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November 25, 2013

Tax advice for a small limited company

Tax advice to helpMany sole traders make the move to limited company status because they believe it will make them more desirable to new clients, or perhaps because they think they can save on tax in the long run. For a small limited company however, understanding how tax works is vital – and tax matters can be extremely confusing! All limited companies, both large and small, need to be up-to-date on current tax matters, as the consequences can – and often are – costly.

Limited companies don’t use the same self assessment tax return system as other businesses and self-employed individuals. All limited companies, both large and small, are subject to annual corporation tax.

This means the company does its own corporation tax self assessment – i.e. it calculates the amount of tax it must pay itself using a company tax return. The methods and deadlines are different to those used elsewhere.

The most common tax issues faced by a small limited company

It’s important to remember that once a company has applied for and been given limited company status, it is now a separate legal entity from its owner, irrespective of how many staff it employs or who is a shareholder. Everyone, even the sole director/shareholder, is an employee and the company the employer. What this means in terms of tax is that all the money the company earns belongs to the company and not its owner: from now on, any money taken out of earnings must be noted (and justified) as salary or expenses, and comes under scrutiny from HMRC.

Many small limited companies end up having to pay excess tax because the owner simply takes money out of the company without understanding the tax implications. The company can pay its director in three ways: as salary, to pay back money borrowed or spent on company costs (expenses), or as dividends on the shares the director holds in the company. Getting the mixture of salary and dividends right can reduce a company’s tax bill; get it wrong and it can go the other way.

All limited companies must pay corporation tax by the 1st of January of the year after the trading year, i.e. on 1/1/2014 for trading between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013. It must also file a corporation tax return (CT600) each year to HMRC, 12 months after the year end at the latest. Limited companies who fail to file their CT600s or send it too late are subject to hefty fines.

A small piece of legislation known as IR35 has also caused many small limited companies problems since coming into effect. This is when a company takes on a project for a client and takes on the status (however short-term) of an employee. Rather than pay the ’employer’s’ National Insurance on the full cost of what they paid out, the small limited company makes a ‘deemed payment’ to HMRC. This is the opposite of how it works for sole traders.

Where to get advice

Calculating taxes as a limited company is complex and can be both challenging and time-consuming. There are companies that specialise in tax management that small limited companies can turn to for advice in this field, whether a company needs help filling out its corporation tax return or with IR35 forms for employees. An umbrella company can help a small limited company with all aspects of tax and payroll and as qualified experts in all tax matters, can save time and money in the long run.

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June 25, 2013

What Kind of Tax Rebate Are You Entitled To?

Income tax rebateWe pay many different types of tax during our lives. What this means is that there is the potential to claim back tax in many different ways. Your tax rebate will be dependent upon what types of tax you have overpaid on, and this will inform the process (or processes) you need to take in order to claim it back.

Healthcare Professionals

If you work as a healthcare professional you can claim tax back for your uniform, including the costs of washing or for purchasing shoes and tights. You can also claim tax back if you require specialist equipment for your job. The only proviso is that the clothes and equipment you claim for must be for work use only, and must not already be being offset by your employer.

Mileage and Travel Expenses

Another form of tax which can be claimed back is for mileage and travel expenses. If you require a vehicle for your job you can claim tax relief which will help to offset the cost of running your vehicle. As a legitimate business expense, this is something which everyone is entitled to, and a tax rebate of this nature can be very helpful for anyone who regularly travels for work related purposes. For more information about claiming back your travel expenses as a tax rebate, visit www.taxrebateservices.co.uk.

Tax Relief for Teachers

Teachers can claim tax back for a number of different reasons. If, for example, you have been required to pay fees to a professional body such as the NUT, you can claim part of these fees back as tax relief.

Teachers can also claim tax back in the same way that healthcare professionals can, if they require the use of specialist clothing or equipment for their jobs. Tax relief can also be claimed if this clothing requires laundering which is outside of the remit of normal clothes washing procedures. But this can only be claimed if the clothing in question bears your employer’s logo.

Other Types of Professional Tax Rebate Claims

There are many different types of professionals who can claim tax back according to the requirements of their job. These include:

  • Mechanics
  • Construction Workers
  • Non Resident Landlords

For more information about whether or not you can claim back tax according to your profession, it’s always important to get the advice of a regulatory body, or from a professional tax rebate service provider.

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February 22, 2013

What investment administration services tell us about the Australian Economy

ZAH_australia_LW_230312-20120629184132244770-420x0The major economic boom that Australia surged into is about to start faltering, as investments into resources are about to pass their peaks. The Reserve Bank warns of the predicted fall in companies investing; resulting in the slowing of the massive growth that has been witnessed, and a slow rise in unemployment ahead of 2014.

Investment administration services are predicted to be a necessary service as the economy’s change of pace can be hard to detect or understand, as the investing population runs at a risk of liquidating dollars.

This faltering in the economy is predicted to come about as the Reserve Bank of Australia looks at the investments in the resource industry, and how these numbers are falling, and the worry is that there is not enough demand in the economy to replace it. Investment administration services understand companies that investments will have to change their pace, and that their investment administration will have to take different shape as the economy takes natural digressions.

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan concurred with the Reserve Bank’s findings, saying that the outlook was “challenging”. Investment administration services should be utilized to gain better understandings on the more grim economy outlook that Australia has witnessed in a number of years, since the World Financial Crisis. Another issue, besides that loss of investments if the investment administration is not understood properly, has “made business cautious, particularly in terms of hiring labour,” Swan said.

This shifting economy means complete readjusting of investments, and looking at new investment strategies, which can be devised by investment administration services. It is important that in Australia we understand the changes that the economy takes in order to avoid the issues that plague socialist European nations.

Although as a nation Australia faces the possibility of a slipping national economy, it is after such an unpredicted high and strong dollar. Australia continues to be in a high percentile of countries repairing themselves after the financial crash. Now is a time, more than ever, that investment administration is taken seriously so as to not run the risk of turning over losses, and therefore being able to use a time like this advantageously.

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June 18, 2012

How to Pay Low Rent and Save

Renting

In the current climate, most people are struggling to get on the property ladder and renting is becoming increasingly popular. But how can you find out about paying a lower amount and save money on your biggest monthly outlay? Perhaps you are under the impression that your monthly rent payment is set in stone and the only way to pay less is to move to a cheaper rental. It may surprise you, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Communicate with your landlord.

If you are struggling financially, speak to your landlord. Landlords don’t want the hassle of looking for new tenants and chasing late payments with the chance of receiving nothing if their tenant can no longer afford their rates.

Your landlord is human and in all likelihood, will understand if you fall on hard times. You could try asking for a decrease in rent in exchange for signing a longer term’s lease – this keeps the landlord happy, as they don’t want the expense of hiring an estate agent to look for a new tenant.

When it comes time to renew your lease, don’t be too quick to agree to any increase in rent. A good, reliable tenant is a godsend to a landlord, and they may be more willing than you think to negotiate. All you need to do is ask – you will be surprised how accommodating landlords can be if they think you are saving them time and hassle.

For those living in a complex and who enjoy DIY type work, there may be the option to assist the property owner in carrying out various tasks around the complex in order for a reduction in rent. As well as simple DIY tasks, you could carry out gardening tasks or clean windows.

Check trends.

Everything is negotiable and it pays to keep up with market trends. Speak to neighbours to find out what they’re paying, and even speak to your local tenants Have facts ready before speaking to your landlord to show that you know your stuff and have done your homework.

Highlight the benefits of having you as a tenant:

  • always pay your rent on time
  • intend to stay there for a long time
  • keep the place clean and tidy, and
  • don’t give the landlord any other hassles, etc.

Showing yourself in the best possible light with confidence will go a long way in any negotiations with your landlord.

Get a roommate.

Think of the amount of money you could potentially save if you rented out a spare room. This is the best way to gain a massive rent reduction. Always check with your landlord that this is alright. Most will have no problem with it. Renting to someone you know is always preferred. If you do not have that luxury, then make sure you screen any potential lodgers thoroughly, and ask for references in order to avoid problems later on.

Consider rent subsidy.

You may be entitled to assistance from the government if you are on a low income and should make enquiries through your local housing office. You could be entitled to some form of housing benefit and it won’t hurt to ask.

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March 6, 2012

6 Do’s and Don’ts When Doing your Tax Return

Filing taxes is one of the most stressful financial transactions that most people do in a typical year. Small mistakes on this document could potentially cost a taxpayer thousands of dollars, making it imperative to complete it correctly and accurately. Follow these tips around tax time to make sure that you and your money are protected.

DO consider a Professional Tax Service or Software Program

The federal tax code is longer than the Encyclopedia Britannica, making it extremely difficult for one person to completely master. Professional tax preparers do nothing but study tax code, and many have teams of professionals that can work together to prepare more complicated returns.

At the very least, a tax preparing software program will reduce the tax code down into a series of easier to answer questions. These programs are usually developed by hundreds of professionals who are each an expert in their own area of tax law. Preparing a return with one of these programs is a lot easier than doing it on your own.

DON’T Forget to Include Your Children’s Social Security Numbers

Believe it or not, this is one of the most common errors that taxpayers make. Each child that you claim as a dependent must have a Social Security number in order to be considered eligible for credits and deductions. This is to reduce fraud by taxpayers claiming non-existent children as dependents in order to get more deductions.

DO Make a Copy of Your Return and all of the Accompanying Documentation

Obviously, tax returns get lost in the mail or lost at the IRS office, but the most important reason to keep copies isn’t to replace something that gets lost. A variety of government and civilian applications require a person to submit copies of their tax returns. Everything from student aid applications to mortgage applications require an applicant to submit copies of their tax return.

DON’T Wait Until the Last Minute to File Your Taxes

The IRS will start issuing refund checks as soon it starts to receive tax returns. As the returns start to pile up, however, there will be delays in refund checks. If you’re expecting a refund, get your tax return in early.

Even if you have to pay more taxes, waiting until the deadline can get you in trouble. Many people assume that just because they file later they are delaying their payment, but you can file early and send in a payment later. In fact, there are programs to pay off your tax bill past the deadline, but you have to apply early in order to be accepted into the best ones.

DO Look For Deductions and Credits

While this may seem obvious, nearly twenty percent of taxpayers just fill out the 1040EZ form. It is estimated that about half of these taxpayers would receive a higher refund by filling out the so-called “long form” or 1040 A. By using a tax professional or computer software program, it will be a lot easier to look for these deductions.

Be prepared by gathering paperwork for the most common deductions. Have receipts for any mortgage interest that has been paid, child care expenses, and charitable contributions. Also save receipts from activities such as purchasing a home, attending college, and making major purchases.

DON’T lie or fudge numbers. Nearly a quarter of Americans admit to cheating on their taxes at some point in their lives, but few people realize the consequences if they get caught. People who are caught cheating on their taxes will pay high penalty fees, interest, and in extreme cases they can even face jail time.

If you are unable to pay the taxes you owe, look at the programs the IRS has set up for distressed taxpayers. These programs allow people to make payments on their tax debt over several months or years instead of making a lump sum payment all at once.

Filing your taxes can be stressful, but there are many different options available to make this as easy as possible. As you get your return together for 2011, make a list of items that are difficult to find or figure out so that you will be better prepared for next year.

Kathleen Ison is a freelance writer and a mother of two teenagers. They have been wanting to buy a car for a while but they know very little about the taxes and additional costs associated with purchasing a car.

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