Bright beginnings: Start of the new tax year

Yes, it is that time of year again! Wednesday 6th April see’s the start of the new tax year. How can that be! It seems to come round faster and faster each year.

In this article we discuss how being prepared will help you ease out of one year and into the next without any issues.

Are you ready for the starting line?

Put aside time to carefully go through the last 12 months accounts. Make sure everything balances out, even down to the last penny. If it doesn’t find out where it has gone wrong and (if you can) action measures to correct it. You do not want to discover you have been overspending, or worse receive a fine from HMRC for inadequate book-keeping.

Take a good look through your accounts and see if everything is in order. Are there any invoices that haven’t been paid? If so, now is a good time to put in a polite call and ask for payment. Or, have you forgotten to issue any invoices? If the answer is ‘yes’ now is the time to get these issued and paid.

Can you get extra points? 

Sort through all your receipts and check that you have claimed tax relief on everything you are entitled to. Most people fail to do so and are missing out on millions of tax savings.  A comprehensive list of what can be claimed as a business expense can be found on the .gov website.

By now you should have received your tax code for 2016/17. Did you examine it carefully? No! Take another careful look at it. Is the figure correct? Don’t assume that it is. If something looks out of place speak to HMRC straight away.

Explore all possible avenues for tax savings, for instance does your business need a new piece of equipment such as a computer, then buying it before the end of the accounting year rather than after means you’ll get the capital allowance on that asset a whole year earlier.

Also, don’t forget your personal tax. Have you used as much as you can of this year’s ISA allowance? What about pension investments or donations to charity? Remember to keep a note of all these points that could save you tax!

Tips for a pain free 2016/17 

Keep everything in one place

The secret to a good filling system is being able to find something without even looking for it. Can you do that with your filling system? Like most, the answer is probably “No”. To create an effective filing system, you need to:

  • Create categories
  • Divide each category up into sub-categories
  • Label each file
  • Organise the files in alphabetical order

Finally, make filling a part of your daily routine and not a chore that you put off.

Know what can and can’t be claimed for

Find it difficult to remember what you can and can’t claim for? Bookmark our Resources page which explains in detail allowances, thresholds and entitlements for 2016/17.

Systems don’t have to be scary

Accurate book-keeping is the back-bone to your business. Not only is it a legal requirement to keep accurate financial records but a business that doesn’t know its income and outgoings is effectively working blind.

We recommend using a system that you are comfortable with and that is sufficient for what you need it to. There are numerous packages and apps available and these are great if you feel you need that level of software, but there is nothing wrong in using a standard Spreadsheet. Microsoft Excel or other similar packages have the ability to carry out such functions fairly easily.

If you struggle to keep on top of your accounts and are looking for professional assistance, speak to us today and we will be delighted to talk through our different service options. Alternatively, visit our Services section to find out which option suits you best.