Posts tagged ‘Self Assessment’

How good are your I.T. skills?

If you have not yet completed your Tax Return for the year ended 5 April 2010 they may need to be fairly good as HM Revenue and Customs  are encouraging taxpayers to file online.  If you continue to use paper Returns, the usual 31 January timeline is substantially reduced to 31 October 2010.

Not filed your Tax Return online before?


If you have not filed Tax Returns online in previous years, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs beforehand.  As this will take at least a week to process immediate action is required to meet the fast approaching deadline.

You will need to visit the website of HM Revenue and Customs on www.hmrc.gov.uk and select ‘Self assessment’ from ‘Do it online’. This will guide you through the process of creating a user name and password.

You will also need to have some personal details, including your Unique Tax Reference and National Insurance number or Post Code to hand.

Once you have done this you will be sent a personal activation Pin through the post, from the Government Gateway. With this you should be able to complete the registration process and to be able to file the Return online.

Need assistance?

Most people find the filing process relatively straightforward and there is help available on the website itself. There is also an online demonstrator showing how the service works and provides various specific examples. To see this go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/demo

Watch out: Not everyone is able to file online…

It must be pointed out that there are a few people who will not be able to use the online service due to some of the supplementary pages not being available on the internet site and, of course, if you do not have access to the internet you also have the problem of what you should do. The only answer is to contact ourselves as soon as possible and we will do our best to submit your Return in time.

Time

As emphasised above, for everyone who still has a Tax Return outstanding, the problem is time.  Can you do everything in time and stay focused on your business?

Why not contact George Hay Chartered Accountants for peace of mind?


Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

Self-assessment deadlines have changed – don’t be late!

H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are working hard to encourage businesses and individual taxpayers to file online to help them become more efficient and effective.  As part of this strategy they have changed the deadline if you wish to continue submitting a paper Return.

j0434804Generally, if you are sent a notice to complete a Tax Return you must return it completed before the later of 31 October following the end of the tax year and three months following the date of issue of the notice. Failure to do so will result in a £100 penalty regardless of the tax due. This is a significant change, so beware. (£100 per partner if the Return relates to a partnership)

For paper returns submitted by this date, HMRC will:

  • calculate your tax for you (though you or your accountant can calculate it for yourself if you want)
  • tell you what to pay by the following 31 January
  • collect tax through your tax code (if possible) where you owe less than £2,000.

Returns sent via HMRC’s website or an electronic service provided by your accountant may be submitted up to 31 January.  There are many advantages of electronic submission which all our clients benefit from, the main ones being:

  • Tax Returns are processed almost immediately and an acknowledgement of successful submission is provided.
  • Your liability is calculated automatically and any refund due is issued by the system direct to your bank account.  Typically this occurs within 10 working days and saves banking and postage costs/time.  Manual processing can take weeks, sometimes months.
  • PAYE coding notices are updated and re-issued without delay (if appropriate)
  • The lack of ‘human’ intervention prevents processing errors and re-enforces the process now, check later strategy intended for Self-Assessment

There are a few situations where online tax returns can’t be made. In these cases the submission deadline is 31 January.Its about Time Series II

Companies House deadlines and penalties have changed too…..

If you operate your business through a Limited Company please be aware that the accounts filing deadline has been reduced by one month for accounting periods beginning on or after 6th April 2008.

A private company now only has 21 months from incorporation or in subsequent years nine months from its’ accounting period end to submit financial statements to Companies House.

From 1st February 2009 the late filing penalties imposed by Companies House have also become a lot more onerous.

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If your accounts or Tax Returns are not up to date,

call us for a free no obligation consultation. 01480 426500

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

Forms and more forms, rules and regulations, sign here, don’t forget this, do that…

Entrepreneurs are often discouraged by the bewildering amount of bureaucracy and problems which they come up against.  But with a simple checklist of tasks and a little support, your small business could be up and running in no time.

Do I need an accountant?

It is not essential, but advisable.  An accountant will have the specialist knowledge and experience to assist your business, help you make decisions about the future and relieve you of most of the administrative burden associated with being self-employed; enabling you to devote more time to developing your business and earn that all important cash.

If you are going to engage an accountant it is essential that you involve them from the outset.  Decisions taken at the early stages can affect your business for many years to come.  For example, they can advise you on the best structure for your business and how to deal with other people that have a stake in your business.  (I will deal with some of these points in a future ‘accountancy’ post)

How do I find an accountant?

There are many ways to source professional services, but the key is to find someone you can trust and can work with.  You may be discussing sensitive issues so you need to be comfortable communicating with them.  Ask other business people for recommendations and introductions or attend networking events where you have the opportunity to speak to a potential adviser and find out whether they suit you and your business. Check that they are qualified, as this will ensure the quality of their services is regularly monitored.     Look no further! www.georgehay.co.uk

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Assuming you plan to operate a sole trader, here are a few pointers for you to consider.


  • Inform H M Revenue and Customs

You must inform the Tax Office that you are operating a business as a self-employed person so that  a ‘self-assessment record’ can be created. This will ensure you are issued with a Tax Return

You will also pay Class 2 National Insurance.  This ensures you are paying enough NIC to keep a continuous record should you need to claim benefits or a state pension in the future.  

If your household income is low, also ask them for tax credits application pack.


  • Open a business bank account

It is important to open a business bank account, not only will your bank be disgruntled if you continue to use your personal banking facilities for business, it will be difficult to segregate business transactions from personal, which may lead to complications later.  Shop around for the best deals, most high street banks offer free business banking for the first year for start-ups and don’t forget to build a relationship with your business bank manager, they have a lot of business experience to share with you.


  • Keep adequate records

You do not have to be a trained bookkeeper to maintain adequate business records; however failure to do so could make life very difficult if H M Revenue and Customs randomly pick your business for an enquiry as you will be unable to substantiate the amounts you have declared. In fact, you may find that you are not claiming relief for all that you are entitled if you do not have a clear record of your transactions.

Maintaining records is also a key part of managing an effective business as they will allow you to review your performance, check your customers are settling their accounts and assist you in managing cash flow.
  • VAT Registration

If your turnover exceeds the registration limit in any rolling twelve month period, registration is compulsory.  Until then, the decision whether to voluntarily register is dependant on your customers.  Generally, if they are registered, you may as well be.


  • Taxation

The tax year runs to 5th April.  Soon after this date you will receive a Tax Return.  You may need professional assistance with completing this, but if the business is very small and you have kept adequate records, it is fairly straight forward so should not cost you an arm and a leg!  This form must be completed and submitted to H M Revenue and Customs by the following 31st January.  If you are not completing the form online, it must be submitted 31st October. The Tax Office will calculate your liabilities for you, before they fall due on 31st January.


  • Business Support

There are many sources of business support for small businesses.  Search on the internet for local networking organisations, where you will find like minded individuals who are experiencing similar anxieties as you.  You may also find these networks are a valuable source of contacts for developing your business.

Find out if you have an Enterprise Agency or Business Link in your area.  These supply consultancy and workshops at heavily subsidised rates.

Ask your professional advisers, such as your accountant or bank manager, if they don’t know the answer, they should know some one who does.


  •  Business insurance

Can be an expensive overhead for a new business, but needs to be considered carefully.


  • Think positively

You are only as good as you believe you are….


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.