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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.

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

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (MTDfITSA). Are you ready?

Making tax digital for Income Tax Self Assessment

The Government has now pencilled in what they regard as a firm date to implement MTD for ITSA, for all landlords and business owners that have an income above £10,000.

The next accounting period starting on or after 06/04/2023 that meet the above mentioned criteria will need to be compiled & submitted via MTD-compatible software.

If you are self-employed or a landlord with a turnover greater than £10k, how will MTD affect you?

1.  You will need to submit a quarterly summary of your businesses income & expenses to HMRC using MTD-compliant software.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No longer can you do your tax return in one go, with a lot of our customers leaving it to December or even January before they come to see us.  As your tax agents, we would need your business transactions every 3 months, to compile, compute, and submit through to HMRC.

The timing of the quarterly updates is determined by the accounting period of the business but typically the 4 quarters will be:

  • 6 April to 5 July
  • 6 July to 5 October
  • 6 October to 5 January
  • 6 January to 5 April

2.  All your income and expenses will need to be individually logged electronically.  The technical term used is that every business transaction will have an ‘electronic signature’.  These signatures will then be submitted to HMRC every 3 months and you will receive an estimated tax projection for the year based on the information provided.

3.  At the end of the year, any non-business information, foreign income, other income, etc is added to finalise your tax affairs and submitted using the MTD-compatible software.  This replaces the need for a Self Assessment tax return.  You will then have Read more

Making Tax Digital – A New Time Line

Making Tax Digital (‘MTD’) was announced as the new initiative by HMRC to revolutionise and modernise the tax system in the UK.

MTD centres around keeping digital financial records that can then be accessed by software to calculate and submit taxes through to HMRC. The goal is that there will be direct ‘digital link’ between the financial record and the software used to calculate and submit the records and therefore ensuring an accuracy in the figures being generated.

With initial teething problems, MTD for VAT started back in April 2019, and as a result of various delays around Brexit & COVID-19, it still has not sailed out of its ‘soft-landing’ period.

On 21st July 2020 the Treasury published a 10-year plan to modernize the UK’s tax system which outlines a blueprint for the transition of the UK’s tax system into the digital age.

MTD for VAT

Introduced in April 2019, MTD for VAT had a soft-landing period where the rules for this ‘digital-link’ were relaxed.  Prior to COVID-19, April 2020 was the date stipulated where all digital links were to be in place for submissions.

As a direct consequence of COVID-19, it has been now been stated that as of 1st April 2021, the ‘soft-landing’ period comes to an end and all VAT registered businesses submitting VAT returns will need to ensure they have these digital links in place for their submissions.

Furthermore, from April 2022, MTD for VAT will apply to all VAT registered businesses and not just those that have a turnover greater than the VAT threshold.

MTD for Income Tax

The 10-year plan targets 6th April 2023 for self-employed businesses and unincorporated landlords to begin reporting Read more

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Watch Out – Fraudsters Are About!

Watch out for scam emails, texts & calls

Have you noticed a significant increase in the number of scam calls, phishing emails and dodgy texts to your mobile in recent weeks? We certainly have. Some of Taxfile’s customers have been asking if any are genuine, so we thought we’d send out this warning

If you receive a call, email or text from HMRC asking for your personal or financial details, it’s simple: DO NOT to give ANY information away via text, email or to someone calling you by telephone. They could be anyone! Your information will be used against you if it gets into the wrong hands — and that could potentially cost you a LOT of money. So if they call, text or email you out of the blue:

  • don’t confirm your date of birth,
  • don’t confirm your National Insurance Number,
  • don’t tell them your your mother’s Maiden name,
  • don’t confirm your Unique Taxpayer Reference (‘UTR’) or any other piece of personal or financial information,
  • … even if they say it’s urgent (most fraudsters will say it is, so as to panic you into divulging your information).

Even one bit of data given away can be dangerous these days. ‘Social Engineering’ scams can use one bit of information as a starting point to eventually build a more complete picture of your sensitive data. Once they have enough pieces of the jigsaw, they can potentially take over your identity, empty your bank account or go on a spending spree with a credit or debit card issued in your name. People have lost thousands! So, the message is to be careful not to give anything away via email, SMS/text or to someone who has telephoned you out of the blue.

If HMRC do send you a genuine email, text your mobile or call you, they will never ask for personal information, financial information or payment details. It may help you to check here to see a list of genuine communications that HMRC has recently sent.

If you’re going to give HMRC information and want to be sure it’s genuine, you need to Read more

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

2nd SEISS Grant Applications – NOW OPEN!

2nd SEISS grant now open for applications (started 17 August 2020)

The Government previously announced that, much like the furlough scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’) is to be extended for a second period and in fact it’s now open for applications.

If your business has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 on or after 14th July 2020 you can make a claim from 17th August 2020 for the second and final grant.

You can make a claim for the second grant, if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. 

Your eligibility for the 2nd SEISS grant must meet the same criteria as those outlined for the 1st grant:

  • you must have traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020;
  • you must have traded as self-employed in the tax year 2019/20;
  • you must have all intentions to trade as self-employed in the tax year 2020/21;
  • your average trading profits must be less than £50,0000;
  • your trade must have been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Like the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant is a taxable one. However, this time, it is based on 70% of your average monthly trading profits. It will be paid out in a single instalment, based on a 3-month period of average profits, and is capped at a maximum of £6,570.

Taxfile will be in touch with clients to remind them. Now that the 2nd grant is available, do feel free to call us if you’d like our assistance in helping you to make your claim.

Please remember the deadline for claiming the first SEISS grant was 13 July 2020. You can start claiming the second SEISS grant now, as it opened to applications on 17 August 2020.

Please call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000 if you need help to make a claim for either of these SEISS grants and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, fill in and submit the form below and we’ll be in touch to help you.

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[Article updated 17 August 2020].

Tax Returns for Self-Employed Londoners - Special Offer

Tax Returns for Self-Employed Londoners – Special Offer!

Tax returns for self-employed Londoners - Special Offer!
Are you self-employed? Are you late filing your 2018/19 Self-Assessment tax return? If so, now is the time to get Taxfile to sort it out for you.

There are 4 important reasons why you should file your tax return now:

1. Save money, with our special offer!

For a very limited time, we are offering to do 2018-19 Self-Assessment tax returns for self-employed Londoners for just £199 + VAT (our usual pricing is from £277 + VAT). That’s a saving of nearly £94 including VAT.

2. Stay eligible for Government Help during the lock-down

Self-employed people who are struggling financially during the coronavirus lock-down may be eligible for financial help from the Government. This is in the form of their recently announced Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’). However, to remain eligible, you must have filed your 2018/19 Self-Assessment tax return by 23 April. If you miss that deadline, you will no longer be eligible for that Government assistance.

3. Avoid severe fines from HMRC for being so late

The original deadline for submission of your 2018/19 Self-Assessment tax return was actually 31 January 2020. So, if you didn’t already file your tax return by that date, you already owe HMRC a fine of £100 minimum. That’s nothing, though, compared to the penalties they will start charging you after April. From 1 May, you will owe an additional £10 per day, every day from that date if you still haven’t filed your 2018/19 tax return. So, for example, after a week you’ll owe the original £100 plus an additional £70 as a minimum, or the £100 plus a further £140 after two weeks and so on. You may also be charged interest on top of all of that if you owed HMRC a tax payment on the original 31 January deadline and still haven’t paid it.

4. You may be due a tax rebate

Some self-employed people may be due a tax rebate. This depends upon your

Over 400 tax returns submitted

We Submitted Over 400 Tax Returns in January!

Over 400 tax returns submitted

Taxfile prepared and submitted more than 400 Self-Assessment tax returns for clients during January. That’s about a hundred a week and goes to show just how busy it gets for us during January, the busiest month in our accounting calendar.

Did you submit your tax return on time?

The deadline for submission of your tax return (and payment of any tax due) was 31st January at midnight. Did you manage to submit yours in time? If not, you’re already into the ‘penalty’ period where HMRC basically fine you for being late. The penalty comes in the form of an initial £100 fine but that increases, potentially very significantly, as you get later and later with your tax return submission. If you look at the table below, it’s safe to say that you can end up owing a thousand pounds or more if you bury your head in the sand and are 3 months late, or more.  If you continue to leave your tax payment and tax return submission outstanding for six months or more, the penalty is £1300 as a minimum – perhaps more (it depends upon how much tax you owe).

Late return penalties by HMRC

Is your tax return & tax payment late? Taxfile can help!

If you are late submitting your tax return or paying tax and don’t know how to straighten things out, don’t Read more

Late with your tax return and tax payment?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

[Updated August 2020] If you missed the deadline to submit your self-assessment tax return, the first thing to know is that you are now into the penalty stage. HMRC applies an automatic £100 penalty to those who are even 1 day late (the deadline was 11.59pm on 31st January) and further penalties are added if you take even longer to comply. It’s worse, of course, if you also haven’t paid any tax owed as you’ll then owe interest too, so our advice is to pay as much as you can as soon as possible, so you’ll reduce any element of interest. However, if there is a genuine reason why you were late with your return, and it fits certain criteria, you have the option to appeal …

Circumstances that are taken into account by HMRC when considering appeals include:

  • if a close relative or partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline;
  • if you had to stay in hospital unexpectedly;
  • if you had a life-threatening or serious illness;
  • if your computer or software failed at the time you were preparing your online return;
  • if HMRC’s online services were disrupted;
  • if you were prevented from filing your return or paying your tax because of a fire, flood or theft;
  • if there were unexpected postal delays;
  • and occasionally other reasons which, if genuine, HMRC may deem to be relevant.

Excuses that aren’t usually accepted by HMRC include: Read more