It's that time of year again, start of the new financial year. Time to balance your accounts and submit your tax return online. For many of us who are managing our own accounts it's a time we dread and put off as long as possible. I decided this year I was going to go for the opposite approach and learn as much as I can about tax in the few days before the end of the financial year, keep on top of my accounts and then submit my tax return on the 5th of April to get it over and done with so I didn't have to worry about it.
Well unfortunetly the tax office foiled my good intentions by taking the self assessment system offline for the first week of the financial year! Don't quite understand why they would do that given that they've had between Jan-April to do any necessary system upgrades.
But anyway in my advance preparations I learnt a few things that I wanted to share, firstly I found a pretty useful book called Small Business Tax Planning which I have reviewed here. As with any book on this subject it would be hard going to read from start to finish, however it's very useful to dip in and out of if you have any questions.
Secondly, I discovered that the HMRC have started running online seminars on a range of subjects for the self employed which are great. They have pre-recorded webinars which you can watch at any time online or they have live webinars which you can sign up to running several times a week. Personally I found the live one very useful because after they have a 30 min Q & A session where you can get all your tax questions answered.
I learnt a few useful things during the seminar, including the fact that Class 2 NI contributions don't count as a business expense and therefore shouldn't come out of your business. Instead they are a personal expense so you should be paying them from your personal funds, or from drawings taken from the business.
If you don't make it to one of the webinars they have some useful fact sheets and advice online, and you can call their helpline 0845 915 4515 Monday - Saturday to ask for help.
The main thing is to remember is that it's easier to keep on top of it rather than put it off and delay the inevitable. If you get your tax return done now you don't have to worry about it for the next year and can feel smug when you see others having that last minute panic in January! :-) Good luck with it everyone.