The Government guide to business regulations and red tape

No matter what your business does, the many different things you need to keep on top of can be overwhelming. That’s why the government keeps all the information you need to run your business in one handy place.

This online tool is packed full of information and while it won’t all be of relevance to every business, every business will find something of relevance.

Business debt and Insolvency

Includes information on liquidating your company, claiming money from a dissolved company, making a court claim, county court judgements, complaints about claims companies, recovering debt from elsewhere in the EU and restoring a dissolved company.

Business tax

Includes information on accounting periods, tax returns, charging VAT, reclaiming VAT, Corporation Tax, tax compliance checks, appealing to tax tribunals, telling HMRC about changes to your business and capital allowances.

Expenses and employee benefits

Includes an A-to-Z of expenses and benefits, how to calculate tax on employees’ cars, PAYE settlement agreements, getting dispensation for reporting non-taxable expenses and benefits, loans provided to employees.

Farming businesses

With information on agricultural skills and training, sick pay and workers’ rights including holiday entitlement, planning permission for farms, registering farm vehicles, registering as a biomass supplier, keeping farm animals, rural grants and health and safety when using farm vehicles.

Food, catering and retail

With information on food business registration, food labelling and packaging, labelling and handling food for international transport, food safety, importing and exporting food, signing up for food safety alerts.

Generating energy

Information includes energy efficiency, infrastructure and security, low carbon energy, emissions and emissions trading, environment reporting and regulation and energy exploration and production.

Imports and exports

Includes information on the UK Trade Tariff, classifying imports and exports, duty relief, shipping goods, the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS), export agents for international trade, fraud and international trade and tax and customs for goods sent from abroad.

Marketing, advertising and the law

All marketing and advertising must be an accurate description of the product or service and be legal, truthful and socially responsible (not encouraging illegal, unsafe or anti-social behaviour).

There are also specific requirements that apply to certain sectors, such as food, alcohol, beauty products, environmentally friendly products, medicines, tobacco.

Patents, trademarks, copyright and design

With information on applying for patents and registering trademarks, defending your intellectual property, using somebody else’s intellectual property and whether you need a license to copy a creative work.

Running a limited company

Includes information on company accounts, preparing tax returns, making changes to your company, changing your company’s year end, Director’s loans and audit exemptions.

Sale of good and services and data protection

With information on accepting returns and giving refunds, avoiding unfair terms in sales contracts, finding your local Trading Standards office, offering credit to consumers, responding to a data protection request, tendering for public sector contracts, trading hours for retailers.

Scientific research and development

Includes information on how to submit proposals, funding for development research, research and testing using animals and schemes to help your business innovate and grow.

Selling or closing down your business

With information on your responsibilities when selling your business, Capital Gains Tax, Company Voluntary Arrangements, Entrepreneurs’ Relief, mergers, putting your company into liquidation and striking your company off of the Companies Register.

Waste and environmental impact

With information on business and commercial waste, environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses, fuel consumption and emissions for vans, getting your air conditioning system inspected, packaging waste and preventing air pollution.