Also in the news this week - 27 January 2017

Levelling the playing field for working mothers

The latest annual report by the Women and Work All Parliamentary Group has called on the Government to give self-employed women the same maternity rights as all working women. At present, the self-employed are only entitled to Maternity Allowance, not Statutory Maternity Pay. There are 1.5 million self-employed women in the UK according to the ONS. Simon McVicker, director of policy at freelance body IPSE, said: "It is vital the Government brings these in line if they want to make Britain a country that works for everyone."

One in four say they've missed tax deadline

Nearly one in four small business owners (24%) admit they have previously failed to submit their online tax returns to HMRC on time, according to research by Informi. And 7% have missed the deadline on more than on occasion. Most late-filing small business owners (69%) did manage to complete their tax return within 31 days of the original deadline. Missing the deadline triggers an automatic £100 fine.

HMRC exposes the most ridiculous expenses claims

Knickers and nights out are just some of the ludicrous business expense claims that HMRC says it has seen on tax returns in the past year. One claim, amounting to thousands of pounds, was for Friday night "bonding sessions" and another taxpayer tried to claim for luxury watches bought as staff gifts - even though the business had no staff. Ruth Owen, HMRC director general of customer services, told the Daily Telegraph: "Why should the honest taxpayer pick up the bill for others? HMRC will only accept those claims which are genuine, such as legitimate travel expenses or the cost of tools for the job."

Do business leaders lack people skills?

Nearly half of HR professionals (44%) believe that senior business leaders don't have the skills needed to get the best from their people, according to the latest HR Outlook survey by the CIPD. Leaders were instead rated as being most effective on technical ability, budgeting and financial management, and operational management. Dr Jill Miller, research adviser at the CIPD, said: "In order to lead people effectively, leaders need to have a variety of skills - but while technical skills are critical in organisations, they do not always go hand-in-hand with people skills."

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