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Tax & Accounting Guides

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A staple of business life for decades, the spreadsheet was adopted on a mass scale in the late 1980s and 90s alongside desktop computers. The fact that it is still used today is testament to the fact that it really was one of the killer apps of its time.

Increasingly, however, in the age of cloud-based software and connected devices, the spreadsheet and PC-reliant tools like it are being rapidly overtaken by advances in technology, leaving legacy business users at a competitive disadvantage.

Switching from spreadsheets to cloud accounting software allows small business owners to access more up-to-date figures for sales and cashflow, and view analysis and reports on a broad selection of other essential business performance indicators.

With a wider range, and more current information to-hand, cloud accounting can help business owners to make quicker and better-informed decisions.
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Are you a self-employed individual? Do you have to travel on business, and does that travel ever entail an overnight stay away from your home?

Do you know exactly which of the travel and accommodation expenses you can legitimately claim back? If you get it wrong, you could pay too much tax, or worse still find yourself in trouble with HMRC for paying too little tax!

To help you get it right, here’s an explanation of the rules regarding travel and accommodation expenses for sole traders. It explains what you can, and can’t, include as legitimate costs in your business accounts. Continue…

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If you are a limited company shareholder, you may have to pay personal tax on any dividend income you receive. This article outlines how company dividends are taxed.
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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.

With regard to the deadlines, paper tax returns need to be filed with HMRC by 31 October and tax returns submitted online by 31 January. So, if you complete your tax return online, you get a few extra months.

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.
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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? Continue…

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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.
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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 person. The guide has been updated with the 2014/15 tax year NIC rates. Continue…

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In this concise 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.
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Few people start a new business so they can do paperwork. Spending time adding up receipts or pushing invoices around a desk is nobody’s idea of fun – unless you’re starting up as a book-keeper or accountant!

Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil and something you need to stay on top of in your new business. Being disorganised and putting off paperwork just isn’t an option.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will fine you if you’re late getting essential information to them. And the longer you leave it, the worse the problem gets. So here’s what every small business owner needs to know about book keeping.
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Small businesses, and the individuals who run them, are subject to a wide array of taxes – from Corporation Tax to National Insurance. Here is an overview of the main UK business taxes you will encounter as a business owner, together with links to our more in-depth guides.
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With the plethora of tax rates, thresholds and allowances changing every year, here is ByteStart’s summary of the main tax rates, tax bands, and allowances for the 2014/2015 tax year. We focus on the figures that are of relevance to business owners.
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HMRC have provided a range of special schemes that apply to smaller businesses. They are designed to reduce administration, but also (in some cases) to assist cash flow.
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This second guide in ByteStart’s 3-Part VATChat series; outlines how VAT registered businesses should charge VAT on their goods and services, and how to reclaim VAT on purchases and costs.
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In the first in a short series of Value Added Tax bulletins for small businesses, Les Howard looks at what VAT is, and when you must register your business.
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Your business should register for VAT if your “taxable supplies” over the past 12 months has exceeded the VAT registration threshold. From April 2014, the VAT registration threshold is £81,000 (previously it was £79,000).
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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.
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Following George Osborne’s delivery of the 2014 Budget, here is a summary of the main tax changes and announcements that will be of interest to those that own and run small businesses: Continue…

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As more and more people choose to work from home, the question of how you can reclaim any home office expenses is frequently asked.

The general HMRC rule for claiming tax relief on business expenses is that you can only reclaim costs that have been ‘wholly and exclusively’ incurred in connection with your trade.
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Tax isn’t the most exciting part of running your own business, but it is an issue that you will have to tackle at some point.

To help you to quickly get to grips with the subject, here are some handy tax tips based on our findings of working with small businesses over the past decade, and from our own personal experience at the ByteStart team.
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In this article, we look at the role accountants play, and how to ensure you choose the right firm for your business.
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