Fresh Threads: Business ideas, ICO letters and registered offices

  1. Jas Sensi

    Jas Sensi UKBF Newcomer Staff Member

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    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the most popular threads, comments and advice from the forums.

    Here are my top picks from the past week.

    1. ICO threatening letter

    ICO has just posted a lovely letter to many UK businesses threatening that they must pay and subscribe or face a fine of £41,000 if their business handles personal information.

    But if your client is an individual trader and you email or call them, have you processed personal information and therefore liable to the ICO fee?

    Or would it only constitute processing personal information if you are processing that information to be stored for marketing purposes?

    ecommerce84: They have a tool on their website to determine whether you need to register and pay.

    Mike Hunter: I looked at this very closely when GDPR came into effect. I concluded that we weren't a data processor. However, when we got one of those letters I looked into it again and concluded that we would have to pay.

    nick34785: I did the tool questionnaire and it said we don't have to pay as we only use the data to conduct our necessary business.

    Paul Kelly ICHYB: About 95% of businesses in the UK are not registered and they probably should be.

    2. New business idea

    My partner and I are wanting to set up our own clothing business, from home to begin with, just online-based clothing sales. The reason for wanting to start was to earn extra income, make something of our time and do something with our lives. We don't intend to throw all our months' wages into setting this off as we want to learn to walk before we run. Can anyone point us in the right direction on where to begin?

    japancool: Well, first of all, what do you know about the clothing industry? What are the most common clothing sizes for your target demographic? What IS your target demographic?

    Darren_Ssc: My thoughts would be that this is a difficult sector to make money in, especially as established players with over a century of experience and know-how are mostly not doing so. I understand that the likes of Boohoo and Primark have carved out a profitable niche but this relies on huge volumes and a low-cost base.

    Mark T Jones: A great place to start, in any business, is to work out exactly who your target customer is, what they want and how you can do it better than others.

    ethical PR: You start at the beginning by doing your market research. What sort of customers will want the products you want to sell, at what price, who are your competitors, how are you going to reach these customers?

    3. Using my home address as someone’s registered office

    I run a company and use my home address as my registered office address, but my friend is setting up a company and would like to use my home address as his registered office address. I wondered if I am allowed to do so? 

    IntrestedObserver: I would imagine you could do it. But I wouldn't.

    Tony84: I had to move offices at the back end of last year. My accountant altered my registered address on the Companies House to his home address – I asked if that was ok and he said it is fine, occasionally he has bailiffs turning up for customers.

    Mark T Jones: Legally and practically it's fine.

    Darren_Ssc: My previous office tenant was a bookkeeper and I lost count of how many companies were registered there. I never had anyone 'turn up' but, if they did, it would have been immediately apparent none of these businesses were actually based there.

    4. 1p standing order from a business to a director


    I have seen some suspicious bank statements from someone who recently resigned as a company director but continues to work there. The statements have a continuous direct debit to his own company every month for one penny. The individual has gifted money from the company to family members and does not pay income tax or do the dividends processes correctly. But does anyone recall seeing these minimum repayments to their own company such as deferred loans or other reasons for VAT purposes?

    Mr D: Report him to HMRC for the income tax. Get the shareholders to deal with him giving money away.

    Dontask: It's not uncommon for personal current accounts to require a minimum number of direct debits to get the best deal

    Mark T Jones: Simple answer, there is absolutely nothing intrinsically wrong with this, and any attempt to guess the reasons would be pure conjecture. You have an axe to grind here, but probably need to focus on the specifics of your issue.

    UKSBD: I had a 1p standing order set up for about 12 months and just recorded it as a director’s loan. Sometimes it's easier to adjust the amounts on standing orders rather than deleting and setting them up again.

    That's all for this week – have a great run into the weekend!