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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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;
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.
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…)
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 2016 bring for small businesses?
Here are the main points that affect business owners, both self-employed and limited company directors; (more…)
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…)
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.
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.
Every limited company must submit their accounts to Companies House each financial year. In this article, we look at how you work out the deadline for your first annual accounts.
If you are a limited company director, one of your legal obligations is to ensure that your company’s annual accounts are submitted to Companies House accurately and on time.
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!
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…)
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.
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.
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…)
Most small business owners say that their accountant is their most valuable advisor – a good accountant will keep your books in order, help with tax planning, and will ensure that you meet all your tax deadlines. Here are some tips from the ByteStart team to help you choose the best accountant:
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.
HMRC have provided a range of special schemes that apply to smaller businesses. They are designed to reduce administration, but also (in some cases) to assist cash flow.
This second guide in ByteStart’s 3-Part VATChat series; outlines how VAT registered businesses should charge VAT on their goods and services, and how to reclaim VAT on purchases and costs.
In the first in a short series of Value Added Tax bulletins for small businesses, Les Howard looks at what VAT is, and when you must register your business.
Following George Osborne’s delivery of the 2014 Budget, here is a summary of the main tax changes and announcements that will be of interest to those that own and run small businesses: (more…)
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.
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.
In this article, we look at the role accountants play, and how to ensure you choose the right firm for your business.
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.
Many tax rates and allowances changed on 6th April 2013, as the new personal tax year began. This year, the RTI (Real Time Information) payroll rules also came into effect.
Following the 2013 Budget, here is our summary of the main tax rates, tax bands, and allowances for the 2013/2014 tax year, with particular reference to data which will affect the typical small business owner.
If you are looking for figures for the 2014/15 tax year, you will find them in ByteStart’s guide to the tax rates, allowances and thresholds of relevance to small business owners for the 2014/15 tax year.
Large firms are set to enjoy another Corporation Tax cut following Budget 2013, but while the headline rate has been reduced significantly under the current Government, small companies will not benefit.
The most talked-about small business announcement from Budget 2013 is the implementation of a new ‘Employment Allowance’, which will reduce firms’ Employers’ NI bills by up to £2,000 from April 2014.
With the tax year end on the horizon once again, and significant changes to tax rates taking effect from April 2013, we examine how individuals can make the most of the currently available tax reliefs.
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.
Here are some essential tips for the self employed, and limited company owners, on how to keep your accounting records safe, and how long you are required to keep them for.
From 7th January 2013, Child Benefit (CB) will be means tested for the first time. HMRC are sending out letters to taxpayers over the coming weeks. So, how will you be affected?
Small business owners who work hard to build up their businesses may feel that the current IHT regime is unfair. In this article, we look at things you can do to escape this oft-resented tax.