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Last resort for tax returns this year

Every Day of January is the 31st

Every Day of January is the 31st

HMRC have announced that those members of the public not able to pay their taxes or submit tax returns on time will be able to appeal against the late filing penalties they will inevitably get this winter. From what we have been hearing HMRC are expecting everyone to have adequate proof of sickness. Does this mean that they will be expected to waste the time of the medical community who, if I am right, are rather busy these days?

What will happen if tax filers struggle with the HMRC online service and cannot get help over the phone, perhaps because HMRC are closing early, not open over the two Sundays, under-staffed on the helplines and rather strangely make you wait 40 minutes in a queue (which has been the case the past year)?

What are people to do?

Buy last minute accounting software from some of the companies climbing on the band wagon to further stress and pressure people into adopting overbearing products and systems designed for businesses not necessarily for sole traders, who probably use their personal bank accounts to get paid, so have mixed use issues? These software products are now being pedalled to the public as the fix-all solution — but who wants to have all their personal bank info imported into a tax and accounting package? Are people expected to analyse every minutiae and, in doing so, become experts on what they can claim or most likely not claim anyway! Or have to master percentages for use of things such as telephone, Internet usage and then apportion in the software (how does this work if at all)?

When I worked with the office of tax simplification we worked out what was actually happening in society and gave it credence;

  • People earn an income from dealing with their clients;
  • They may or may not provide materials or use tools;
  • They may or may not use transport;
  • They probably have some communication and technology costs;
  • Then they may have some professional costs like insurance.

It’s hardly rocket science.

When you come to use the HMRC software it leads you through the maze somewhat similar to the psychology of coping with your first orientation of a new Ikea store!

So I can tell you …

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10 days to the tax return deadline!

10 DAYS to the Self Assessment Tax Return Deadline!

10 days to the self-assessment tax return deadline!

[As at 21 January 2021]: There are only 10 days left in which to file your Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. Miss the deadline (31st January) and you’ll straight away be in for a £100 HMRC fine, so don’t delay — contact Taxfile for help with your tax return. Book a time-slot* with one of our helpful tax advisors and accountancy experts TODAY and we’ll make it easy! Read more

Act NOW & get 5% Off 2019-20 Self-Assessment Tax Return Fees

Act NOW & get 5% Off 2019-20 Self-Assessment Tax Return Fees

Act NOW & get 5% Off 2019-20 Self-Assessment Tax Return Fees

Have you contacted us about your 2019-20 Self Assessment tax return yet?

If not, please get in touch early this month (November). You’ll save 5% or more¹ by acting right away. You’ll also avoid the coming bottleneck if you act now. So, please get in touch:

We’ll then confirm the next steps.

1. If you supply everything in time for us to submit your tax return by 30 November 2020, you’ll save 5% off our standard tax return fees. You’ll save even more compared to the higher prices that we’ll need to impose closer to the self-assessment deadline. Our prices will also increase very soon to cover weekend working and overtime to cater for those who leave it to the last minute. Please bear in mind that the pandemic lock-down will make things even harder than usual, so please act now and plan ahead.

2. Worried about COVID? There’s no need! We can do ‘virtual’ meetings instead, for example by telephone, Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime or whatever suits you best. So, we don’t even need to meet face-to-face. Just give us a call on 020 8761 8000 to discuss your preferences. We’re here to help!

Taxfile are accountants and tax advisors in South London and the South West, with offices in Tulse Hill, Dulwich, Battersea & Devon.

How To Help Your Accountant Save You Money

How to help your accountant save you money

There are many benefits of helping your accountant by providing complete and organised records from the outset.

Here are some of them:

  • If you get your records to your accountant on time, you will give them enough time to work on your case without unnecessary pressure and file everything on time (don’t forget you are not their only client).
  • By providing organised and detailed records, you’ll understand your business performance better and it will save them time from processing and reorganising untidy paperwork.
  • By providing complete records of your business expenses, they can claim what is allowable and potentially reduce your tax bill.

When preparing your financial records you need to remember:

  • Separate your business from your personal finances.
  • Stay on top of your records and ensure they are orderly with no gaps in the dates.
  • Keep receipts and purchase invoices; you will need to provide proof of all expenditure and year-end creditors.
  • Bring bank statements for the complete period and downloads of your bank feed in .csv format if possible.
  • Sequential invoices for each sale, dated, to prove year-end debtors and accrued income.
  • Depending on your business, you may also need to keep records for things such as payroll, cash books, stock takes, travel and credit card statements.

Taxfile offer the full spectrum of accountancy services.

In an ideal world:

  • It is much better to keep on top of these things monthly than leaving it until the end of the year, where you may have lost or forgotten data around expenses, sales, or other financial details.
  • You would have a software package to help you track your bank, expenses, and sales.

At Taxfile we provide the full spectrum of accountancy-related services; integrating your business with accounting software like Xero, oversee your bookkeeping, run VAT returns and payroll, to filing your year-end accounts, corporation tax return & director(s) tax return(s).

Call  us on 0208 761 8000 if you would like to streamline your businesses finances and alleviate some pressures from your financial duties as a director. Alternatively, book an appointment with us here or drop us a message here — we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Need a Limited Company? Questions you may be asking yourself

Need a Limited Company: Questions you may be asking yourself

“What are the main differences between being self-employed and running a limited company?”

“What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a private limited company?”

The major difference between running a private limited company and being self-employed are the administrative requirements you are required to do by law & although the volume is more, the data contained within those returns are pretty similar to being a sole trader.

A limited company will:

  • need to keep company records
  • report any changes to Companies House & HMRC
  • need to file an annual company tax return along with the company’s accounts, giving an undistorted view of its finances.

So why go through the extra cost and resources of having a Limited Company?

In forming a limited company, you are limiting your personal liability.  What this means is that the Limited Company becomes a legal entity of its own.  Think of it as another being, that you work for.  However, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot abuse your power with the limited liability, to take selfish and unnecessary risks.  As a director, you are ethically and morally responsible for the business decisions and transactions the company makes.

As a director of a private limited company you will:

  • make decisions that benefit the company rather than your own
  • abide by the rules and regulations outlined by the company Articles of Association, which are written rules about running the company agreed by the shareholders or guarantors, directors and the company secretary
  • notify any shareholders if you might benefit personally from a company transaction
  • always act with the intention of making the company successful.

Having a Limited company can also add professionalism to your business.  This can help your business become even more successful because customers, clients, and B2B companies will be more inclined to trust you and buy your products or services if you are a limited company rather than a sole trader. It is quite common for B2B companies only to trade with another limited company as a general rule.

A final benefit is, if you have a profitable Limited Company, how you distribute salaries and dividends can have income tax savings, especially once your Read more

Small Trader? Make the Most of These 2 Allowances!

Small Trader? Make the Most of These 2 Allowances!

Small trader? Make the most of these 2 allowances!

Small traders with very modest incomes are currently eligible for a couple of very useful allowances. Both of these could save them money — and some paperwork:

1. Tax-Free Allowance for small traders

If you receive income of no more than £1000 per annum (before expenses) from property or trading income, you don’t need to tell HMRC, you don’t need to pay tax and usually you don’t need to do a self-assessment tax return. If you have both types of income and each earns you no more than £1000 gross per annum, you are usually eligible for the tax-free allowance in BOTH cases! There are exceptions, of course, but these are the general guidelines. Income from property or land speaks for itself, while ‘trading‘ would include things like self-employment, hiring out personal equipment or services like gardening, window cleaning or babysitting. Partnerships are not eligible.

2. Trading Income Allowance

If you are paying tax but have expenses below £1000 per annum, you could reduce the tax by claiming for ‘Trading Income Allowance’ instead of claiming for the actual expenses themselves. In effect, it’s like claiming for £1000 worth of expenses rather than the lower amount of expenses that you’ve incurred in reality. This aspect is all explained in greater detail, with a simple example, in our previous Trading Income Allowance article here.

It’s important to know, though, that you cannot claim both the Read more

Don't miss THIS on your self-assessment tax return!

Don’t Miss THIS on your Tax Return! (Checklist)

Don't miss THIS on your self-assessment tax return! (Checklist)

The standard Self-Assessment Tax Return includes all the usual areas that you’d expect to have to confirm to HMRC. These include the obvious things like personal details, information about income for the period in question, any assets, dividends, interest received, pensions and so on.

However, there are a number of additional areas that you need to check and confirm before the return is submitted and filed with HMRC. It’s not an exhaustive list, but things people sometimes miss and that you need to check you have allowed for (if applicable) include:

  • Employment Income — have you confirmed any employment income? Have you supplied Taxfile, if we’re your tax agent or accountant, with copies of P60’s and P11D’s. Did you have any employment expenses?
  • Self-Employment Income or Partnership Income — have you confirmed any self-employed or partnership income and relevant expenses? Have you supplied all CIS vouchers, invoices, cash income etc. if applicable?
  • UK Land & Property Income — have you confirmed any rental income and relevant expenses for each property you perhaps rent out?
  • Foreign Income — did you receive any foreign income? Have you confirmed it?
  • Trust Income — did you receive any trust income or are you treated as having received any trust income?
  • Capital Gains — have you sold any assets or investments which may be subject to capital gains tax e.g. a rental house, stocks and shares etc?
  • Residence — were you, for all or part of the year, not resident, not ‘ordinarily resident’ or not ‘domiciled’ in the UK?
  • Investment Income — have you confirmed any bank/building society interest, dividends, etc?
  • Pension Income — are you in receipt of any? It needs confirming if so.
  • Any other income received that doesn’t fit into any of the above e.g. Job Seekers Allowance, Tax Credits? Child Benefit is an important one, especially if one parent is earning £50k or more. Marriage Allowance is another.
  • Do you have a pension that you pay into? If so, how much did you pay for the period in question?
  • Have you given any money to charity? Higher rate taxpayers can usually get extra tax relief on this.
  • Do you have a student loan?
  • Are you subject to the High Income Benefit Charge?
  • Do you use a service company?
  • Have you been paying your National Insurance?
  • Have you been keeping good records?

Taxfile will always prompt you to check for things like these if you’re our customer, before we submit your tax return on your behalf. As we say above, though, the list is not an exhaustive one, so there may be other information we need, depending upon your individual situation. The list of what HMRC requires each year also Read more

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

Bounce Back Loans for Struggling Businesses: Ending 30 November!

If your small or medium-sized business has struggled due to adverse trading conditions caused by the pandemic, it may be eligible for a support loan through the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (‘BBLS’). However, time is running out — you only have until 4 November 2020* to arrange the loan with a lender. That’s just a few weeks away at time of writing. There are some great features, so don’t miss out if you need financial support …

Bounce Back Loans are interest-free for 12 months (with no repayments being required during that time). Thereafter, the interest will be just 2½% per annum. Small businesses can borrow between £2000 and £50,000 depending upon their turnover (the maximum allowed is 25% of their turnover in the 2019 calendar year, up to the £50k ceiling). Another major feature is that the Government guarantees the loan. BBLS loans have a six year term, but you can repay the loan early without incurring an early redemption fee.

The main requirements around eligibility are that:

  • your business is UK based;
  • it was established before 1st march 2020;
  • it has been adversely affected by the pandemic;
  • it is not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring.

N.B. Banks, insurers (excluding brokers), re-insurers, public-sector bodies and state-funded primary/secondary schools are not eligible.

* IMPORTANT NOTE: many of the high street banks now seem to be stating a deadline of the end of November instead of the 4th. However, Taxfile’s advice is to apply before 4th November (the Government’s official, published deadline) to avoid possible disappointment.

A few other caveats apply, so Read more

Job Support Scheme Replaces the Job Retention Scheme from 1st November 2020

The Job Support Scheme for employees starts 1 November 2020

The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) winds down at the end of October. It will be followed, for the next six months, by a new job support scheme, which subsidises the wages of employees working at least a third of their normal hours, to further support viable UK employers who face lower demands due to COVID-19.

In an attempt to keep employees attached to the workforce, the Government will be introducing a new Job Support Scheme from 1 November 2020, where employees will need to work a minimum of 33% of their usual hours.

For every hour not worked the employer and the Government will each pay one third of the employee’s usual pay. The government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.

Employees using the scheme will receive at least 77% of their pay (where the Government contribution has not been capped) & the employer will be reimbursed in arrears for the government contribution. The employee must not be on a redundancy notice.

The scheme will run for six months from 1 November 2020 and is open to all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme.

All Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible. Large businesses will be required to demonstrate that Read more

Further Delays on the Roll-Out of the Domestic Reverse Charge for the Building & Construction Services.

The domestic reverse-charge is a major change to the way VAT is collected by HMRC in the building and construction industry reporting under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

It was being introduced to combat VAT fraud in the sector and the initial roll-out on 1st October 2019 was delayed due to a combination of the sector being ill-prepared for the change and Brexit. The date was moved forward 12-months to 1st October 2020 but due to COVID-19 the start date has been further advanced to 1st March 2021.

At Taxfile, we will start contacting our VAT clients working under the CIS, in preparation for the 1st March 2021 start date.

If you would like to know how to prepare your business for this, you will need to: Read more