Current Government Consultations

Among the government’s latest project consultations are two that will have a direct effect on small businesses which are soon due to close. One is about the regulations surrounding business names, which will affect all business organisations, large and small. The other is relevant to microbusinesses with up to ten employees, and is about the proposals to simplify their reporting requirements. Both come up in the context of The Red Tape Challenge which is now looking at the rules that affect business and commerce.

Business Names

Under current regulations, businesses must comply with certain rules about business names. The government has learnt that these are causing problems for established companies that want to change their names, as well as start-ups. The first question on the consultation asks if you think that all regulations should be repealed, or should be reduced and simplified. If they were repealed, names would be registered more quickly. Action would still be taken if a reasonable complaint was made about a registered name.

In case it is decided to retain some regulation, the second question is whether the list of sensitive words should be reduced and, if so, which ones should go. This list is made up of words which have to be considered by a relevant organisation, such as the Financial Services Authority, The Charities Commission, The Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, before they can be incorporated in a business name.

The third and final question asks the same for the list of ‘same as’ words. These are words which can appear in a number of names and cannot be complained about.

This consultation can be found at:

Reporting requirements for Microbusinesses

To be classed as a microbusiness, you must match two out of three set criteria: your balance sheet total is not more than £289,415; your net turnover does not exceed £578,830; and you employ up to 10 people. You may want to discuss with your outsourced bookkeepers whether you fall within the category.

The questions in this consultation are, firstly, whether you think the government should implement all parts of the EU’s Micro-Exemption, and if so, which ones and why. Secondly, what costs or savings would apply. A further nine questions go into various technical details of the proposals.

This consultation can be found at:

If you are a micro entity, these possible changes could have a significant effect on your costs and workloads, so it’s worth sitting down with your bookkeepers and talking through the points whether or not you intend to submit responses. But if you would like to respond to either consultation, you have to do it before 22 March, 2013.

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