The EU market flipped the 'off' switch on incandescent lamps on September 1. 

The death of the conventional incandescent bulb was first announced by Gordon Brown in 2007 with retailers given a fair bit of warning to get rid of stock. Some of you still have some Jayesh Patel, who runs Classic News in Northampton, for one. When he rang he had about 20 left. Special offer, I suggested. One day they will be collectors' items.

Jayesh also tells me that he always does his own rates appeal. It's easy, he says. "I have always personally applied for rates reductions and I have never had any problems. The rates department in your council will send you a simple form to fill in (by request only). All these rates rebate companies do is exactly as I do, except you will be a few hundred pounds poorer."

And please avoid the cowboys, or you'll be hundreds of pounds poorer for nil reduction. You do have up until March 30 to appeal. It's worth a go. A lot of you are being hit very hard.

There is also an important change on its way regarding how you submit VAT returns and pay the tax due. HM Revenue & Customs is planning to phase out paper VAT returns from next April. After that it will be mandatory for all VAT-registered traders with a turnover of more than £100,000 (sales excluding VAT) to submit returns online.

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