October 2014

All posts from October 2014

Save money with the National Insurance Holiday for new businesses

by George Granville on October 23, 2014

National Insurance Contributions or NIC’s are part of the costs of running a company with more than 1 employee. In the current economic climate businesses are now finding it more and more difficult to cut back costs and improve growth so in 2010 the government introduced the National Insurance Holiday scheme.

The NI Holiday scheme allows new businesses outside London, the South East and the East of England an employer NIC holiday worth up to £5,000 for each of the first ten qualifying employees, in the first year of business.

Can I apply for the National Insurance Holiday scheme? 

Like all government programmes there are restrictions with the National Insurance Holiday scheme.

  • You can only apply if your business is located outside of London and the South East of England. All companies in the North East, North West, South West, The Midlands and Yorkshire areas are allowed to apply and also those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Your business has to have been established after the budget on 22nd of June 2010. The scheme will end in June 2013 so there is only a year left for new start-up businesses to apply and benefit from the programme.
  • You can apply to the scheme if your business is a Sole Trader, Company, Partnership, Property / Investment business or Trading charity.

Are there any connotations with applying for the National Insurance Holiday scheme? 

First of all if you are a business that doesn’t have a principal place of work for example if you travel by road or if you’re an internet based company then it may not be obvious where the place of work is. HMRC do have advice on their website about this problem.

All employees count towards the limit of ten employees regardless of whether they:

  • Don’t earn enough to trigger the NIC deductions
  • Are part-time or casual staff
  • Are family members or directors
  • Have more than one job
  • Are over pension age

This hinders the real impact of the scheme so you really have to make sure that all of your employees really do count so that your company can reap the benefits of the programme.

The employer NICs holiday is ‘de minimis State Aid’ which means there are specific European Commision regulations that both HMRC and the candidate business is not in one of the excluded sectors e.g. the coal sector, road freight transport sector and businesses involved in export-related activities.

It should be made clear whether your business is actually new. Businesses that have recently changed ownership or was formerly part of another established business may find it tricky to be considered a ‘new business’ for the scheme. You will need to confirm that your business doesn’t fall into one of the excluded categories before going on to apply for the holiday.

In the current economic climate it will do no harm for start-up businesses to take advantage of the government scheme. Whilst reports state that the scheme is failing due to no increase in employment rates those reports don’t affirm the fact that over 10,000 businesses in the UK are now prospering and developing encouragingly due to the holiday money that they have received.

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George GranvilleSave money with the National Insurance Holiday for new businesses

Five tips to remember for your annual tax returns

by George Granville on October 23, 2014

Tax returns can be a daunting time of the year especially if you haven’t undertaken this procedure before. As the recession hits more people, those that were in employment are now turning to the self-employed sector and some with no idea as to how to file for annual tax returns. We have included Drummond’s 5 tips to remember for your annual tax returns.

1. Do I have to file a tax return? 

If you are an employee you usually need to be earning a certain level of income, benefits or income that isn’t taxed, before it is necessary to file a personal tax return – although there are different rules for business owners. If you are either an employee or director in a business that is a partnership, sole trader or a limited company, then you generally do have to complete a tax return.

2. Keep a record of every expense 

One of the biggest areas that small businesses get caught out is when they don’t keep record of every expense throughout the year. As long as you keep good records, your tax return should be pretty straight forward and you can claim for expenses that you have spent money on for example business travel – including petrol, train and bus fares and also taxis. Although you can’t claim for your everyday commute from home to work and back again. You can also claim for office expenses like rental space.

If your small business is set up at home then you can claim for several of your home running costs. Usually you will spend a third of your time working from home so just work out a third of your bills e.g. electricity, gas and water – these are the expenses you can claim for in your annual tax return if you work from home.

3. Exclude VAT 

If your business is registered for VAT then you should remember that the figure for trading income will be your sales exclusive of VAT. If your business is registered on the Flat Rate VAT scheme then this figure would be your sales net of Flat Rate VAT.

4. Check on your accountant 

If you have an accountant make sure that they are on the ball and ready for the tax return deadline at the end of January. If you don’t have an accountant and filing your tax returns this year has been an absolute headache then phone Drummond and see what we can do for you to make your business better prepared for the tax year ahead.

5. Save money 

It is a good idea to keep money saved for the next tax year. Make a record of your business’s profits and your tax liability, this will give you the chance to see what you might owe and allow you to put money away throughout the year to make sure that cash-flow doesn’t become a problem. This simple strategy could make a different between stopping your business from going under and seeing it grow and prosper.

Remember tax returns don’t have to be taxing. If you are organised throughout the year either by hiring an accountant or just keeping tabs on all your business’s expenses then the process of filing your annual tax returns will be an easy process. If you think your business could do with the help of an accountant, get in touch with Drummond and see how we could help you.

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George GranvilleFive tips to remember for your annual tax returns