Small business checklist: Dates for your diary in 2022

Blogs 14 Mar 2022

Find out the important dates, deadlines and changes to legislation that you need to know as a small business owner, from employment law to tax and VAT.

This content was last updated 14 March 2022.

Save time and get set for the year ahead with our must-read small business checklist for 2022. This guide includes all the deadlines and upcoming changes to legislation that you need to be aware of, including updates to the National Minimum Wage, details of the Employment Bill, the National Insurance increase, payroll deadlines, and more.

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Use the menu below to jump to each section of this guide.

Tax deadlines

Sole traders

As a sole trader, you’ll pay your income tax and National Insurance liabilities in two stages, known as payments on account. These are payments in advance towards your tax bill.

  • 31 January 2022 – balance of any tax for year 2020/21 is due
  • 31 January 2022 - first payment on account of tax for year 2021/22 is due
  • 31 July 2022 – second payment on account of tax for 2021/22 is due
  • 31 January 2023 – balance of any tax for year 2021/22 is due
  • 31 January 2023 - first payment on account of tax for year 2022/23 is due

Don’t forget, you can contact HMRC for Time to Pay or to set up a payment plan if you’re having difficulties. You have to pay interest if you pay late, so do this as soon as possible.


You must file your 2021-22 Self-Assessment Tax Return before:

  • 31 October 2022 following the end of the tax year for a paper return.
  • 31 January 2023 following the end of the tax year for an online return.

New to self-employment?

You must notify HMRC of the potential chargeability to tax & National Insurance Contributions by 5 October following the end of the tax year in which your business started. So, the deadline for the 2021-22 tax year is 5 October 2022.

New partner?

If a new partner has joined you in the 2021/22 tax year, you should notify HMRC by 5 October 2022.

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Key dates for UK VAT

31 March 2022: All VAT that was deferred in the period to June 2020 (under Covid reliefs; originally deferred to March 2021) must be paid in full.

1 April 2022: The temporary reduced rate of 12.5% for certain hospitality and attractions supplies (under Covid reliefs) will cease, making such supplies subject to standard-rate (20%) VAT again.

1 April 2022: UK VAT returns for periods starting on or after this date must be Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant for all UK VAT registered businesses.

1 January 2023: UK VAT returns for periods starting on or after this date fall under the new penalty regime for late returns and/or payments.

Routine deadlines will vary depending on your VAT return period and whether you do quarterly, monthly or annual returns.

For example, if your business is on calendar quarters March/June/September/December, VAT return periods would be:

  • VAT returns & associated payments are due by 7 May/7 Aug/7 Oct/7 Feb respectively
  • Annual adjustments (if a partly exempt trader) are due on either the Mar or Jun returns (so 7 May or 7 Aug)

From January 2022, the UK is planning to require full customs controls for goods coming into mainland UK from the EU (although some controls, including certificates and physical checks on agri-foods and plant imports, are being postponed till 1 July 2022).

If you’re trading internationally, you can visit our new Trade Advisory Hub for guidance and support, including resources from the Department of International Trade.

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National Minimum Wage and Statutory Rates

National Minimum Wage increase

The National Minimum Wage hourly rates are set to increase on 1 April 2022 as follows:

  • National Living Wage (23+) to increase from £8.91 to £9.50
  • National Minimum Wage (21-22) to increase from £8.36 to £9.18
  • National Minimum Wage (18-20) to increase from £6.56 to £6.83
  • National Minimum Wage (under 18) to increase from £4.62 to £4.81
  • Apprenticeship Wage to increase from £4.30 to £4.81

Statutory rate changes

The following statutory rate increases will apply from 3 April 2022:

  • The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will be £99.35 (up from £96.35).
  • The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance, statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental pay and statutory adoption pay will be £156.66 (up from £151.97).
  • The lower earnings limit will also increase from £120 to £123. To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit.

Changes to Coronavirus SSP in the UK

  • Reinstatement of waiting days for SSP

The standard three-day waiting time for paying statutory sick pay (SSP) will be reinstated for coronavirus-related SSP from 24 March 2022.  From 24 March, SSP will no longer be payable from day 1 for coronavirus-related absences.

  • Closure of the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for SME employers in the UK for SSP costs incurred for periods of incapacity due to coronavirus falling on or after 21 December 2021 until 17 March 2022, closes on 24 March 2022.  Employers will no longer be able to claim for a rebate of SSP for any period of coronavirus-related absence that occurs after 17 March 2022. Employers will have until 24 March 2022 to submit their final claims for a rebate.

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Payroll deadlines

When you’re managing a team, there are annual payroll reporting and payment deadlines that you need to remember. Find out more about your annual responsibilities with our payroll guide.

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Extra Bank Holiday 2022

There will be an extra Bank Holiday on Friday, 3 June 2022 for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022. The late May bank holiday has been moved to Thursday, 2 June (from Monday, 30 May) for a four-day weekend.

Do I have to give my employees the day off for the extra Bank Holiday?

The legal position in relation to the extra Platinum Jubilee holiday in 2022 will be determined by the wording of your employee’s contract of employment. For example, where the contract entitles employees to take as paid leave "all bank and public holidays", rather than restricting this to the usual eight bank and public holidays, to avoid a breach of contract, you will be obliged to grant the extra day as paid holiday or negotiate otherwise with your employee.

You may choose to grant the additional bank holiday as an extra day off on a discretionary basis, where your employee is not entitled to this as a paid holiday under their contract of employment.

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National Insurance increase

From April 2022, the government will introduce a new, UK-wide 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy, ringfenced for health and social care, based on National Insurance Contributions (NICs). This means that employee and employer National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25% for one year from April 2022 to April 2023. UK dividend tax will also increase by this amount.

This increase in National Insurance contributions will apply to:

  • Class 1 (paid by employees)
  • Class 4 (paid by self-employed)
  • secondary Class 1, 1A and 1B (paid by employers)

The class you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn. If you are working age and earn less than the National Insurance Primary Threshold or Lower Profits Limit you will pay nothing. Employers will only pay on earnings above the Secondary Threshold. This increase does not affect those over the State Pension age.

From April 2023, the increases will be legislated separately as a “health and social care levy” and NIC rates will return to 2021/22 levels.

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Upcoming changes to legislation

Employment Bill

A new Employment Bill was announced in the December 2019 Queen’s Speech. Whilst the introduction of this legislation has been delayed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has stated that this will be published when “Parliamentary time allows”.

The Employment Bill, to apply in Great Britain, is likely to include the following measures, for which there is no confirmed timescale:

  • The introduction of a single labour market enforcement body to ensure that vulnerable workers are better informed of their rights, and to support businesses in compliance.
  • A new right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service, aimed at those engaged under contracts with variable and unpredictable hours, such as zero-hours employees.
  • Payment of all tips and service charges go to workers, with the distribution of these sums supported by a statutory Code of Practice.
  • Extending redundancy protection to cover pregnant employees from the date they notify the employer of their pregnancy and for a period of six months after the end of their pregnancy, in addition to the current protection that applies during maternity leave.
  • Extended leave for parents of children in neonatal care, to provide a week of leave for every week their baby is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Those with a minimum qualifying period of 26 weeks’ service and who earn above the minimum pay threshold will be entitled to receive pay for the neonatal leave period at the statutory rate that applies for parental leave.
  • A new right to a week’s (unpaid) leave for employees with caring responsibilities.

Timescales for the measures in the Employment Bill, which is yet to be published, are not yet confirmed, but it is likely that some of these will be introduced towards the end of 2022.

Workplace sexual harassment

In response to a government consultation, the government has confirmed that it will introduce legislation creating a legal duty for employers in Great Britain to prevent sexual harassment and new protections from third-party harassment, “when parliamentary time allows”. A new statutory code of practice will be published to support the new legal duty to prevent sexual harassment. It is likely that this new duty, as well as protections from third party harassment, will apply subject to a defence that the employer took ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent its occurrence.

Currently, employers are under no proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace under existing legislation. However, currently, if an incident has taken place and an individual makes a claim, an employer will potentially be liable unless it can show it took “all reasonable steps” to prevent the sexual harassment from occurring.

Repeal of the Regulations in England in relation to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health and social care workers

On 31 January 2022, the government announced its intention to revoke the regulations that made vaccination a condition of deployment for health and social care staff (in both care homes and wider Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated care services) in England.

The government has since announced its intention that both sets of regulations are to be revoked in England on 15 March 2022.

End of protection from forfeiture, Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) under the Coronavirus Act 2020 (25 March 2022)

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and supporting legislation, businesses that had to remain closed during the pandemic, and were unable to pay rent on their commercial property as a result, were given protected from eviction via a process known as forfeiture.

In addition, the rules as to when a landlord could send bailiffs around to seize tenants’ goods (Exercising CRAR) were made much more restrictive. These protections are being ended.

New rules regarding how to deal with pandemic related rent arrears on commercial premises – Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill (25 March 2022)

Legislation is currently passing through Parliament and when the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill becomes law it will ringfence outstanding unpaid rent built up whilst businesses were closed during lockdowns.

Landlords should make allowances for ringfenced rent arrears from these specific forced periods of closure and share the financial impact with their tenants. An agreement should be sought between the parties and, if unsuccessful, there will be a legally binding arbitration process. The arbitration will be delivered by private arbitrators in accordance with guidelines to be set out in the legislation.

In addition, there is an amended “Code of Practice for Commercial Property Relationships Following the Covid-19 Pandemic” which will generally be expected to be adhered to during this process.

Restrictions on winding-up petitions - Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (31 March 2022)

Companies in financial distress because of the pandemic have been protected from creditor action since June last year, through the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. This was to ensure that viable businesses affected by the restrictions on trading during the lockdown periods were not forced into insolvency unnecessarily. As the economy returns to normal trading conditions, the restrictions on creditor actions will be lifted from 31 March 2022.

Restriction of promotion of unhealthy foods in medium and large stores – legislation to be laid. (October 2022)

Following consultation with industry, the government will restrict unhealthy food promotions in stores from October 2022. Regulations will be laid in Parliament that will require medium and large businesses, including those with 50 or more employees, to phase out their offering of multi-buy promotions such as ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘3 for 2’ offers on HFSS products.

Less healthy promotions will also no longer be featured in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents. Free refills of sugary soft drinks will also be prohibited in the eating-out sector.

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