Your Making Tax Digital for VAT Questions Answered

Making Tax Digital for VAT - advcie and tips for small businesses

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is arguably the biggest change to the UK’s tax system for a generation, so here’s a quick walkthrough of what MTD means for small businesses, together with five practical steps to help you tackle the changes. (more…)

Understanding Your Accounts – The Key Numbers & What They Mean For Your Business

essential accounting numbers, ratios analysis explained

Many new business owners can struggle to get to grips with the numbers behind their business. However, your accounts can reveal so much about your business and getting your head around them will help you make the right decisions. Here, Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA, of The Tax Guys explains the key numbers to look out for in your company accounts, and what they can tell you about your business. (more…)

10 Things Savvy Entrepreneurs Do to Reduce Their Tax Bills

how business owners can cut tax bill

Savvy entrepreneurs seem to make more money, yet find legal ways to optimise their taxes. So what do they know, and do differently to cut their tax bills?

We asked Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA, of The Tax Guys, to explain how some entrepreneurs manage to keep more of their hard-earned cash. (more…)

How to Simplify Invoicing and Get Paid Faster

good invoice get paid faster

For any small business, making sure invoices are paid can be a big job in itself. If they’re not managed properly, payments can be consistently late, and your relationships with clients might suffer as a result.

Even more significantly, you’ll struggle to keep cash moving smoothly through your business. No cash, no business. (more…)

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. (more…)

9 Ways to Make Christmas Tax Deductible

ways to cut your tax bill at christmas

It’s Christmas! Well, nearly – and that means festive gifts and the goodwill. If you’re smart, your generosity can be tax deductible, so we asked Jonathan Amponsah of The Tax Guys to explain how you can claim some Christmas tax reliefs, and reduce your tax bill whilst still keeping the taxman happy. (more…)

10 Tax-Saving Ideas for Small Business Owners

ways business owners can pay less tax

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 less tax, we’ve asked Simon Cox of Forbes Watson Accountants to share 10 of the best ways small business owners can look to pay less tax. (more…)

How to Choose the Best Online Accounting Software for Your Business

choosing best online accounts package for your business

Small 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? (more…)

5 Tax Incentives Every Small Business Owner Should Know About

Tax breaks & Incentives for small businesses

Increasing 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 take advantage 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 small businesses can take advantage of; (more…)

A Guide to Setting up and Managing Payroll for Employers

What new employers need to knoa to set up payroll

If 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. (more…)

A Startup’s Guide to Cloud Accounting

online accounts for start-ups

From 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. (more…)

How to Retire Sooner by Making Just One Change to Your Retirement Planning

Cut your pension fees boost your pension fund

Once 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? (more…)

How Using ‘Simplified Expenses’ Can Save You Time if You’re Self Employed

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

Wrestling 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. (more…)

Thinking of Going Self-Employed? The Key Finance & Tax Points You Must Get Right

Tax and accounts advice when going self employed

In 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. (more…)

Guide to National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for small business owners

Find out what NICs you need to pay if you're self employed or a limited compay director

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 owner. (more…)

Could you cut your tax bill by claiming some of these business expenses?

pay less tax

Whether 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. (more…)

15 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Accountant for Your Small Business

Hiring an accountant - what to ask

For many small businesses, finding an accountant is both crucial and a bit daunting. It seems, at least from afar, that accountants are pretty much all the same and yet most small business owners know in their heart of hearts that is not the case.

While selecting an accountant can be a vexing process, especially if you are a new business startup, it’s much simpler if you approach it systematically and ask the right questions. So to help you find the ideal accountant for you and your business, here are the 15 questions you should ask before hiring an accountant; (more…)

Tax rates, thresholds & allowances for small business owners 2016/2017

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.

(more…)

Using Research & Development tax relief to reduce your corporation tax bill

Cut corporation tax with R&D tax relief

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? (more…)

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…)

Salary Sacrifice Schemes – What small businesses need to know about the new rules

salary sacrific schemes new rules April 2017

Significant 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. (more…)

Profit and Loss (P&L) Accounts – A Guide for small business owners

Guide to profit & loss statement

When 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?

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…)

Government scraps proposed Class 4 NICs rise for self employed

Class4 NIC increase reversed page 2

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 self employed workers, including the ‘white van man’, Hammond has written to MPs informing them of his decision to reverse the proposed NI hike.

His letter reads; (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…)

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

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 employee’s cash remuneration, or as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, these benefits may or may not be taxed, and may exempt employers from their National Insurance Contribution obligations.

By saving on income tax and NIC for employees (and NIC for employers), salary sacrifice schemes have, until now, represented a ‘win-win’ arrangement for British businesses. However, things are about to change. (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…)