Running a small business is hard work, much harder than anyone ever gives you credit for. It requires you to master many skills and take responsibility for so many aspects of running a company, it can be easy to get swamped. With the day to day running of any business taking up so much time, keeping track of taxes can be a challenge, but there are things you can do to ensure you keep on top of everything.
Keep track of your key accounting events
One of the most crucial things you need to do when dealing with tax is to submit paperwork and payments on time. HMRC issue fines for any delays, whether it is payment of owned taxes or documentation itself. It is, unfortunately, surprisingly easy to forget to send something in when you are under pressure with work deadlines or other aspects of your business.
To avoid this, the first thing to do is create a list of the various important tax related dates for your business. You can do this manually, or through software. Google’s own calendar software is free and available online to any connected device you have and is a popular choice, while many use Microsoft’s Outlook which is part of the Office software package. Either one, or the many alternatives, not only keeps the dates visible for you, but can send you email messages as deadlines approach to ensure you never miss a submission again.
A good accountant will be able to help you with this, not only the dates, but preparing your submissions as well.
The key to having control of your tax situation is to be organised. Keep all tax related documentation, including invoices, expense receipts and so on well organised and easily accessible. For the ultimate security, scan each document and store them all in a cloud storage solution for offsite peace of mind. Dropbox is great for this, but they have several competitors now, and seeking out the best offer available can bring significant savings.
This is doubly important for VAT registered businesses because of the need to keep all receipts safe and searchable so you can reclaim VAT from your expenditure. Again, digitised documents can help administration, but the physical documents must always be stored safely as well.
Make the most of your allowances
If you do any work from home, you can be eligible to recover a portion of household costs as a business expense using the home-office allowance. Your accountant can help you with the details of your own specific situation.
That is not the only allowance available to you, personal allowances matter as well. Specifically, the personal marriage allowance available to both married couples and civil partners. Here, if one of you is earning less than £10,600 and the other is paying tax at the basic rate, you could receive up to £212 in a tax-free personal allowance.
For salary and other payments to yourself, it is always worthwhile to consult your accountant for best advice. With a myriad of options including salary, dividends and so on, an accountant can direct you to the most tax efficient way of receiving your money from your business.
While any business owner knows that there never seem to be enough hours in the day for all the things that are required in a successful company, keeping on top of tax issues is really important. Not just for ensuring your business meets its legal requirements, but to save on stress and can even save money long term. Instead of letting everything build up, following these guidelines each week can help you avoid tax problems, and with the help of a good accountant can make the tax side of your business a stress free experience.