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

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 shareholders. However, from April 2016 the tax treatment of dividends will be altered dramatically, and as you can imagine, this isn’t going to result in limited company directors paying less tax! (more…)

Business Taxation – What are the main taxes?

Review of business taxes

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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Tax rates for small business owners – 2014/15

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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Staying on top of your company accounts – Book-keeping Dos and Don’ts

Accurate bookkeeping is a necessary evil when you run your own business.

There are three reasons you need to be on top of the money coming in and going out. HMRC will need information from you at some point (whether you are a sole trader or run a limited company); you need to know if you have enough cash to get you through the month (cash flow); and finally it’s good to know whether or not you are actually making a profit!
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Capital Allowances – A review of the various schemes available for businesses

When you buy certain new equipment, invest in buildings or research and development, you can deduct a proportion of the cost from your taxable profits and reduce your business tax bill, through Capital Allowances.

Capital Allowances take the place of commercial depreciation, which is not allowed for tax. Using them effectively can be a huge boost to your business, especially if you need to invest to fund growth.

Here’s a look at the main elements of the various capital allowances schemes and how your business can qualify to take advantage of them. (more…)

Corporation Tax – How to reduce your bill

Running your own business sometimes seems to be a series of successes followed by setbacks.

You win a big client, then lose an existing client. You hire the perfect employee and their current employer offers them more money to stay. You make a nice fat profit, and the taxman comes along and takes 20 per cent of it! Talk about three steps forward, two steps back.
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How switching from spreadsheets to cloud accounting can help small business owners

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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Travel and accommodation expenses for the self-employed

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. (more…)

Book-Keeping Basics Every Small Business Owner Must Know

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. 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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Running a home office – can you claim on expenses?

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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Top 10 tax tips for small businesses

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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What is a balance sheet and how do you create one?

If you choose to set up a limited company when you start your business, there’s a lot more paperwork involved.

It’s one the downsides of going limited (the biggest upside of course being that you limit your liability should the business go under).

One of the many pieces of paperwork you will have to generate on at least an annual basis is a balance sheet.
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Are you affected by the new Child Benefit rules?

Controversial changes to the Child Benefit regime went live on 7th January 2013. The benefit is no longer universal, and will be reduced when one parent earns over £50,000 per year, and scrapped entirely when earnings reach £60,000.
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Guide to Business Rates

Just as you have to pay council tax on your home, so your business must cough up business rates for its premises. They can be a pain and an easily overlooked cost when you are starting your business. In some circumstances, you may even have to pay business rates if you run a business from home.

This guide will help you understand what business rates you might have to pay, how to challenge the rates set, and even if you can claim any relief.
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