Industry specific help and support » Support for Foster Carers » Go to message
Please see below for our full range of support for Foster Carers
Industry specific help and support » Childminders » Go to message
Please see below our full range of support for Childminders
Industry specific help and support » Buying & Selling Online » Go to message
How do you know if you’re trading on an e-marketplace website?

There’s a helpful YouTube video, 'Am I trading or not' , which will provide you with information to help you decide whether you’re trading on an e-marketplace website.

Online businesses are treated in exactly the same way as all other businesses and can be run by self-employed sole traders, partners or limited companies. So, they need to follow the HMRC guidelines for that business structure.

If you’re trading abroad the Department of International Trade’s E-Exporting Programme aims to help UK companies sell their products or services to millions of global consumers and grow their business through online exports.
Industry specific help and support » Manufacturing » Go to message
There's help and guidance on GOV.UK: Manufacturing
Industry specific help and support » Food and Catering » Go to message
As for other businesses, once your turnover exceeds £83,000 you need to register for VAT.

What qualifies and the VAT rate you charge depends on the type of goods or services you provide.

Food and drink for human consumption is usually zero-rated but some items are standard-rated, including alcoholic drinks, confectionery,
crisps and savoury snacks, hot food, sports drinks, hot takeaways, ice cream, soft drinks and mineral water.

You can find more about the VAT treatment of food and drink in VAT Notice 701/14

Industry specific help and support » Farming » Go to message
Most of the rules for Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, VAT and other taxes and duties are exactly the same for the agricultural sector as for any other type of business.

But there are some special rules to deal with situations that may not occur elsewhere.

For example, providing certain conditions are met, self-employed farmers can work out their profits for tax purposes as the average of a number of years' figures. This helps even out fluctuating results. The Your Agriculture Business e-learning explains more.
Moderation Policy (House Rules) » HMRC Moderation Policy » Go to message
This online discussion allows you to post comments that will remain viewable on this website. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) therefore operates a moderation policy to ensure that comments are appropriate and not harmful to others. The site, and the comments posted, are regularly moderated by HMRC staff. HMRC reserves the right to remove any posts that contravene this moderation policy.
When posting comments, please observe our participation ‘house rules’:

1. be respectful of others who use the site
2. stay on topic - your contribution should be based around the question or questions posed within each challenge
3. do not use this site to raise queries or make comments about your specific tax situation. (Please use the other existing communication routes to discuss these types of issues with HMRC)
4. do not submit any comments that are unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually orientated or racially offensive. This includes comments that are offensive to others with regards to religion, gender, nationality or other personal characteristic.
5. do not break the law (this includes libel, condoning illegal activity, contempt of court or posting comments which contain someone else’s copyright material)
6. do not use comments for party political purposes
7. do not post personal information in comments such as addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other online contact details, which may identify you or other individuals
8. do not impersonate or falsely claim to represent a person or an organisation
9. do not make any commercial endorsement or promotion of any product, service or publication not relevant to the discussion
10. do not post comments designed to cause nuisance to the administrator or other users along with these guidelines
11. do not spam or flood the forum. Only submit a comment once. Do not resubmit the same, or similar, comments. Keep the number of comments you submit on a topic at a reasonable level. Multiple comments from the same individual, or a small number of individuals, may discourage others from contributing.
12. HMRC is aware that there is a private messaging facility through which participants on this Forum may make direct contact with one another. This will not be routinely monitored by HMRC. Should HMRC become aware that any posts on the private messaging facility breaches the terms of these house rules, then HMRC will act immediately to remove the offending post.

We encourage open, lively debate but comments that violate any of the above rules will be removed.

We will not edit any of your comments.

We value your time and input, and our desire is to remove as few posts as possible while ensuring that a focused, constructive discussion takes place.

This moderation policy is subject to change to address additional matters as may be warranted.

If you have a complaint about an item of user-generated content on this site, or feel that your own content was removed in error, please contact us.

Participation by HMRC staff

HMRC staff will, where appropriate, contribute to the online discussion. However, please be aware that:

- we are bound by the Civil Service Code, and cannot engage on issues of party politics
- we cannot comment on the likely policy outcome of any consultation
- we are bound by HMRC’s rules on customer confidentiality and so cannot answer customer-specific questions on this site
Therefore, we may not be able to respond to every comment, even if a direct questions is asked.

However, we will generally participate in discussions in order to:
- answer any direct questions, subject to the restrictions above
- correct any factual inaccuracies, or provide some detail that may aid the discussion
- keep the discussion on topic
- explain any policy details that users are unsure of

This input is to ensure the smooth and efficient working of the forum and should not be read as a formal government response to any consultation.

Freedom of Information
The Information you provide to the online forum will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which allows public access to information held by HMRC. This does not necessarily mean that information about you in addition to what is published on the forum will be made available to the public as there are exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and the Data Protection Act 1998 will also apply to protect information supplied.
Terms and Conditions » Terms and conditions » Go to message
Terms of Use

When signing up to use the Forum, users must agree to the following Terms of Use of the online Forum.

Responsibility for Contributions.

If you place comments or posts, share material, post links on the Forum, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available by means of the Forum (any such material, "Content"), you are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content. That is the case regardless of whether the Content in question constitutes text, graphics, an audio file, or computer software.

By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:

1. the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;
2. if your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, including but not limited to any software, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content;
3. you have fully complied with any third-party licenses relating to the Content, and have done all things necessary to successfully pass through any required terms to anyone else who accesses the Content;
4. the Content does not contain or install any viruses, worms, malware, Trojan horses or other harmful or destructive content;
5. the Content is not spam, is not machine - or randomly-generated, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);
6. the Content is not pornographic, libellous or defamatory, does not contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party;

By submitting Content to the Forum you agree that:

1. HMRC or the operator of the Forum software K-Com can use that Content on the Forum, and may also amend that Content.
2. this Content may be used by Government for purposes including but not limited to publication of consultations.
3. If you delete Content, we will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Forum, but you acknowledge that references to the Content or the Content itself may not be made immediately unavailable.

Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, we have the right (though not the obligation) to, in our sole discretion
(i) refuse or remove any Content that, in our reasonable opinion, breaches our moderation policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or
(ii) (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Forum to any individual or entity for any reason, in our sole discretion

Responsibility of Forum Users.

We have not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the material posted to the Forum, and cannot therefore be responsible for that material's content, use or effects. By operating the Forum, we do not represent or imply that we endorse the material there posted, or that we believe such material to be accurate, useful or non-harmful. You are responsible for taking precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your computer systems from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other harmful or destructive content. Despite our efforts, the Forum may contain content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable, as well as content containing technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, and other errors. The Forum may also contain material that violates the privacy or publicity rights, or infringes the intellectual property and other proprietary rights, of third parties, or the downloading, copying or use of which is subject to additional terms and conditions, stated or unstated. We and K-Com disclaim any responsibility for any harm resulting from the use by visitors to the Forum, or from any downloading by those visitors of Content there posted.

Content Posted on Other Websites.
We have not reviewed, and cannot review, all of the material, including computer software, made available through the websites and webpages to which the Forum links, and that link to the Forum. We do not have any control over those third party websites and webpages, and we are not responsible for their contents or their use. By linking to a third party website or webpage, we do not represent or imply that we endorse such website or webpage. You are responsible for taking precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your computer systems from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other harmful or destructive content. We disclaim any responsibility for any harm resulting from your use of third party websites and webpages.

Intellectual Property.
If you believe that material located on or linked to by the Forum breaches your or a third party's copyright, you are encouraged to notify us. We will respond to all such notices, including as required or appropriate by removing the infringing material or disabling all links to the infringing material. In the case of a visitor who may infringe or repeatedly infringes the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of ours or others, we may, in our sole discretion, terminate or deny access to and use of the Forum.

These Terms of Use do not transfer to you any intellectual property rights in the Forum, and all rights, title and interest in and to such property which is vested in HMRC or K-Com will remain vested in HMRC or K-Com. Other intellectual property such as trademarks, graphics and logos used in the Forum may be the intellectual property of other third parties. In making contributions to the Forum you agree that HMRC will have the right to reproduce your comments and may or may not acknowledge their source.

We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace any part of these Terms of Use. It is your responsibility to check them periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to the Forum following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use constitutes acceptance of those changes. We may also, in the future, offer new services and/or features through the Forum (including, the release of new tools and resources). Such new features and/or services shall be subject to these Terms of Use.


We may terminate your access to all or any part of the Forum at any time, for any reason, with or without notice, effective immediately.

Disclaimer of Warranties
The Forum is provided "as is". HMRC, K-Com and its suppliers hereby excludes all warranties of any kind, express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of merchantability, satisfactory quality, and fitness for a particular purpose. Neither HMRC, K-Com nor its suppliers makes any warranty that the Forum will be error free or that access thereto will be continuous or uninterrupted.

General Representation and Warranty.
You represent and warrant that your use of the Forum will:
(i) be in strict accordance with the Moderation Policy, these Terms of Use and with all applicable laws and regulations
(ii) (ii) not infringe or misappropriate the intellectual property rights of any third party.

These Terms of Use and the Moderation Policy constitute the entire agreement between HMRC and you concerning the use of the Forum.

Governing Law.
Any disputes in connection with the Forum will be governed by the laws of England and Wales.

General Terms
Protecting your information

We strongly recommend that you do not discuss the details of your financial affairs on this forum, or give out your personal financial details.

We have a duty to protect taxpayer confidentiality and so do not discuss the tax affairs of individual taxpayers over social media avenues. This means we will use this forum to answer general, but not personal, queries.

We cannot accept messages through this forum as notification in respect of your tax affairs. Please see Contact Us for help (

HMRC does not send notifications of tax rebates via social media or by email, and will not ask you to disclose personal or payment information via social media or by email. If you receive such a message, do not respond - it is not from HMRC and may be malicious.

If you see an electronic message claiming to be from HMRC that you suspect may be fraudulent, please forward it by email to Find more advice about online security from HMRC (

If you engage with HMRC via social media – for example by asking us a question or making a comment on this forum, we may need to process your posting and the information it contains in order to respond.

See HMRC’s Privacy Policy for more about how HMRC uses information (

Information provided by HMRC

Our engagement may include supplying information or answering questions. This engagement is intended as an informal channel which complements our formal communications. It does not overwrite HMRC’s existing channels of communication or channels of accountability such as Parliament and Freedom of Information.

When we post detailed information, we will typically provide links to copies of the relevant material online. This is to provide assurance to readers that the material is genuine and comes from HMRC.

Information on this forum, including information provided by HMRC, may be incorrect, out of context, out of date, or may not apply in all circumstances. Always check the official HMRC guidance.

Information provided by HMRC via this forum is provided ‘as is’ and on the same basis as material on the HMRC website or GOV.UK. See our Terms and Conditions (

Social media sites may occasionally become unavailable. HMRC cannot accept responsibility for lack of service due to downtime.
Buying and selling abroad » What do I need to do if I want to import goods or services for my business or sell goods and service » Go to message
Some people think that importing and exporting applies to anything that comes in or goes out of the UK. That’s not the case.
An import is when you bring in goods from a country outside the European Union.
An export is when you sell goods to a country outside the European Union.

There are very different rules to follow and forms to complete when you are trading with non-EU countries as opposed to EU Member States.
If you are trading with EU countries you’ll find that most goods can move freely with no additional customs duties.

If you’re importing or exporting, you or your customers may need to pay duties or VAT.

Find help and support on VAT by following this link

VAT on the supply of services when trading with other countries
If you’re supplying digital services VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) is a scheme to help you declare the VAT due on sales of digital services to consumers in other EU Member States.
It lets you submit a single return and payment to HMRC covering all your supplies a digital services to consumers across the EU. HMRC then forwards the relevant parts of your return and payment to the tax authorities in the Member State(s) where your consumers are located.
It means you don’t have to register for VAT in every EU Member State where you make digital service supplies to consumers.
Find out more on this YouTube video.
There are other non-tax regulations you need to be aware of if you’re importing and exporting. More information here on GOV.UK (

Tax incentives to help growth » Are there specific tax incentives to help me grow? » Go to message
Research and Development tax relief for limited companies.
Investing in research and development can help to develop new innovations and products which will lead to business growth.
Research and Development tax relief is a Corporation Tax relief that may reduce your company’s tax bill. It can also provide a cash payment for companies that don’t pay Corporation Tax because they make a loss.

To qualify for R&D tax relief you need to be able to show:
What’s the scientific or technological advance that is being sought?
What are the scientific or technological uncertainties involved?
Why is this knowledge not readily deducible by a competent professional in this subject?
Also, by the end of the project you should hold evidence showing how and when these uncertainties were actually overcome.
You can find more information about showing your company qualifies in the Corporate Intangibles Research and Development Manual (

There are 2 different schemes. The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Scheme and the Research and Development Expenditure Credit. The SME Scheme is the one that applies to most companies ( If this is not for you, find out if you qualify for the large company scheme, Expenditure Credit at GOV.UK (

Research and Development Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Scheme
The SME Scheme is for companies with under 500 employees, who have an annual turnover of under 100 million Euros and have a balance sheet under 86 million Euros. Or, the company is part of a larger enterprise that when taken as a whole would not fail these tests.
There are 2 things needed for a successful claim, a qualifying project and qualifying costs.

Raising finance: Tax reliefs for your investors.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies. SEIS is intended to recognise the particular difficulties which very early stage companies face in attracting investment, by offering tax relief at a higher rate (
Income Tax relief is available to individuals who subscribe for qualifying shares in a company which meets the SEIS requirements, and who have UK tax liability against which to set the relief. Investors don’t need to be UK resident.
The shares must be held for a period of 3 years, from date of issue, for relief to be retained. If they are disposed of within that 3 year period, or if any of the qualifying conditions cease to be met during that period, relief will be withdrawn or reduced.
Relief is available at 50% of the cost of the shares, on a maximum annual investment of £100,000. The relief is given by way of a reduction of tax liability, providing there is sufficient tax liability against which to set it. A claim to relief can be made up to 5 years after the 31 January following the tax year in which the investment was made.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in those companies. There’s more detailed guidance in the Venture Capital Schemes Manual (VCM)

Employee share incentives
Some companies use employee share incentives to engage, recruit and retain their workforce, which can help a company grow. If you offer your employees company shares, they could get tax advantages, like not paying Income Tax or National Insurance on their value.
Tax advantages only apply if the shares are offered through the following schemes:
• Share Incentive Plans
• Save As You Earn (SAYE)
• Company Share Option Plans
• Enterprise Management Incentives (EMIs)
There are also tax advantages if you’re an employee shareholder.

Employment Allowance
You could get up to £3,000 a year off your National Insurance bill if you’re an employer. Eligible businesses can now reduce their employer Class 1 National Insurance bill by £3,000 every year by claiming Employment Allowance. You can check if you qualify on the GOV.UK website (
If you claimed the Employment Allowance for 2015-16 it automatically applies for future years, until you tell us otherwise.
From April 2016 incorporated companies where the sole paid employee is the director will now be excluded from receiving the Employment Allowance.

What to consider if you take on employees » What do I need to do when taking on employees » Go to message
There are 7 things you need to do when you take on employees to help you in your business. has guidance about employing staff for the first time

If you’re paying yourself as a director of a limited company and/or paying other employees, you’ll need to register for a PAYE scheme with HMRC

All employers will have to provide workers with a workplace pension scheme by law over the next few years, by 2018. This is called 'automatic enrolment',

When your business must start doing this - called a 'staging date' - depends on how many people you have on your payroll. If you don't already offer your workers a workplace pension scheme, you must set one up before your staging date. Use The Pensions Regulator’s Duties Checker to find out what you need to do and when you need to do it (

Statutory payments
At some point, there's a good chance that one of your employees will not turn up for work because they are sick. If this happens, you may still have to pay them something, even though they are not at work.
This is known as 'Statutory Sick Pay' or SSP.

There are other types of statutory payments that you may need to make to your employees should they meet certain criteria. For example, if your employee tells you she is going to have a baby you will need to consider paying Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

Partners may also be entitled to receive Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) or Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if they’ve had a baby or adopted a child.

There is also Statutory Adoption Pay for those employees who adopt a child.

Paying expenses and providing benefits to employees
Something else you need to be aware of is the payment of expenses and the provision of benefits to your employees or yourself as a director.

Expenses are payments made to employees to cover business costs that they have met or will meet. Examples include the reimbursement of travel costs that an employee has paid for with their own money when out visiting a customer, and also business mileage payments for any business travel an employee has done using their own private vehicle.

Benefits, sometimes referred to as 'benefits in kind' are, generally speaking, anything you provide to your employee that is not pay or expenses. Common examples include health insurance and the use of a company car.

As an employer, you may have to report details of any expenses and benefits to HMRC and pay tax and National Insurance contributions on them.

Find more help and support when employing staff on the following link
Start up Finance and the tax implications » Start up finance and tax implications » Go to message
Whether you’re self-employed or setting up a limited company, loans and mentoring are available for people looking to start or grow a business in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can find out more on the Start-up loans website
Start-up loans can affect your tax situation, checkout the information on GOV.UK There’s also guidance on the tax implications of other grants and subsidies you might receive.

The most suitable finance option for your business depends on many things, including:
• how much funding you need
• your current business revenue or if you’re a new business
• whether or not you’re willing to offer personal assets as security – this can make it easier to get funding but is risky if you’re not able to maintain payments
• whether or not you own a business property – this can make it easier to get funding
• whether or not you’re willing to sell shares

The business finance and support finder has a list of public funding (eg government schemes) available in the UK
If you’re looking for funding, you can look for either:
• private finance providers (eg banks)
• public funding (eg government schemes)
Record Keeping » Record Keeping » Go to message
You need to keep records if you have to send HMRC tax returns or reports. The type of records you need to keep depend on the returns and reports you need to send to HMRC.

• If you’re self-employed, you must keep records for business income and outgoings. The Self-employed business expenses e-learning explains more

• If you’re a director of a limited company, you’ll have company returns and employer returns. There are employer webinars on the records you need to keep for employee returns and expenses and benefits

You’ll need your records to fill in your tax returns and reports correctly. If HMRC checks your tax return, they may ask for the documents.

If your business is registered for VAT there are further recording requirements. Find out what you need to do in the ‘VAT – how VAT works’ e-learning
How to register and pay for your taxes » VAT » Go to message
Any type of business might need to register for VAT. Register for VAT using this link

You must register for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your business’ VAT taxable turnover is more than £83,000.
When you register, you’ll be sent a VAT registration certificate. This confirms:
• your VAT number
• when to submit your first VAT Return and payment
• your ‘effective date of registration’ - this is the date you went over the threshold, or the date you asked to register if it was voluntary

You can register voluntarily if your turnover is less than £83,000, unless everything you sell is exempt from VAT. You’ll have certain responsibilities if you register for VAT.

Once you register for VAT you must charge VAT on your goods or services and you may reclaim any VAT you’ve paid on business-related goods or services.

If you’re a VAT-registered business you must report to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the amount of VAT you’ve charged and the amount of VAT you’ve paid. This is done through your VAT Return which is usually due every 3 months.

There are 3 different rates of VAT and you must make sure you charge the right amount, check this link

Find more VAT help and support on this link

How to register and pay for your taxes » Corporation Tax » Go to message
If you’re trading as a limited company, you’ll need to register the company for Corporation Tax.

Corporation Tax is the tax paid by companies on the taxable profits they make.

There are different rules for working out the profits in company accounts and the profits for Corporation Tax. The profits shown in company accounts aren’t always the same as the profits in the Company Tax Return.

Companies have to send HMRC a Company Tax Return online and pay any Corporation Tax due electronically.

As a director of the company you’ll be treated as an employee for PAYE purposes. Find out more by signing up for help and education through