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Tax breaks & Incentives for small businessesIncreasing 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 tax advantage of some 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 that small businesses can take advantage of;

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What new employers need to knoa to set up payrollIf 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. Continue…

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online accounts for start-upsFrom 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. Continue…

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Guide to the Flat Rate VAT Scheme for small businessVAT 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. Continue…

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choosing best online accounts package for your businessSmall 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?

That’s where this guide comes in. If you follow the advice, and ask these questions, you should be able to quickly narrow down the field, and ultimately choose the best online accounting software for your needs.

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Cut your pension fees boost your pension fundOnce 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?

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claiming expenses when you are a sole trader and simplifies expenses for the self employedWrestling 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.

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How to check if a VAT number is valid

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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Tax and accounts advice when going self employedIn 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.

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Find out what NICs you need to pay if you're self employed or a limited compay directorNational 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. Continue…

Taxes a sole trader (self employed) need to know about

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.
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pay less taxWhether 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. Continue…

self assessment tax returm mistakes to avoid

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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2016/17 Tax rates and allowances for business owners 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.

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Cut corporation tax with R&D tax reliefCash 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…

HMRC Personal liability noticePersonal 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. Continue…

Guide to HMRC Accelerated Payment NoticeGovernment 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? Continue…

salary sacrific schemes new rules April 2017Significant 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. Continue…

Guide to profit & loss statementWhen 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.
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What is Corporation Tax?

May 11, 2017

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. As a director of […]

VAT registration – when should you register for VAT?

April 21, 2017

Your business should register for VAT if your “taxable supplies” over the past 12 months has exceeded the VAT registration threshold.

Government scraps proposed Class 4 NICs rise for self employed

March 15, 2017

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 […]

21 Costly VAT Mistakes businesses make on their VAT Returns

March 9, 2017

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 […]

Small business owners hit by tax increases in Budget 2017

March 8, 2017

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.

Benefits in Kind: What you need to know about the new salary sacrifice rules

January 9, 2017

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 […]

A Guide to HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements

November 22, 2016

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 […]

Tax rates, thresholds & allowances for small business owners 2015/2016

October 31, 2016

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.

Guide to Bookkeeping for new business owners

August 10, 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 […]

10 tax-saving ideas for small business owners

May 9, 2016

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 […]

When should you outsource your payroll and what are the benefits of doing so?

March 23, 2016

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 […]

Budget 2016 – Key points for small businesses

March 16, 2016

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 […]

Dividend tax changes from April 2016 – A summary of the financial effects for small business owners

March 3, 2016

From 6 April 2016, the way dividend income is taxed will change significantly. The changes will affect hundreds of thousands of small business owners, many of whom will see a big jump in the amount of tax they will have to pay. At present, company dividends are treated as ‘tax paid’ in the hands of […]

Business Taxation – What are the main taxes?

January 20, 2016

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.

Tax rates for small business owners – 2014/15

January 6, 2016

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.