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John Nuth Accountants is based in Wiltshire, between Salisbury and Warminster that offers professional accounting advice for small and medium businesses.

Here are four tips to help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls

John Nuth - Friday, January 23, 2015

1. Not keeping detailed records is one of the major pitfalls we encounter.

Basic bookkeeping isn’t complicated. We can advise you on setting up a straightforward system. But it’s up to you to maintain it.  If bookkeeping isn't your strong point, keep all the paperwork relating to your business, the amounts you earn and bills you pay.

2. Keep an eye on the VAT threshold.

You have to register for VAT once your turnover exceeds the threshold in any 12 month period. If you break this rule, you could face serious penalties.

3. Watch out for deadlines.

Beware of key tax deadlines. In the case of self-assessment, the key deadline is 31st January. There are other deadlines for corporate (limited company) accounts. The key one is 9 months after your year end, with any corporation tax due at the same time. Beware - penalties for missing deadlines are rising!

4. Don’t leave it too late.

Whatever your deadlines are, get your accounts and returns done as early as possible. It's much easier to deal with your tax liability if you have plenty of time to make the appropriate arrangements. Good regular bookkeeping will also enable you to assess whether your income and therefore your tax liability is increasing (or decreasing) year on year. You may even be due a tax refund!

VAT: Prompt payment discounts

John Nuth - Friday, January 09, 2015

From 1 April 2015, businesses will be required to account for VAT on the actual consideration received after prompt payment discounts are offered.

This change will apply to all supplies of goods or services. Businesses will be required to pay more VAT where conditional discounts are offered to encourage early payment, but the discount is not earned.

It is expected that suppliers will be required to account for VAT on the non-discounted value, only adjusting the VAT if the prompt payment discount is taken up and a lower price is accepted in full payment.

This change widens the policy already announced in the Budget on 19 March 2014, which applied only to telecommunication and broadcasting services. HMRC issued a consultation on 17 June 2014 regarding this change and expects to publish its reaction shortly.  If this affects you, watch this space.






New personal tax statement for 24 million people

The Graphic Edge - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

From October 2014, around 24 million people will receive a personal tax statement from HMRC detailing how their taxes were spent, the Chancellor George Osborne has announced.

This is 4 million more people than was originally announced at the Budget 2012.

The additional people are PAYE taxpayers who have had recent contact from HMRC setting out their tax calculation for a previous tax year.

The Government announced at the Budget 2012 that 20 million taxpayers will receive a new tax statement from October 2014. It will explain how their income tax and national insurance contributions for 2013/14 have been calculated, the average tax rates and where their money has been spent.

These taxpayers include:

8 million people who complete self-assessment returns online

16 million PAYE taxpayers who received a tax coding notice from HMRC in the 2013/14 tax year.

George Osborne hopes that the decision will lead to increased transparency in the tax system:

"These tax statements represent a huge boost for tax transparency, showing people very clearly how much tax they pay and giving them a better understanding of where their money is spent."

Small firms lack employers liability insurance

The Graphic Edge - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More than half of small businesses do not have employers' liability cover, a survey by AXA Business Insurance has found.

The survey found that, out of the 365 small businesses surveyed, 53% were either unaware of employers' liability cover or had not taken out an insurance plan.

The research defines small businesses as sole traders to those with less than 9 employees.

The insurance provider also polled 2,000 workers about the effects of work on their health:

  • 62% of employees have suffered eye strain due to using workplace computers; more than half said the problems were 'severe'
  • 36% have been hurt by heavy lifting
  • 62% said long hours at the desk had caused muscular pains
  • 53% have experienced trouble sleeping due to work stress.

The research also highlighted the exposure of small businesses to compensation claims from non-workers. A survey of the public revealed that 48% of people have had property damaged by visiting tradesman or businesses.  Despite this, 43% of firms that work on other people's property or have public visitors are not covered by public liability insurance.

Commenting on the survey findings, Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance, said businesses were in danger of leaving themselves exposed to the costs of injury claims:

"Businesses really must understand the importance of employers' liability cover.  Not only are there serious legal consequences if you don't have it, workplace injury claims can reach eye-watering figures. We've had employers' liability claims that run into the millions of pounds for the most serious injuries - a bill like that simply cannot be shouldered by a small firm."