Thursday, 20 January 2011

Paying your self assessment bill online

If your 2009/10 self assessment tax return has already been submitted (well done!), you should have received a self assessment statement this week. This statement includes a payslip and instructions on the back with all the possible methods of payment.

If you have only recently submitted your return (or, like many others, still in the last minute panic of trying to submit before the 31 January deadline!), you can pay your bill online here:

Get in touch if you need any more information on how to pay the bill. Make sure you do it before 31 January. If you are unable to make the payment before 31 January, call HMRC's business payment support service (0845 302 1435) to see if they are able to assist you in arranging a payment plan.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Small accountancy practice (currently 40-50 clients) established in 2006 as a sole practitioner, operating from home office in Marple Bridge, working with small local businesses and individuals on their accounting and taxation affairs.

6 hours per week initially (on one day or two mornings). Possibility of additional hours later on as business is growing rapidly.

Training on Sage and Iris accountancy software to be provided.

Minimum requirements:
Interpersonal skills (close working relationships in small office, and dealing with clients)
Organisational skills
Computer literacy (particularly Microsoft Office)

Detailed list of responsibilities can be provided upon request.

Contact Kate Scott on 07855 785 450 or send your CV to

Monday, 11 October 2010

Employed or Self Employed?

If you are working as a sole trader and spend a lot of time working for one client, be careful! The HMRC could deem you to be an employee (they would prefer you to be as they get a lot more tax in this way). Check out the following guidance to ensure you don't get caught out by this (can also be found at

As a general guide as to whether a worker is an employee or self-employed; if the answer is 'Yes' to all of the following questions, then the worker is probably an employee:

•Do they have to do the work themselves?
•Can someone tell them at any time what to do, where to carry out the work or when and how to do it?
•Can they work a set amount of hours?
•Can someone move them from task to task?
•Are they paid by the hour, week, or month?
•Can they get overtime pay or bonus payment?

If the answer is 'Yes' to all of the following questions, it will usually mean that the worker is self-employed:

•Can they hire someone to do the work or engage helpers at their own expense?
•Do they risk their own money?
•Do they provide the main items of equipment they need to do their job, not just the small tools that many employees provide for themselves?
•Do they agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of how long the job may take?
•Can they decide what work to do, how and when to do the work and where to provide the services?
•Do they regularly work for a number of different people?
•Do they have to correct unsatisfactory work in their own time and at their own expense?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Reclaiming income tax on allowable expenses incurred as an employee

As an employee you may be able to reduce your tax bill by getting tax relief on any professional fees, subscriptions or other expenses you incur wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the course of your employment, which have not been reimbursed by your employer.

If you don't complete Self Assessment Tax returns you can go back several years to get the relief.

It may be that in order to do your job you need to have your name included on a professional register or to have a special licence. Or it could be that it's very helpful to belong to an organisation whose activities are necessary to your work. Either way you'll pay registration fees or membership subscriptions - usually every year. You may be able to deduct the cost of these from your taxable income and reduce the amount of tax you pay.

You may get tax relief on professional fees and subscriptions if you have registered, obtained a licence or become a member of the organisation in question because it's necessary to your work and HMRC has approved the organisation you're a member of (see

You can't get tax relief on any fees and subscriptions that you pay to an organisation that HMRC hasn't approved.

You won't be entitled to tax relief on a life membership subscription, or if you haven't paid for the allowable professional fees and subscriptions yourself - for example if your employer has paid them and has agreed a 'dispensation' with HMRC
When HMRC approves an organisation and adds it to the HMRC list they ask the organisation to let their members know that they might be entitled to tax relief on their fees or subscriptions. Your organisation can tell you how much you are allowed to deduct.

The first time you ask for tax relief for your expenses you'll have to contact HMRC in writing. If your expenses are over £1,000 they will ask you to fill in form P87 to give more details.

Contact me if you have any other employment expenses you believe you may be able to claim relief for and I can advise you further. I can also provide a letter template for submitting your claim to HMRC.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Self Assessment Tax Return - what I need from you

I can't believe another 5th April has been and gone. So it's time for you to get your admin hats on and start getting all that paperwork together so I can prepare your tax return.

This is a general list of what I will need from you. All circumstances are different, so please just use this list as a guide and don't hesitate to ask me if you have any other income and you are not sure whether or not it is liable to income tax:


If you scan and email me your P60 (and/ or P45 if you have changed jobs) this will normally be all I need. Your employer / pension provider / benefit provider is legally obliged to send this to you by the 31 May following the tax year end.
If you receive benefits from your employer I will also need to see your form P11d.
If you have incurred costs in the course of your employment for which you have not been reimbursed by your employer (eg use of own car), please do let me know as you can get tax relief for expenditure incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for your job (the regular commute to your office doesn't qualify for this unfortunately).
For the state pension, the Pension Service will send an annual letter stating your entitlement. Please provide me with a copy.


See my previous blog entry for the records of self employment. Normally I will just need you to send me the completed excel template and a copy of the final business bank statement corresponding to the year end. I can always ask for further details later should I need them.

3/ Confirmation of INVESTMENT INCOME

Please provide me with dividend vouchers for income you have received from your shareholdings during the year. This includes dividends from any family company.
Your bank or building society will send you an annual summary of interest paid and the tax that has already been deducted from this interest. Please send a copy to me (preferably scanned and emailed).
I don't need to see any details of your ISAs.

4/ Confirmation of PROPERTY INCOME

I need to know how much rental income you have received related to each property during the year (and the related agent commissions that have been deducted, if applicable).
If you have started renting out a property during the year I need you to decide whether you are going to elect to take a 10% wear and tear allowance to cover the costs of renting the property out, or whether you are going to keep all the receipts for repairs and maintenance you have done to the property during the year. Once you have made this election it can't be changed in the future.
If you go for the latter, I need a listing of all the expenditure during the year.
If you need to visit the property eg to collect the rent, don't forget to charge 40p per mile (or your bus/ train ticket) as a property expense.
Please ask for more details of which repairs and maintenance costs are tax allowable.
Please let me know if this property is a furnished holiday letting.

5/ Confirmation of OTHER INCOME

Please let me know if you have any other income (eg foreign income, gains on life assurance policies etc etc) and you are unsure whether it falls under the self assessment bracket. I can then let you know which, if any, further information I need.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sole Trader Accounting Records

In order to prepare your year end accounts in the most efficient way, I need you to provide me with the following records:

1/ Completed Excel accounts template (please ask me to email this if you don't already have it), listing sales and purchases information.

2/ Bank statements downloaded from online banking in excel format (or paper bank statements if downloading really isn't an option)

3/ The total business mileage travelled during the year. Your records should be itemised in detail but I just need the total amount. Business mileage is any journey completed wholly, exclusively and necessarily for business purposes (eg purchasing stock, visiting a client), excluding commuting to your permanent place of work.

4/ Stock value as at period end. The stock should be valued at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Therefore if you have some old stock that you think you'll struggle to sell, revalue it at the price you think you'll be able to get for it, if this is below the original cost you paid for it.

5/ Average number of days per week and weeks in the year that you work from your home office.

6/ Details of contributions to pension schemes during the tax year.

7/ Details of gift aided donations to charities during the tax year.

8/ Details of all other taxable income
- if you are employed as well as self employed, don't forget to provide the form P11d as well as the P60
- details of net interest received and the tax deducted from your bank statements
- any rental income from property

If you need accountancy or taxation advice, please contact me on, 0161 355 5911,

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