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is contacting the owners of some self-catering holiday lets. The lets in question are ones that are currently being assessed for business rates. The VOA are looking for additional information about the income…

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Protecting Yourself from Scams

With the rise in scams hot in the news recently, we take a look at guidance from HMRC and the National Cyber Security Centre on what to look out for to help protect yourself and your business from scammers. How to recognise tax scam phone calls, emails and text messages…

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Strategies for Business Growth

Unlocking the value of your business Cornwall Insight predicts a decrease in domestic energy prices this April, potentially followed by a Summer dip. This welcome news could ease inflation, a major contributor to the UK’s economic woes. Lower energy costs might lead to reduced interest rates, fostering a more optimistic…

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Hidden Pension Benefits for Grandparents and Relatives

Unlock an extra £3,600 in State Pension Did you know grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members can claim extra National Insurance (NI) credits for helping care for children? These credits can add up to £3,600 per year on your state pension! Who qualifies? Parents who don’t live with the…

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Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme

Finance Bill 2023-24, which is currently making its way through Parliament, includes a clause that will change the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) Gross Payment Status Tests from 6th April 2024. Having Gross Payment Status means that a subcontractor can receive gross payments from contractors, as opposed to payments that have…

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Childcare Boost for Families

Parents of toddlers could save up to £6,500 a Year! Good news, parents! Starting in April 2024, more families can save on nursery fees with the Government’s expanded free childcare scheme. Here’s the main points: Who benefits? Families with two-year-olds, earning between £8,670 and £100,000 per year. That’s 285,000 families eligible! How much…

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Uncovering Potential Bounce Back Loan Fraud

Government Launches Pilot Program for Bounce Back Loan Scheme. In a bid to tackle potential fraudulent applications under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Department for Business (DBT), the Cabinet Office, and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have joined forces to launch a groundbreaking pilot program. This initiative focuses…

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Selling Online and Paying Taxes

Income Tax and Selling Online

In recent weeks there has been a flurry of online activity discussing the new law that will require online marketplaces to report information about income made by their users to HMRC. The discussion has led to many people asking questions such as “Will I have to pay tax on the…

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Inheritance Tax Planning Tips

With inheritance tax receipts to HMRC set to reach new levels this financial year, now more than ever are families needing to plan for their future. Inheritance tax could take a large proportion of your wealth – 40% of everything above £325,000 – and stop your family members enjoying the…

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WARNING: Elaborate Scam Letter!

A client recently asked us to check a letter they had received, as they felt it was suspicious. The letter looks as though it has come from HMRC with an urgent request regarding Web Filing Access for Corporation Tax. The letter looks very authentic and a great deal of time…

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Unlocking the Potential of Digital Marketing

In the digital era, leveraging digital marketing offers a multitude of advantages that empower businesses to flourish and outpace their competition. Let’s take a look at the various ways in which digital marketing can be a game-changer for your enterprise. Cost-Efficient Marketing Solutions: Digital marketing presents a more cost-efficient alternative…

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Tax-Free Childcare Costs

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding working families to give their childcare budget a boost by opening a Tax-Free Childcare account. Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to help with childcare costs for school holiday clubs, breakfast or after school clubs, childminders or nurseries. You can get up to £500 every 3…

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Beware of Self-Assessment Scams

A Warning from HMRC The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is alerting Self-Assessment customers to be vigilant against scam texts, emails and phone calls from fraudsters. As the deadline for submitting Self-Assessment tax returns for the 2022-23 tax year (31st January 2024) approaches, scammers are targeting unsuspecting individuals by posing…

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Changes to the Home Working Allowance

What You Need To Know In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government introduced special provisions allowing those working from home to receive a tax-free allowance of £6 per week. This initiative provided significant relief to employees, enabling them to offset the additional costs associated with…

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A little light reading for the weekend!

Unlock Substantial Tax Savings with this Little-Known Couples’ Financial Strategy Financial advisers have long been privy to a little-known tactic that could potentially save couples over £8,000 annually in taxes. This strategy involves transferring savings between partners, leveraging online calculators to determine the optimal amount to shift from the higher-earning…

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Do You Have an Exit Strategy?

The ultimate aim of every serious business person is to build a company that has value, so that it can be sold or transferred, allowing the entrepreneur to exit gracefully and profitably. Recently, we have been helping a number of our entrepreneur clients develop successful, tax efficient exit strategies. There…

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TAX ALERT! For Sole Traders and Partnerships

TAX ALERT! IF YOUR YEAR END IS NOT 31st MARCH HMRC will be changing the way they assess profits for sole traders and partnerships. One of the lesser published points is that everyone is going to have to have a 31st March/5th April year end – if your year-end is not already…

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Workplace EV Charging Scheme

The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides eligible businesses with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) charge points. All businesses can use it to help provision chargepoints for their staff or fleets. Charities and small accommodation businesses can…

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Changes for Research and Development Claims

Additional information required for Research & Development (R&D) claims  The latest Finance Act includes two changes that will affect all R&D claims: A requirement to provide additional information before an R&D claim is made; and A requirement for certain companies to make a claim notification within six months after the end…

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Filing your Self-Assessment return early

Taxpayers could take advantage of four key benefits when filing their tax return early, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has stated. The Self-Assessment deadline for the 2022 to 2023 tax year is 31st January 2024. Taxpayers who file early will have more control over their financial affairs and beat the…

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Business Rates List Closes Soon

Beware of Rogue Business Rates Agents

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is urging businesses to protect themselves from rogue business rates agents. New rateable values for business properties came into effect in April 2023. Councils used these new values to calculate business rates bills. For more information, visit or recent insight – Business Rates List Closes…

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Scam E-mail Alert

Beware of e-mails that look as though they have come from HMRC offering a tax rebate! One of our clients has just brought to our attention an e-mail they have received that looks like it has come from HMRC, saying that after a recalculation, they could claim an amount back…

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Further extension to voluntary NI contributions deadline

The UK Government is giving people more time to pay National Insurance contributions towards their State Pension. Taxpayers now have until 5th April 2025 to fill gaps in their National Insurance record from April 2006 that may increase their State Pension – an extension of nearly 2 years. Extending the…

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Consultation on SAYE and SIP Employee share schemes

In a call for evidence launched recently, the UK Government wants to hear views on Save As You Earn (SAYE) and the Share Incentive Plan (SIP), as it seeks to improve the schemes and expand their use by making it easier for businesses to set them up and offer them…

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HMRC Unexpectedly Closes Self-Assessment Phone Line

This weekend HMRC unexpectedly and with no prior warning, closed their Self-Assessment phone line until the 4th September. Please bear with us during this period, as it will be difficult to deal with any issues that need to be referred to HMRC. To visit our Self-Assessment Tax page CLICK HERE…

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Paying Temporary Summer Staff

National Minimum Wage 2023 rate reminder for employers: Summer Staff All workers are legally entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This includes temporary seasonal staff, who often work short-term contracts in bars, hotels, shops, and warehouses over the summer. The National Minimum Wage hourly rates from 1…

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HMRC Revises Late Payment Interest Rates

HMRC late payment interest rates to be revised after Bank of England increases base rate. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee announced on 11th May 2023 that it would increase the Bank of England base rate to 4.5% from 4.25%. HMRC interest rates are linked to the Bank of England…

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Changes to the VAT Online Account

From Monday 15th May 2023, unless you are already using Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible software, you will no longer be able to use your existing VAT online account to file manual VAT returns. That is because by law, all VAT-registered businesses must now use Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible…

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Managing Cyber Risk

Businesses need to be vigilant and take steps to manage cyber risks effectively. Cyber-attacks are on the increase and it’s not just large, international corporations that are being targeted. As businesses increasingly rely on technology for their day-to-day operations, they are also exposed to new and evolving cyber risks. Cyber-attacks…

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2022/23 P11D Forms to be Submitted Online

The deadline for filing the P11D forms to report benefits in kind in respect of directors and employees for 2022/23 is 6th July 2023.  Note, however, that the original and amended reports must now be made online and paper returns will be rejected. Forms P11D and P11D(b) returns must be…

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Managing Inheritance Tax

Like many other taxes, Inheritance Tax (or IHT) allowances have been frozen. This sounds generous of the Chancellor at a time when the Government is strapped for cash. However, it actually means that we are paying more. Data from HMRC has revealed that Inheritance Tax collected between April 2022 and…

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Does your Company have a Shareholders Agreement?

HMRC Encourage ‘Digital by Default’ Tax Return Filing

HMRC is contacting almost 135,000 taxpayers who currently file paper self assessment (SA) tax returns to tell them that they will need to phone HMRC if they require a paper form. The SA forms will no longer be available to download from gov.uk. As part of HMRC’s ‘digital by default’…

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New VAT Penalties

New VAT penalties and interest payments The new penalties will impact businesses who submit their VAT returns or pay their VAT late. The first monthly returns and payments affected by the penalties are due by 7th March 2023. The late payment penalties and points-based late submission penalties were introduced from 1st January 2023, replacing…

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Genuine Contact from HMRC

Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails Find out about methods fraudsters use to try and get your personal information by viewing examples of scams identified by HMRC.  HMRC will sometimes contact customers by telephone, email, letter, and also sometimes use research companies to contact customers. If you’re not sure…

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Your Long-Term Financial Stability with Folkes Worton LLP Charte

Your Long-Term Financial Stability

With the uncertainties surrounding the economy, it’s an ideal time to be thinking about financial stability. So, if we want to provide those we love with security, it’s best to think long-term. The pandemic and the current increase in the costs of living show all too clearly that good health, and…

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Does your Company have a Shareholders Agreement?

Does Your Company Have a Shareholders Agreement?

For limited companies, when it comes to making decisions, Company Law states shareholders who own more than 50% can pass a motion at a company meeting regardless of the views of other shareholders and if a shareholder(s) owns 75% or more of the shares they control the company outright and…

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Beware of Company Registration Scam Letters

If you have recently registered a new company with Companies House, beware of scam letters you may receive that look as though they are from an official source, asking you to register an account and make a payment to them. We have just received the example below from ‘Company Registry’.…

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Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme Launched

Households, businesses and organisations who are ‘off the gas grid’ to receive energy bill support over the coming weeks From Monday last week, households across Great Britain who don’t use mains gas for heating started to receive £200 towards their energy bills as the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme launched.…

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Selling Online and Paying Taxes

Selling Online and Paying Taxes

If you regularly sell goods or services through an online marketplace, you could be classed as a ‘trader’. And if you earn more than £1,000 before deducting expenses through your trading, you will need to pay Income Tax on this. For tax, an online marketplace is any website or mobile…

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Minimum Wage Rates Increase 2023

Minimum Wage Rates Increase 2023

Minimum wage rates increase from 1st April 2023 Employers should be aware that all minimum wage rates increase on 1st April of each year. This includes all National Minimum Wage rates and the National Living Wage rate. See the table below that shows the current minimum wage rates and new…

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Business Rates List Closes Soon

Business Rates List Closes Soon

The 2017 non domestic rating list is closing. This means that you have up until 31st March 2023 to check that the factual information the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) holds about your property on this list is correct, and to let them know if it isn’t (this is known as…

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New Energy Bills Discount Scheme

New Energy Bills Discount Scheme (help for businesses and other non-domestic customers) to begin in April 2023 The Government has announced a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) from April 2023 to March 2024 for eligible non-domestic consumers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The current Energy Bill Relief Scheme…

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Research and Development – an Inland Revenue Update

In the light of a recent article in The Times last week, the HMRC Press Office issued the following tweet: “By acting quickly to pause payments and implement additional checks on claims we have protected £46 million of public money. We have also arrested 8 people suspected of conspiring to…

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Beware of ‘Rogue’ R&D Consultants

HMRC has identified and successfully challenged several false claims for Research and Development (R&D) tax credit relief made by purported R&D Consultants. Over the last 12 months Folkes Worton has made over 20 claims for clients ranging between £13.5k and £150k - they have all been accepted by HMRC.

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