New Legislation Every Business Needs to Know About in 2017

If you are a business owner or an employer, you'll know that with every New Year that rolls around, new legislation comes with it. 2017 is no exception to this, and there is a variety of new rules and laws on the horizon.

Business owners need to be aware of what's about to change, so here's a guide to what you need to know this year.

Living Wages and Minimum Wages

There will be a rise in the National Living Wage from 1st April 2017, as it goes up to £7.50 per hour. Similarly the National Minimum Wage is also set to increase to the same amount for over 25s, and increases to all other age ranges too.

VAT Flat Rate Scheme

Another change coming into fruition on the 1st April regards the VAT Flat Rate Scheme.

HMRC is concerned that some businesses are using the Scheme to pay less VAT than they should, which has caused Chancellor Philip Hammond to introduce the changes. These changes will apply to those businesses operating with a very low cost base, which will now be considered 'limited cost traders'. These traders will still be able to use the scheme, but will be subject to a flat rate of 16.5 per cent.

To clarify, a limited cost trader is one that spends under 2 per cent of its sales on goods (not including services) during an accounting period.

Apprenticeship Levy

Also coming into force on 1st April is the new Apprenticeship Levy. The Levy is set to replace all taxpayer funding of apprenticeships for companies of all sizes. 0.5 per cent of an employer's wage bill will be paid via PAYE. All companies will receive an offset allowance of £15,000 which equates to 0.5 per cent of a £3 million wage bill, and all employers with a payroll over this amount will be subject to paying the levy.

Equal Pay

From 6th April 2017, the Equality 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 will come into play for all private and voluntary sector employers. From this date, any companies with 250-plus employees within the private or voluntary sector will be required to publish prescribed information regarding their gender pay gap. Each qualifying company will need to publicly display this information on their website by 4th April 2018.

Many legislation changes can, of course, be managed by your local bookkeepers. If you're unsure on any of the changes, it's worth seeking advice from relevant guidance teams to help you navigate your way through the new legislation.

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