Have you been one of the brave ones and started a new business recently? Yes? Right, sit down, we might have some good news for you.
You could be forgiven for thinking that, in these days of near triple dip recessions and huge public spending cuts, you had as much chance of a free lunch from the Government as winning the Euromillions. Well, you might want to pop in to the newsagents on your way home.
The snappily-named Regional National Insurance Contributions Holiday for New Businesses scheme ("the Scheme") has been running since September 2010, but we're not sure it's been as well-publicised as it might have been. In a nutshell, if your business qualifies you can claim some National Insurance contributions back (or withhold them if you haven't paid them yet).
So, how do you qualify?
Well, the Scheme covers sole traders, companies, partnerships and trading charities. Your business needs to have been formed no earlier than 22 June 2010 and has to have its principal place of business in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, East Midlands, the North East, North West, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber. You also need to be registered with HMRC as an employer.
If you come within the above, you can claim for a maximum of 10 employees (including owner/managers). Those employees have to have been employed within a maximum period of 12 months from the earlier of the date your business started to trade or the date you hired your first employee. You can claim for a maximum of 12 months contributions, subject to a cap of £5,000 per qualifying employee. There's a form to fill in (you can do this online), but it shouldn't tax you too much.
Call it a thank you from the Government for doing your bit to get GB plc back on track. But hurry, the Scheme ends on 5 September 2013.