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We've scoured the web to get you the most up-to-date advice which includes the most useful tools on offer from the officials themselves.

Effective tax planning is essential if you are to minimise your tax bills. Simple tax planning can significantly reduce your tax liabilities.

The self-assessment tax return is an unavoidable burden if you are liable for self-employed tax or have complicated income tax affairs.

Corporation tax is charged on a company's profits. If you trade as a limited company, ensure that paying this tax is as painless as possible.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are payable whether you are self-employed or employed by your own company, although different rates apply.

As well as your legal obligations, you’ll want to ensure that payroll is painless and that you use any opportunities to improve your tax-efficiency.

VAT

Effective VAT planning aims to ensure that VAT is relatively painless, and that you are reclaiming as much as possible of the VAT you pay.

Capital gains are made when you sell something for more money than you paid for it. As a result, you can be subject to tax. Take professional advice.

Business property taxes apply to businesses with commercial premises.There are two commercial property taxes: business rates and stamp duty land tax.

If you have tax problems or face a tax investigation, it pays to seek professional advice and you must act rather than just hoping for the best.

Mixed fortunes for UK high streets in 2019

5 November 2019

High street shoppingA new study has identified the UK cities whose high streets are growing the fastest and those that are declining the most.

The analysis, conducted by Asktraders, looked at ATMs, bank branches, retail store closures and ONS retail growth data over the course of 2019. The findings show that across the UK, over 1,200 high street stores have closed during the first half of 2019 with over 5,000 in the past 12 months in the UK.

Bucking the trend, Peterborough in Cambridgeshire has the UK's most thriving high street, with 1% retail growth and 30 new ATMs opening over the past 12 months. Since 2015, only 11% of bank branches in the town have closed down.

In contrast, the worst performing high street is Poole in Dorset, with -4% retail growth and where there have been two bank branch closures and an estimated 48 stores closing in the past two years.

The top ten best performing high streets are: Peterborough, Huddersfield, Coventry, Hull, Slough, London, Northampton, Luton, Basildon and Milton Keynes. The worst performers are: Poole, Blackpool, Warrington, Manchester, Swindon, Edinburgh, York, Stockport, Burnley and Sheffield.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Over 6,000 ATMs have closed between January 2018 and August 2019, representing 300 per month and a reduction of 12%;
  • Over 1,100 bank branches have closed in the UK since 2018; RBS, NatWest and Barclays are amongst the worst hit.

"The UK high street has been weathering tough trading conditions with many UK retailers dropping by the wayside," said Steve Miley, senior market analyst at AskTraders. "Traditional retail store closures are on the up as businesses grapple with a weak consumer in the face of Brexit uncertainty, the unabated rise of ecommerce, higher costs and changing tastes."

There are going to be winners and losers, he added. "High street retailers with inflexible business models that have failed to adapt to their changing environment are and will be the most noticeable casualties. Big names have just vanished from our high street and there will certainly be more to come.

"The challenges that the high street is facing aren't going anywhere fast. This will be a case of the survival of the fittest. Those retailers that can evolve whilst still giving their customers exactly what they want could have a lot to gain."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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