Is there really a way to make tax less taxing?

Small business owner Dave Stallon shares the importance of seeking expert advice to help manage the fundamentals of your business and his tax top tips

Let’s be honest, if there’s ever a subject that will dry up a conversation or have us reaching to scratch our heads it’s going to be tax.

Tax – for any of us outside the world of accountancy – is taxing. And it can come with a nasty sting in its tail too if you make an error as Dave Stallon, owner of The Plastics and Engineering Company, found out.

Here he talks about the importance of seeking advice and the price you pay if you don’t!

I set up my family business, The Plastics and Engineering Company, 22 years ago and alongside the pride of being a business owner came the daunting task of running it. I knew my industry, my market place and my product inside out. Where I fell short was the fundamentals like insurance, HR and debit recovery. These are areas I’ve never needed to be knowledgeable on before so it was a fast learning curve. I decided from day one, the smart move would be to invest in external advice and so I became an FSB member to help me in these unknown areas.

I’m sure all business owners agree the risk of making a mistake is often inevitable. I once made a costly error when I failed to file a tax return on time, and needless to say I was stung with a fine. However I flagged this to the FSB and its tax team supported me to rectify the situation.

Tax implications vary for small businesses based on the size of the business and whether it is new or established, that’s why having a conversation with a tax specialist really is a good idea.

Below are a few of my top tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Make sure you are VAT registered in time

Keeping accounts up-to-date on a monthly basis is a great idea as it enables you to look back across the past 12 months and ensure you haven’t hit the VAT registration threshold of £81,000.

Make sure you meet revenue deadlines

It’s not just the VAT threshold you need to keep track of, but all the various deadlines for NICs, PAYE and Self-Assessment deadlines.

Keep thorough business records

Be warned – HMRC investigations can take place at any time even after a business has ceased trading so make sure you save all business documents and receipts for at least six years.

Have the right paperwork for employees

Whether it’s a part-time worker, casual worker or full-time employee you need to make sure the HMRC is aware of their status and that a record is kept (for six years).

The FSB comes into its own when it comes to tax advice and they certainly can take the heat off you and make tax less taxing.

FSB Membership is available from £125 per annum with a £30 registration fee for the first year. For more information visit www.fsb.org.uk/join or call 0808 16 88 487 to chat with one of the team quoting SGB7.

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