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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.

So to help you make the right choice when deciding whether you should go self employed or set up a limited company when launching your new business, here are 7 key benefits of working as a sole trader; Continue…

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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.

As a director of a limited company, you therefore need to make sure that your company’s corporation tax liability is accurate, your corporation tax return (form CT600) is filed with HMRC on time, and that you pay the corporation tax to HMRC when it falls due.

If you are setting up a limited company for the first time, here is a handy overview of how to comply with the corporation tax rules for UK companies.
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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. Continue…

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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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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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.
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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. Continue…

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; Continue…

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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Small businesses with outstanding tax liabilities are being warned that HMRC has doubled the use of its ‘power of distraint’, which allows its staff to make unannounced visits to firms’ premises in order to recover unpaid taxes.
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New research published by a leading accountancy firm shows that HMRC has ramped up its investigation efforts into smaller enterprises, as the yield from compliance activities into SMEs soared by almost 40% in the last tax year.
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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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We’re into December, which means there’s less than 2 months left until all self-assessment tax returns must be safely with HMRC, warns Emily Coltman ACA, Chief Accountant at FreeAgent.
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If you become self-employed or a director of a limited company, you will need to complete a self assessment tax return every year.

The first step is to register with HMRC. It’s best to do this as soon as you start your business, but at the very latest, you must register by 5 October of the end of the tax year for which you need to complete a tax return.
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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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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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In this article, we look at what the PAYE scheme is, and how it applies to the self employed, including limited company directors.
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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

October 6, 2011

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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