For any small business, making sure invoices are paid can be a big job in itself. If they’re not managed properly, payments can be consistently late, and your relationships with clients might suffer as a result.
Even more significantly, you’ll struggle to keep cash moving smoothly through your business. No cash, no business. (more…)
If you need to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return (SATR) it’s imperative you get it in on time and free of any mistakes. There are penalties for not submitting your tax return on time and you may have to pay a fine if HMRC deem you have not taken enough care in completing it.
This article explains how to get started with your tax return, and how to avoid common mistakes that people make on their self assessment tax return. (more…)
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on the final consumption of certain goods and services in the home market but is collected at every stage of production and distribution. Most business-related goods and services will therefore be subject to VAT.
It’s Christmas! Well, nearly – and that means festive gifts and the goodwill. If you’re smart, your generosity can be tax deductible, so we asked Jonathan Amponsah of The Tax Guys to explain how you can claim some Christmas tax reliefs, and reduce your tax bill whilst still keeping the taxman happy. (more…)
The area of tax for small businesses is not straightforward, in fact it can be a real minefield for the unwary. However, if you take a little time, and work with your accountant, it’s usually possible to find ways to save some tax.
To help you think about ways you and your business could pay less tax, we’ve asked Simon Cox of Forbes Watson Accountants to share 10 of the best ways small business owners can look to pay less tax. (more…)
In this guide, we look at the taxes you will encounter if you start your own business as a sole trader, and other things you should bear in mind before taking the plunge and becoming self employed. (more…)
Small business accounting software has changed massively in recent years. Thankfully, the advent of cloud computing has consigned the days of buying book-keeping software in a box and installing it on your own computer to history.
Nowadays, start-ups and small business can choose from a whole host of online accounts software packages. The technology helps to ease the pain of book-keeping and accounts for small business owners and provides a range of other benefits too. But with so many different web-based accounting solutions out there, how do you choose the right system for you and your business? (more…)
Increasing cash flow and being tax-efficient are usually near the top of every small business owner’s agenda. One way to achieve both these aims is to take advantage of the various tax incentives available to businesses.
However, small businesses often miss out on these tax breaks because they either don’t know what they’re entitled to, or can’t find the time to make a claim. So to help you save time and money, here are five tax incentives and tax relief opportunities small businesses can take advantage of; (more…)
If you’re starting to employ people in your business, mastering payroll is going to become an essential part of your business. Get it wrong and you risk unhappy employees and potential penalties from HMRC.
There’s a lot more to it than simply paying staff money. So we’ve put together this guide to help you get it right and stay in line with what HMRC expects. (more…)
From IT and recruitment, to marketing and sales, it’s safe to say as a startup you have a million and one things to do to get your business up and running.
Finding time to devote to accounting and financial matters isn’t always at the top of a startup’s list of priorities. Nonetheless submitting annual accounts is mandatory for any business and being on top of your finances will help your new business succeed so it’s something you want to get done quickly and efficiently. (more…)
VAT is one of the more complex accounting practices you’ll have to undertake as a business, which is why it can help to make it as simple as possible.
The Flat Rate VAT scheme does exactly this and, if you’re eligible, could save you the headache of unnecessary work. (more…)
Once upon a time, not too long ago (up until 6 April 2011 to be exact), employers could force workers to retire at 65. However, since the abolition of the Default Retirement Age, you can continue to work well after 65 if you choose to.
Many business owners enjoy working, and do continue working after retirement age, but what if you do not want to work after the age of 65? (more…)
Wrestling with your accounts is certainly not the highlight of working for yourself, but getting your finances right is an important part of being self-employed.
Claiming business expenses can help you to cut your tax bill but, knowing what, and how much you can claim for isn’t straightforward. Fortunately, HMRC allow the self employed to use ‘simplified expenses’ to claim certain allowable business expenses without having to make complicated calculations. (more…)
If you are dealing with a new customer or supplier and want to check whether the VAT registration number (VRN) they have supplied is valid, there are two ways you can do so.
One method is to call the HMRC VAT Helpline, the other is to use the online VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) run by the European Commission. (more…)
In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of individuals working for themselves in a trade, profession or vocation.
Becoming self employed is a new and exciting chapter of life, but it is crucial to get all the basics right to ensure that your new business is as successful as possible. With so much to think about, we asked David Genders, author of The Daily Telegraph Tax Guide to explain the key financial and tax points you need to consider when going self-employed. (more…)
National Insurance is a deduction from earnings, set up originally to fund various State benefits such as the NHS, the State pension and other welfare-related schemes.
In reality, it is just another tax. In fact, as standard income tax rates have remained constant for many years, NI rates have soared.
In this guide we look at how National Insurance works, and what your National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will be as a small business owner. (more…)
Whether you’re a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company, you may be paying more tax than you need to, and you won’t be alone.
Many business owners don‘t realise that the expenses they can claim against income go beyond rent, rates, equipment, marketing, insurance and salaries. How about food, holidays and school fees?
To help find out if you could cut your tax bill, we’ve asked Jonathan Amponsah of the The Tax Guys to explain more about some of the less well known business expenses you can claim. (more…)
For many small businesses, finding an accountant is both crucial and a bit daunting. It seems, at least from afar, that accountants are pretty much all the same and yet most small business owners know in their heart of hearts that is not the case.
While selecting an accountant can be a vexing process, especially if you are a new business startup, it’s much simpler if you approach it systematically and ask the right questions. So to help you find the ideal accountant for you and your business, here are the 15 questions you should ask before hiring an accountant; (more…)
To clarify the various tax rates, thresholds and allowances that self employed workers, business owners and company directors need to be aware of for tax calculations, here is ByteStart’s summary of the main tax rates, tax bands, and tax allowances for the tax year from 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017.
These are the rates and thresholds that you will need to use for completing self assessment tax returns for 2016/17.
The deadline for filing a paper tax return for the 2016/17 tax year is 30 October 2017. If you are completing your self assessment online, you have until 31 January to submit your return.
Cash flow is arguably one of the most important parts of managing your small business. So any tax incentives, or potential tax relief opportunities which are available should always be grabbed with both hands.
But then, you often hear stories about how great these incentives and reliefs are, only to find that there are lots of conditions and qualifying factors, which mean you can’t actually benefit from them.
Thankfully, Research and Development tax relief isn’t like that. As long as you are genuinely investing in R&D projects, there’s a great opportunity to cut your corporation tax bill, or even get tax credits from HMRC in the form of an actual cheque!
So, what do you need to know about Research & Development Tax Relief Incentives? (more…)
Personal Liability Notices or PLNs first came into effect in April 2009.
Originally, PLNs were predominantly used by HMRC to tackle “phoenixism”, where the assets and the operations of an insolvent business that has run up significant tax debts are transferred to a new company operated by the same management team that has a history of non-payment of tax liabilities. However, HMRC’s use of PLNs is now increasing. (more…)
Government measures announced last year by the Chancellor to tackle tax avoidance schemes appear to be paying off.
A recent illustration of this is HMRC’s high profile win in the Supreme Court against Rangers FC and its use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to pay staff.
More than £47m was paid to dozens of staff members and players in tax-free loans, however HMRC successfully argued that these weren’t loans, but taxable income.
If you, or your business, have used tax avoidance schemes in the past, you could soon be receiving an Accelerated Payment Notice (APN) from HMRC. So what should you do if you receive an APN? (more…)
Significant changes to UK salary sacrifice schemes have now been implemented. Affecting both employers and employees, these changes essentially remove the tax incentives of many of the benefits in kind (BiK) offered under salary sacrifice arrangements.
With, the new salary sacrifice rules reducing the tax benefits of salary sacrifice schemes, here’s what small businesses need to know about the changes and how they affect employers and employees. (more…)
When you’re trying to work out how well your business is doing, one of the most powerful tools in your financial arsenal is your profit and loss account (P&L).
This is a simple set of figures that will give you a summary of what your business has spent and sold, normally in a 12 month period.
Crucially, a P&L statement will tell you how much profit or loss your business has made so it’s useful to have a good grasp of it.
Here’s an overview of Profit & Loss Accounts for a small business owner.
When you set up a limited company, your annual profits will be subject to Corporation Tax.
Dealing with your corporation tax issues is one of your accountant’s key tasks. However, it is ultimately the directors of a limited who are responsible for ensuring that a company’s tax affairs are in order. (more…)
Your business should register for VAT if your “taxable supplies” over the past 12 months has exceeded the VAT registration threshold.
Just a week after the 2017 Spring Budget when Chancellor, Philip Hammond announced an increase in Class 4 National Insurance Contributions for the UK’s self employed workers, he has decided that the proposed tax increase isn’t a good idea after all!
Responding to wide criticism from Tory MPs and the perceived attack on millions of self employed workers, including the ‘white van man’, Hammond has written to MPs informing them of his decision to reverse the proposed NI hike.
His letter reads; (more…)
Is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake?
Now if you think this is some playground joke, think again. This is a real question that judges were asked to consider in a landmark VAT case.
The fact it took a court case to work out the answer to this question gives you an insight into just how complicated the UK’s VAT system has become. If HMRC, can’t answer such a simple question, what hope is there for busy small business owners?
With the complexity of the VAT laws it’s understandable that businesses make mistakes on their VAT returns. However, these mistakes can be very costly both in terms of paying the wrong amount of VAT and also triggering a VAT investigation.
To help you avoid making these expensive mistakes, we asked Jonathan Amponsah, founder of The Tax Guys, to reveal the 21 common mistakes small businesses make on VAT Returns. (more…)
Millions of small business owners will see the amount of tax they pay go up following the Spring 2017 Budget.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his Budget speech, plans to increase the taxes paid by the self-employed and limited company directors.
Changes are coming to the way benefits in kind are taxed – employers and employees should prepare themselves for the future.
Millions of British employees receive ‘perks’ from their employers: ‘benefits in kind’ (BiK) which include anything from childcare vouchers and mobile phones, to medical insurance and company cars.
Whether administered in addition to an employee’s cash remuneration, or as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, these benefits may or may not be taxed, and may exempt employers from their National Insurance Contribution obligations.
By saving on income tax and NIC for employees (and NIC for employers), salary sacrifice schemes have, until now, represented a ‘win-win’ arrangement for British businesses. However, things are about to change. (more…)
For millions of UK small businesses, ‘tax season’ represents a costly, time-consuming inconvenience. But Britain’s tax landscape is transforming: in March 2015, HMRC announced its plan to update the self assessment tax payment process – moving away from annual paper returns, and towards a digitized, online system.
The government’s new digital tax accounts system introduces a fundamental shift in the way small business owners – both those working as self employed and those operating as limited companies – report and pay their tax liabilities.
The introduction of digital tax accounts will, within a few years, make the annual self assessment tax return obsolete – so how exactly will the changes affect Britain’s small businesses? (more…)
If you are having problems paying HMRC your business taxes, you may be able to agree a Time to Pay arrangement so you can pay the tax over a longer period of time.
In this concise guide, we walk you through HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements, explain what you should understand before contacting HMRC, and share some practical tips on how to make the most of Time to Pay;
To help small business owners and company directors stay up to date with all the various tax rates, thresholds and allowances that might be needed for tax calculations, here is ByteStart’s summary of the main tax rates, tax bands, and tax allowances for the tax year from 6 April 2015 to 5 April 2016.
If you’re in the midst of starting a new business, then the bookkeeping requirements are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. At this stage there can be far more pressing things for you to think about.
However, once your business is taking shape, you will need to start thinking about keeping up-to-date and accurate accounting records of your income and expenses. More than just a legal requirement, basic bookkeeping is an essential part of your ability to manage your business effectively.
But what kind of details are you going to need? (more…)
One of the first things new business owners often say to me is how bewildering it can be getting their heads around all the different aspects of running a business.
From marketing and IT to tax and finance, it’s a case of having to quickly get up to speed on a huge range of things. For many small businesses the only way to make sure that everything gets done right is to outsource some of the tasks.
The type of functions that are frequently outsourced by small businesses are ones that either don’t add any value, or require specialist skills and knowledge that are not viable to employ someone to conduct in-house.
The administration of the company’s payroll is one such function. With a variety of outsourcing options available, from large established payroll providers to smaller competitors, outsourcing your payroll can offer a number of short-term and long-term benefits.
In this article, we look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your business’s payroll function and when is the best time to take the plunge. (more…)
At 1.30pm on Wednesday 16 March, 2016, George Osborne delivered his eighth Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The overall headlines include the introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks from 2017, extra funding for schools to have longer days and a downward revision of growth forecasts for the UK, but what did Budget 2016 bring for small businesses?
Here are the main points that affect business owners, both self-employed and limited company directors; (more…)