10 Common Self-Assessment Tax Return Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

self assessment income tax return 2017/18

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.
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A guide to Personal Liability Notices (PLNs) for company directors

HMRC Public liability notice

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…)

A guide to HMRC’s Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs)

Guide to HMRC Accelerated Payment Notice

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…)

7 Advantages a Sole Trader (self employed) Business has Over a Limited Company

Advanatges of running a business as a sole trader

For those new to the world of business there are many things to consider. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when you’re starting a business is whether to set up as a sole trader (self employed) or limited company.

Both sole traders and limited companies have their distinct advantages and disadvantages (make sure you read our guide on 10 Advantages of running your business as a limited company instead of being self-employed to learn the main benefits of the limited company option).

Whilst the professionalism and protection that comes with running a limited company is appealing to many, becoming self-employed is the more straightforward option, and with it comes a number of other benefits. (more…)

What is Corporation Tax?

Corporation tax explained

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…)

21 Costly VAT Mistakes businesses make on their VAT Returns

VAT return

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…)

What small business owners need to know about the new Digital Personal Tax Accounts

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…)

A Guide to HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements

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;

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Setting Up in Business as a Sole Trader

how to start in business as a sole trader

Becoming a sole trader is the simplest way to get your new business off the ground. You can start trading immediately, subject to any industry-specific licences or insurances you might be required to have.

As a sole trader, you will have complete control over your business and finances. You can adapt quickly to any changes in your business, without having to concern yourself with a great deal of bureaucracy. (more…)

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

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…)

HMRC webinars offer help for new business owners, employers and company directors

HMRC are running a series of live webinars to help those that are new to, or considering; going self employed, starting a business, employing staff or becoming a limited company director.

Each webinar covers a distinct topic and will help you to understand the legal implications and the responsibilities involved with the steps you are considering. You can also submit questions to the presenter during a webinar.

The webinars that will be of interest to new business start-ups, both sole traders and limited company directors, and those thinking of employing staff for the first time are detailed here; (more…)

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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The self-assessment New Year hangover

It’s okay to have a hangover on New Year’s Day but don’t let the suffering continue into the year. January 31st has always been a key date in the small business calendar – it marks the deadline for submitting online tax returns.
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Top 10 VAT Tips for small businesses

Here are some tips to help small businesses keep on top of their VAT responsibilities – from choosing the right VAT scheme in the first place, to avoiding getting on the wrong side of HMRC.
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Annual PAYE and NIC tax deadlines for small businesses

The table below highlights some of the key dates to look out for when returning paperwork to HMRC. Chances are, your accountant will be well aware of all tax deadlines, however business owners are ultimately responsible for ensuring that tax liabilities are paid on time.
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Self assessment – who needs to fill in a tax return form?

Most normal ’employees’ have tax deducted at source via the PAYE system and are unlikely to have to fill in a tax return unless they receive other income. If you receive income which is not taxed at source, or have complex tax affairs, you do need to complete a tax return.
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How company cars are taxed

In the old days, one of the perks of running your own business was the ability to run a decent car by getting your company to lease it, and take it as a company car.

That perk doesn’t really exist any more. Over a number of years the tax rules have changed, to the extent that many accountants now say it is more tax efficient for many business owners to run their own private car and claim mileage expenses.
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