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Be prepared or lose out. That’s the stark warning from a leading accountant ahead of planned tax changes on April 1.

Paul Hornby, the managing director of JF Hornby & Co is concerned businesses will struggle if they don’t adequately prepare for increases in corporation tax and the national living wage.

The main rate of corporation tax is set to rise from 19% to 25% and the National Living Wage and Minimum Wage for all ages will increase by 9.7%, except for 21-22 year olds who will receive a 10.9% increase.

Paul said: “Too many businesses get caught out by changes in tax rates; not necessarily because they don’t know about them but because they do not make time to project the impact they will have on the bottom line.

“I fully support the national minimum wage and it’s right that it’s reviewed every year to ensure that it is in line with the cost of living. But it does affect businesses and they must ensure they plan their running costs accordingly.

“Where I believe there is room for the government to do more is through corporation tax. The planned increase represents a hike of around 30% and for many companies, that will be hard to service.

“We are on the brink of a recession and HMRC should be looking at ways to stimulate the economy – not negatively impact it.”

The corporation tax rate has been a major political battleground in recent years, having been increased from 19% to 25% by Rishi Sunak in 2021, only to be reversed by Kwasi Kwarteng in his ill-fated mini budget in 2022.

The 25% rate was reinstated by current chancellor Jeremy Hunt, despite being warned by three former chancellors that public finances were too weak for any significant changes to tax or public spending rates.

Corporation tax is paid by businesses which are a limited company, a foreign company with a UK branch or office, or a club, cooperative or other unincorporated association such as a community group.

The National Living Wage will increase to £10.42 on April 1, with the following rates applying by age range: 21-22, £10.18; 18-20, £7.49; 16-17 and apprentice rate £5.28.

JF Hornby is a family run business that specialises in accountancy, tax advice and support, consultancy, tax planning, corporate finance and payroll solutions.