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Helpful Guides


January 31 - Final date for lodging complete Self-Assessment Tax Return to avoid an automatic penalty

January 31 Self-Employed taxes (including Class 4 National Insurance) due:
a) Balancing Payment - ("Mop up") for previous year
b) First instalment for current year (an arbitrary figure)
c) Entire amount of Tax on Untaxed Sources of Income
(e.g. Rents, Interest, Pensions)
Interest is chargeable on late payment

March 31 - National Insurance (Class 2 due) until being phased out (after Class 4) [The law states that Contributions are required to be paid for every "Earnings week". Payment is either: Quarterly (by cheque) or by monthly Direct Debit.]

July 31 - Self-Employed taxes (including Class 4 National Insurance) due: until being phased out after Class 4 National Insurance.

Hint: In the first year of self-employment no one knows what the
"Earnings" are. If it is a short year then the small earnings limit may not have been exceeded. Therefore it is suggested that, with the agreement of the authorities no payments are made until after the next April.

April 6 Tax Returns issued.
Prior to this issue, our practice will issue its Tax Return Worksheet, and explanatory letter. All forms of Income (Earned, Secondary Employments, Additional Business' Commencements, Investment, Dividends, Rents Received) must be fully shown.

Any changes in Personal details (Changes of Marriage/Single Status, Personal Pension Contributions, Mortgages) must be stated on our worksheet.

Capital Gains Disposals - These must be shown. (Although for some years, the official tax return does not record Buying-in costs, until the Asset has been sold, it is prudent to advise Accountants of these)

The law states that the Tax Return must be returned fully completed to the HM Revenue & Customs by the following 31 January. Automatic penalties are levied once this date has passed and the form has not been FULLY lodged. Our practice requests that all forms, etc. are sent to us BY JULY 31 ANNUALLY. This ensures that the data is fresh in the mind, and minimises the costs of tax compliance. However, it is conceded that not all the vouchers and certificates that are an essential part of this task are received by clients by that date. A higher fee is often charged for tax returns processed long after 31 July annually.

· Collate all of these and send on to Accountants to ensure that this important aspect of your obligations is centralised.

April 19 - Where Employees are taken on the Annual Wages Return (form P35) must be completed.  After 6 April 2013, Real Time Information was introduced, and so filing of this Form would likely have been made. The Wages Year Ends on April 5 for all Employed Persons. (Remember that Self-Employed can chose their own Year End)
Fines and Penalties are automatically made by the HM Revenue & Customs for failure to lodge the Forms by their due date.

July 31 - Self-Employed taxes (including Class 4 National Insurance) due:
Second instalment for current year (an arbitrary figure)
Interest is chargeable on late payment

Self-assessment Tax Calculation (the "Tax Bill") might be issued direct to the Taxpayer
For our practice's clients that are up to date, we would have advised them what tax figures to expect, and when payable.

* Accountants should also receive a copy of the calculations, where the form authorising (64-8) this has been sent to the HM Revenue & Customs. But this does not always happen in practice, so it is best to check. Where lack of notification of change of address (Taxpayer's Accountants, even the HM Revenue & Customs) occurs, obviously problems can arise.

………… (variable date) - (Financial) Accounts are due for preparation Do not delay in providing ALL information to Accountants. Normally a free ABC Accounts Book will be sent to clients around on week prior to their year-end, so that continuity for the next year can be made.


2.1 ALL entries on the Bank Statements must be shown in the (free ABC) Accounts Books. Omissions will, if discovered by the HM Revenue & Customs, lead to suspicion - and probably - inflated tax bills

2.2 Spouse's Wages - Where, say, a person does not have any other paid job, and assists in the other's business, then it is permissible to pay a Wage that is tax deductible. However the amount must be reasonable (commercially) taking into account the duties involved. It must also be correctly recorded. If in any week the amount exceeds the National Insurance (lower) threshold then National Insurance must be applied, even if no tax limit threshold has been reached. Registration of a Payroll Scheme to reflect this expense is recommended.  Check with Accountants at the end of March annually for these limits and application to YOUR tax position.

What can I claim for?

2.3 Expenses - These can only be claimed as being tax deductible if they are in the words of the law "laid out for the purpose of the business". There are three types of expense:
Revenue Expenditure - The day to day BUSINESS expense (e.g. Stock, Rent, Electricity, Gas, Telephone, Petrol, Insurance, Road Tax and a long list of others). The test is "could you justify that the money was laid out for your particular business." Beware that if it is "tarnished" with an element of personal choice (or use) then HM Revenue & Customs would disallow it as "duality of purpose". That is why office workers cannot get suits of clothing allowed, but a builder's overalls are tax deductible as special clothing rather than for decency. Meals are a human necessity not a business one so these cannot be tax deductible. Receipts should be kept of all recorded business expenses as without them, on an investigation, HM Revenue & Customs could allege that "no proper records have been kept". However reasonable estimates could be made in certain circumstances. Nevertheless it has been known that HM Revenue & Customs would disallow the CONSISTENT recording of unsubstantiated round sum entries.

Capital Expenditure - Money laid out for a long-term purpose (e.g. Business Plant, Equipment, Motor Vehicles, and Repayments of Business Loans - all capable of lasting more than at least one year). Special tax reliefs called Capital Allowances are allowed for this. But they are not 100% of the money laid out. Often 18% written down annually.

Drawings - Money WITHDRAWN from the "business" for the private purpose of its owner. These are commercially legitimate, and without these, one's living expenses could not be met. Therefore if they were not taken, HM Revenue & Customs would want to know how living expenses were met - or assume that not all business receipts were recorded in the books.
[Wealth warning: To take too much in Drawings/Owners Wages could commercially damage the business.]

"Expenses” is often a term popularly applied to money taken from a business account. But its tax implications can be interpreted in more than one way, as has been shown above.

2.4 Cash Drawn from the business.

Cash for expenses is essential for day-to-day expenditure. It is sensible to "Cash" a cheque/Cash Card (say weekly) for this. However where Cash is taken from
the business for Private/Living purposes, the Cash Drawn from the business must be enough after recording the business expenses to allow for this.

2.5 VAT (Value Added Tax) - If the business is VAT registered, any proposal made by HM Revenue & Customs should immediately be confirmed with Accountants. If a business starts without the necessity to be VAT registered, and subsequently grows, regular monitoring of its TURNOVER must be made to ensure that no VAT Late Registration Penalty is encountered. Registration is done directly between HM Revenue & Customs and the Trader, although Accountants can register a client online. Previously HM Revenue & Customs did not recognise Accountants registering their clients. Even so where clients have requested us to help in a professional capacity in filling out the forms and posting them on, we are happy to do so. We have even (twice) beaten Customs at the VAT Tribunal (in 1986) for its unfair tactics in allegations against two separate clients

2.6 Separate Bank Accounts - If using a Business Bank Account and a Private Bank Account ensure that monthly transfers are adequate to balance the "Household Budget", and that any other Bankings into the Private Account are identified as to the "Nature of the Source". Otherwise the HM Revenue & Customs would regard them as "undeclared income".

2.7 Multiple Bank Accounts - These have so often proven to be the downfall of many clients in their business and record keeping that to use other than one business and one private bank account plus a round pound saving account is the recommended limit of bank accounts. The ABC Multi Accounts Book has been designed to attempt to cater for this. But without the services of a suitably trained Bookkeeper, preparation of a set of Financial Accounts has ceased to be economical.

2.8 Savings Accounts (e.g. Building "Society") - It is strongly recommended that this should be opened so as to make provisions to meet your statutory liabilities of Tax and National Insurance(s), when these fall due. HM Revenue & Customs charges interest from the due date when payment is not met on time

3. TAX AND FINANCIAL PLANNING (Check with Accountants first)

3.1 Vehicles/Plant - Consider changing before the end of your Accounting Year. But this is always dependent upon the "Cash Flow" position. Clients who did not over commit themselves in times of recession, found that their businesses did not fail on this score

3.2 Pension - Payment can be made on a regular monthly standing-order basis with a "Top Up" of a single premium around March annually.

3.3 Any problems - Please feel free to ring Accountants during usual office hours for any query. Short telephone calls are not charged to clients. If they become long, or technical, a time entry will be made. Emails are welcomed, but please bear in mind that these will be treated in the same way as “stamped” post, and will, of necessity, unlikely be replied to instantly – Good accountants are busy people, they do have other clients.
3.6 Delivery of Books Again during office hours this can normally be done. But it is strongly recommended that a prior telephone call be made first (see below 3.6 Personal visits). There is no detailed checking of clients' books on receipt. Detailed checking occurs when the job is commenced. Parcel post (with Compensation fee) can often prove to be efficient and economical. Acknowledgement of receipt of books is normally issued together with a further "have you thought of" list of commonly omitted items.

3.7 Use of post/Royal Mail - Clients are requested to note that by writing at least their names on the reverse of all envelopes, rapid identification of clients' files can be made. The Royal Mail has also refused to deliver under-stamped items. Often clients send in un-necessary papers such as HM Revenue & Customs Booklets, etc. that add weight to the package.

3.6 Personal visits - It would be appreciated that if a personal visit is considered, that the courtesy of a prior telephone call be made. Unscheduled visits do tend to disrupt the workflow. Visits to clients' premises are often undertaken, and so your journey - and time - could be wasted.

3.7 Accountants Fees - These are based upon time and expertise. Time records are maintained and interim fee notes are raised when a disproportionate amount of time has accrued. All fees are payable at the time of presentation.

If the foregoing arrangements are faithfully kept to, fees can remain economical. A standing order facility exists to help clients budget for fees, if requested.