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Startup Guides Published: 
Feb 16, 2022
Updated: Jan 20, 2023
15 min read
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Small business calendar 2023 – the deadlines and changes to UK law that founders need to know

Here’s our guide to the finance and tax dates and deadlines in 2023 that should be on your radar. We’ve also included some changes to the UK law which might affect your business. On a more jolly note, there’s an extra bank holiday this year – but are your staff entitled to take it as a day off? Find out below.

Contents

💷 Accounting, finance and tax deadlines

⚖️ Changes to legislation to look out for in 2023

Check your legal deadlines on SeedLegals

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💶 Accounting and tax deadlines

VAT deadlines which are the same every year

Normal VAT deadlines vary: they depend on your company’s VAT return period and whether you submit quarterly, monthly or annual returns. Quarterly VAT returns are typically filed and due one calendar month and seven days after the end of an accounting period.

For example, if your business submits quarterly in March, June, September and December, the dates you need to file and pay will be 7 May, 7 August, 7 October and 7 February for your VAT returns and payments. And for annual adjustments, these will be due on either the March or June returns – so that’s 7 May or 7 August.

Not sure if you need to register for VAT?

In the Autumn Statement last October, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the VAT threshold would be frozen at £85,000. As prices have risen rapidly, if you’re currently below this tax threshold, you might find you go over it in 2023.

You can usually register for VAT at any time and some companies choose to sign up even if they’re not required to. In some circumstances, there’s a deadline to register:

  • You realise you’re going to exceed the VAT threshold of £85,000 in the next 30 days
    If this happens, you must register within 30 days. Your ‘effective date of registration’ is the date you realised, not the date you actually register.
  • You exceeded the £85,000 threshold in the past 12 months and aren’t already registered
    You must register within 30 days of the end of the month in which you passed the VAT threshold.

To register, go to the HMRC webpage.

One-off VAT deadlines for 2023

In 2023, there are a couple of extra VAT deadlines to be aware of:

1 January 2023
VAT returns for periods starting on or after 1 January 2023  come under the new penalty rules for late returns and/or payments.

31 March 2023
This is the date the CHIEF & NES (National Exports System) ends for UK export declarations. Instead, you’ll need to make declarations via the Customs Declaration Service. (CHIEF ended for import declarations on 30 September 2022.)

31 December 2023
The Trader Support Service (TSS) ends. The TSS was set up as a post-Brexit service to raise declarations for you when you move goods between mainland UK and Northern Ireland.

National Minimum Wage goes up from 1 April 2023

On 1 April 2023, the National Minimum Wage hourly rates go up:

  • National Living Wage (age 23 and over) – from £9.50 to £10.42
  • National Minimum Wage (age 21 to 22) – from £9.18 to £10.18
  • National Minimum Wage (age 18 to 20) – from £6.83 to £7.49
  • National Minimum Wage (under 18) – from £4.81 to £5.28
  • The Apprenticeship Wage – from £4.81 to £5.28

Statutory rate payments go up from April 2023

From April 2023, these statutory weekly rate increases apply:

To be entitled to these payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit. The lower earnings limit isn’t going up – it remains at £123.

 

PAYE deadlines for staff on your payroll

If you have workers on your company payroll, there are some important PAYE deadlines to remember. As an employer, you’re responsible for withholding Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from your employees’ pay, and passing this on to HMRC.

Complete payroll registration by 6 April 2023

6 April is the date to remember for registering for payroll benefits and updating employees’ records. For each employee working for you on 6 April, you must:

  • Prepare a payroll record
  • Identify the correct tax code for the new tax year
  • Enter their tax code in your payroll software.

You can find out more about payroll annual reporting at the gov.uk website.

Send HMRC your summaries monthly or quarterly

Send your Full Payment Summary to HMRC on or before your employees’ payday. If you’re sending an Employer Payment Summary, this needs to be submitted to HMRC by the 19th of the following tax month. (If you haven’t paid any employees in a tax month, then you’ll send an EPS instead of a FPS.)

Pay your PAYE bill monthly or quarterly

You’ll need to make your PAYE payments online on the 22nd of the next tax month if you pay monthly, and if you pay quarterly, by the 22nd of the month after the quarter ends – for example, for the April to July quarter, the deadline is 22 July. If you’re late paying, you might have to pay interest and a penalty.

Send employees their P60s by 31 May 2023

After the end of the tax year (5 April), you must issue P60 forms to each employee by 31 May. And whenever an employee leaves, you’ll need to give them their P45.

Send HMRC P11D forms by 6 July 2023

If you give your employees benefits such as childcare vouchers, interest-free loans or a company car, you’ll need to send HMRC P11D forms. They’re due every year by 6 July.

 

Extra bank holiday on 8 May 2023 for the coronation

As usual, there’s the early May bank holiday on the first Monday in May (1 May) and the spring bank holiday on the final Monday (29 May).

This year, there’s an extra bank holiday on 8 May to mark the coronation of King Charles III. (The actual coronation takes place on Saturday 6 May.)  Phew, three bank holidays in one month! 👑🎉🍰

Are employees automatically entitled to take the extra 2023 bank holiday as paid leave?

It depends how your employee’s contract of employment is worded.

If the contract states that they have paid leave on all bank and public holidays, then they’re entitled to take the extra bank holiday as paid leave.

If the contract states that they have paid leave on eight bank and public holidays, then they aren’t entitled to the extra day as paid leave. But you can grant it as paid leave if you like.

 

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2023

Having trouble keeping track of what’s going on with NICs? You’re forgiven – it’s been a complicated year. Here’s a quick recap:

  • ↗️ In 2022, there was a temporary 1.25% increase in National Insurance rates to fund health and social care and the government planned to introduce a Health and Social Cary Levy in April 2023
  • ↙️ In the mini Budget last October, the previous Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a reversal on temporary NIC change, and cancelled the new Levy due to start in April 2023
  • 👍 Although new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt cancelled many of the mini Budget changes, these changes to NICs were not cancelled
  • 💷 The government claims that cancelling the Health and Social Care Levy will save around 30 million workers an average of £480 in the 2023 to 2024 tax year (Autumn Statement PDF, p17)

In summary, for the rest of this tax year (that is, until 5 April 2023), you and your staff are paying the same rates of NICs you’ve been paying since November 2022.

Here’s what’s happening to NICs from April 2023:

  1. Rates going up in April 2023
    – The Class 2 rate will be £3.45 per week (up from £3.15)
    – The Class 3 (voluntary) rate will be £17.45 per week (up from £15.85)
  2. Frozen until April 2023
    – Class 1 NIC primary threshold (£12,570)
    – Class 2 NIC lower profits limit (£12,570)
    – Upper earnings limit (£50,270)
    – Class 4 NIC upper profits limit (£50,270)
  3. Fixed from April 2023 to April 2028
    Secondary threshold – the level you start to pay Class 1 Secondary NICs for your employees will change to £9,100 from 6 April 2023 and stay at that level until April 2028.
  4. Unchanged for the 2023 to 2024 tax year
    – Lower earnings limit (£6,396)
    – Small profits threshold (£6,725)

For full details, head to the gov.uk website.

 

Corporation tax deadlines in 2023

Limited companies pay Corporation Tax on the profits they make each year. You need to register for Corporation Tax when you start trading, or within three months of starting your limited company. The date you register will determine your company’s ‘accounting period’ and your deadlines for paying Corporation Tax and filing your company tax return.

  • Deadline to file your company tax return
    You must submit your company tax return within 12 months of the end of the accounting period it covers. Even if you have nothing to pay, you still need to report it.
  • Deadline to pay Corporation Tax
    Usually you’ll need to pay your CT bill within nine months and one day after the end of your accounting period.

There are penalties if you’re late filing or late paying Corporation Tax.

For all the details about Corporation Tax, visit the gov.uk website.

 

⚖️ Changes to legislation to look out for in 2023

Raise up to £250,000 with SEIS

In September 2022, the UK government proposed updates to the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to take effect from April 2023.

If you’re raising with SEIS, these changes – when they’ve approved by parliament and become law – will be a game-changer.

Read more about the proposed changes in our post: Big changes to SEIS for 2023

R&D tax relief: rates and cost categories change from April 2023

From April 2023, the tax relief rates for both the SME and RDEC schemes will change, and there are changes to the qualifying costs categories.

For more details, read our blog post.

Reporting threshold increased to 500 employees

On 3 October 2022, the government increased the small business threshold for future reporting requirements and other regulations from 50 employees to 500. This means around 40,000 more companies are now categorised as ‘small businesses’ – and for those companies, it’ll mean money and time saved on reporting admin.

The changed threshold applied from 3 October 2022 to all new regulations under development and those under current and future review, including retained EU laws. These are not blanket exemptions and they can be overridden in specific regulations if there’s a justifiable reason for doing so.

Ban on exclusivity clauses extended to low income workers

Since May 2015, it’s been illegal to put exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. On 5 December 2022, this ban on exclusivity clauses was extended to low income workers – people whose average weekly pay is under the Lower Earnings Limit (currently £123 per week) – in England, Scotland and Wales.

What is an exclusivity clause?
It’s a term in an employment contract which restricts the worker from taking on work with other employers.

People on a zero hours contract or employees earning less than the Lower Earnings Limit are allowed to work for more than one employer – they don’t have to ask your permission, and they must not be unfairly dismissed or discriminated against if they choose to work for other businesses.

Under the updated regulations, it’s automatically unlawful to dismiss an employee if the main reason for the dismissal is that the employee breached an exclusivity term, and there’s no qualifying period of employment the worker must complete before they’re allowed to make this claim.

You can view the updated legislation at the gov.uk website.

Good to know: When you create a zero hours contract on SeedLegals, it doesn't contain an exclusivity clause.
If you use a template from elsewhere for a zero hours worker or lower income employee that does contain an exclusivity clause, this is unlawful and can't be enforced.

‘Fire and rehire’ draft code published

Remember when P&O dismissed nearly 800 workers in March 2022 without consultation and replaced them with staff on lower pay? As a response, the government committed to producing a Code of Practice on dismissal and re-hiring, a.k.a ‘fire and rehire’.

The draft code was published on 24 January 2023 – it set out how employers must give details about proposed changes to contracts, how they must consult on changes and how to look at alternatives without threatening the employee with dismissal.

If this draft is issued as a statutory Code of Practice, tribunals will be able to increase an employee’s compensation by up to 25% if the employer hasn’t properly followed the Code of Practice.

There’s an open consultation in progress about this draft, which ends on 18 April 2023. The government hasn’t announced when the code might come into effect.

You can read the draft code and take part in the consultation at the gov.uk website.

While the consultation period is underway, employers considering dismissing and re-hiring employees should follow the relevant Acas guidance.

 

Employees can request flexible working from day one

On 5 December 2022, the government announced an update to legislation about requests for flexible working. These are the proposed changes:

  • staff can make a request from the first day they’re employed
    Currently the law states that an employer doesn’t have to consider a request for flexible working if the employee has worked for the company for less than 26 weeks.
  • employees can make two requests a year
    Currently employees can make only one request a year which their employer is legally obliged to consider.
  • shorten consultation time
    The proposed changes will shorten the time employers have to reply to a request from three to two months.
  • remove requirement for employee to list the likely effects on the business
    Employees requesting flexible working currently have to set out how their proposed change will affect the business and make suggestions on how the employer could deal with the effects. The updated law will remove this obligation.

The government hasn’t yet announced when these changes will become law. You can read the proposed changes and consultation response in full at the gov.uk website.

What is flexible working?
This doesn’t just mean 'hybrid' working where employees work from home and at the office – 'flexible working' can mean all sorts of working arrangements such as going part-time, working flexi-time, sharing the job, working full time hours but over fewer days, or staggered start and finish times. Read more about different types of flexible working at the gov.uk website.

Extra redundancy protection for new parents

Currently, if an employee is on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, their employer can’t make them redundant without first offering them a suitable alternative job – if one exists. The current rules don’t protect employees who aren’t on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, including employees who are pregnant or new parents who have recently returned from leave.

The Government has backed a new Bill which will extend this obligation so it applies to pregnant women as well as new parents returning to work from a relevant form of leave. Under the proposed rules, expectant mothers and new parents get the same protection for a longer period: the window where the employer must offer a suitable alternative job to the employee before making them redundant will expand to start when the employee tells their employer they’re pregnant until 18 months after the birth. This means that mothers returning from a year of maternity leave have additional redundancy protection for six months after returning to work.

The 18-month window of protection after the birth will also apply for employees on shared parental leave and adoption leave.

You can read the Bill at the parliament.uk website. There’s no date set yet for when this will become law.

New paid leave for neo-natal care

The Government announced backing for a new Bill to allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave at a statutory rate if their child is receiving neo-natal care. There’s no qualifying period for the employee so paid leave will be available to employees from the first day they’re employed.

This leave will be in addition to other entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave.

You can read the Bill at the parliament.uk website. There’s no date set yet for when this will become law.

 

New unpaid leave for carers

The Government announced backing for a new Bill to introduce a new and flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who need to provide or arrange care for a dependant who needs long-term care.

This leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day working for the employer.

You can read the Bill at the parliament.uk website. There’s no date set yet for when this will become law.

 

Hospitality staff to keep their tips

In July 2022, the government announced backing for the Tipping Bill which will require employers to pay all tips, gratuities and service charges to workers in full without deductions, and by the end of the month after the month in which the customer paid the tip, gratuity or service charge.

The Bill also brings in legal obligations to make sure tips are distributed fairly among workers.

You can read the Bill at the parliament website. There’s no date set yet for when this will become law.

New scale-up visa for skilled workers

In August 2022, the government announced a new visa for UK scale-ups to sponsor employees from outside the UK to support the company’s growth.

Unlike other sponsored visas, the scale-up visa allows you to employ highly skilled people who will have two years to remain in the UK without needing further sponsorship or permission after the first six months.

The scale-up visa is available now. Read the criteria and find out how to apply at the gov.uk website.

 

More protection from sexual harassment

There’s government support for a new Bill to simplify and toughen up the laws on harassment at work. First, the background:

  1. Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment is unlawful. Employers can be liable for harassment suffered by employees – but employers aren’t under any obligation to proactively prevent harassment.
  2. In 2013, sections of the Act were repealed which means that currently employers aren’t liable if their employees are harassed at work by third parties (for example, customers, suppliers, the public etc).

The new Bill brings in two obligations:

  • to proactively prevent workplace sexual harassment
    If an employee successfully claims sexual harassment at a tribunal and their employer failed to prevent the harassment, the employee’s compensation can be increased by up to 25%
  • to reinstate the liability for third parties
    Employers will be legally obliged to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to prevent sexual harassment of their employees while they’re working, both from people within the organisation and third parties.

The law will be enforced by the equality regulator, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The Bill is currently progressing through Parliament and could become law in 2023.

Read more

 

The Online Safety Bill is nearing full approval

The Online Safety Bill was drawn up by the government in March 2022 to introduce more measures to protect children online and tackle illegal and harmful content. This Bill has been repeatedly changed and delayed as it progresses through Parliament. In January 2023, MPs approved the Bill and it will now go through the House of Lords before becoming law, possibly later in 2023.

The companies the new laws will apply to are:

  • user-generated content platforms
    Services which host content such as images, videos and comments.
  • communication platforms
    Services which allow UK users to talk to other people online through messaging, comments and forums.

As well as the big, well-known social media platforms and search engines, the laws will affect:

  • forums
  • messaging apps
  • some online games
  • pornography sites
  • cloud storage

Importantly, the new laws will allow the regulator to take action against any company no matter where they’re based.

The government says that some user-generated content services will be exempt from the new laws:

  • news websites
  • some retailers
  • some services businesses use internally
  • email services

Read more

 

Data protection law hasn’t changed – yet

The Data Protection Act 2018 that’s in force at the moment is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies in the European Union.

Now, post-Brexit, the UK can amend data protection laws – the proposed changes are set out in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which was presented in Parliament in July 2022. The Bill was paused in autumn last year to allow for the changes in the government leadership but the parliamentary process is expected to continue soon in 2023.

The proposed changes set out in this Bill are designed to clarify the existing laws, make it easier to process data and comply with obligations, and to add new provisions about digital verification and access to data.

You can read the Bill and follow its progress at the parliament.uk website.

 

Restrictions on promoting unhealthy foods

There are new restrictions on promoting foods and drinks high in saturated fat, salt or sugar, (which the government calls ‘HFSS’ or ‘less healthy’ foods):

  • Restrictions on HFSS products by location
    – came into force on 1 October 2022
    Businesses aren’t allowed to feature these HSFF in eye-catching locations, such as at checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and the online equivalents.
  • Restrictions on HFSS products by volume price
    – come into force on 1 October 2023
    Volume price means deals such as ‘buy one get one free’, ‘4 for £10’ and ‘3 for 2’.

The law applies to businesses with 50 or more employees which sell prepacked food in store and/or online to customers in England – regardless of whether the business is registered in England.

Read the guidance at the gov.uk website.

 

New rules on reporting your packaging waste data

If you’re affected by the new extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging, you’ll need to report data about your packaging to the government.

You’ll need to report packaging data if ALL of these apply:

  • you’re an individual business, subsidiary or group, but not a charity
  • you have an annual turnover of £1 million or more, based on your most recent annual accounts
  • you’re responsible for over 25 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year (January to December)
  • you carry out ANY of these packaging activities:
    • supply packaged goods to the UK market under your own brand
    • place goods into packaging that’s unbranded when it’s supplied
    • use ‘transit packaging’ to protect goods during transport so they can be sold to UK consumers
    • import products in packaging
    • own an online marketplace
    • hire or loan out reusable packaging
    • supply empty packaging

If you’re affected by this responsibility, you need to start collecting the data from 1 January 2023.

There are full details about who’s affected, what to collect and how to report your data in the guidance at the gov.uk website.

 

Check your legal task deadlines on SeedLegals

That’s our round-up of important dates, deadlines and changes for 2023. With a little forward planning now, you can get ahead of your financial admin for the year and plan for changes in UK law.

To view deadlines for your legal tasks, for example if you need to grant share options before your EMI Valuation expires or you can’t remember a SeedFAST longstop date, log into SeedLegals and go to Calendar. If you’re not sure about a date or deadline, hit the chat bubble to ask our experts.

 

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Suzanne Worthington

Suzanne Worthington

Sooze is our Senior Writer. She's obsessed with making complicated things easy to understand.
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