Filing a tax return image

Self-assessment: Are you excluded from online filing?

Someone filing a tax return sheet - imageEvery year, HMRC publishes a list of exclusions for online filing. This list outlines the circumstances under which you will need to submit your self-assessment tax return by paper rather than online, as your online self-assessment could be rejected, or your tax liabilities could be calculated wrong. The problem is that the deadline for paper submissions is much earlier than it is for online submissions – 31st of October rather than 31st of January. Exclusions exist for those who cannot submit their self-assessment online; instead, the deadline for their paper submissions is extended.

Why do filing exclusions exist?

Frustratingly, HMRC’s algorithms cannot always correctly calculate the amount of tax due, and the software they use for tax returns will struggle with certain combinations of income sources and amounts. Therefore, HMRC needs these tax returns to be filed as paper returns, so they can manually check that the calculations are correct. This is the case even when you use third-party software to calculate your online self-assessment.

Note that most of the exclusions published for the 2016/17 tax year are no longer in place, and instead 12 new ones have been added – numbers 79-90. Unfortunately, this means that whether you were on the previous list of exclusions or not, you need to check it again. During 2016/17, additional problems were caused when HMRC changed the self-assessment software halfway through the year. It now seems like they will keep the current software, so no panic – you should be able to submit your self-assessment in good time.

How do I check if I’m affected?

If you submit your own self-assessment tax return and think you may be affected, you have to trawl through the 20-page document yourself. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. On the other hand, if you have a tax accountant like Tax Agility submit your self-assessment, they will check if you are excluded, and they will always calculate your tax in a way that is beneficial for you; that way you won’t be liable to pay any fines, and you can maximise the income at your disposal.

What happens if I can’t submit my paper self-assessment return on time?

If you are excluded from online self-assessment, you need to submit a paper self-assessment by the 31st of January or be liable to pay a penalty fine. You also need to include a clear note with your documents referring to the list of exclusions. Your exclusion ID will be in the far-left column on the list. Customers who notify HMRC that they are affected by an exclusion will not be charged a fine, as long as everything is submitted before the deadline for online self-assessment.

Who can help me?

If issues like exclusions and tax self-assessment seem bewildering, it’s because they are. The list provided by HMRC is not an easy read unless you know what you are looking at. It’s important to get your personal tax return right; otherwise, you may pay a hefty fine or much more tax than you are supposed to.

Experienced London tax accountants at Tax Agility know exactly what to submit and when to submit it, which is why our customers trust us to handle their self-assessments. Even if you are experienced in dealing with your personal tax return, why not check if we could save you money?

For a free consultation, call Tax Agility on 020 8108 0090 or complete our simple online enquiry form.

Contractor - a carpenter with an electric saw

As a contractor, why do I need an accountant?

Contractor - a carpenter with an electric sawIt’s easier than ever to become an independent contractor, and the number of workers taking the leap is only increasing: as of 2018, over 19% of the labour force in London is self-employed. By going at it yourself, you have greater freedom, a better work-life balance, and hopefully more money in your pocket. As an independent contractor, your rate could even double. However, being an expert in your field does not mean you are an expert at bookkeeping, and without detailed knowledge of things like taxes and legislation, you could easily make a costly mistake.

When it comes to choosing your accountant, you don’t just want to find someone who knows how to look after contractors; you also want a London accountant who is local to you. Your accountant will be looking after your day-to-day finances, after all, so they need to understand your individual needs.

As a contractor, why do you need an accountant?

  • They know what they are doing – just like you know your stuff, they know theirs.
  • As a contractor, different legislations like IR35 apply to you – do you know what they are?
  • You want to spend your time building your business, not buried in paperwork.
  • You could save a lot of money – you’re hiring a financial whiz to look after your interests!

Tax and compliance

Taxes are time-consuming. If you have a limited company, for example, you will need to stay on top of corporation tax, National Insurance Contributions, VAT, income tax, and potentially capital gains tax if you close your company. Expenses can also be a confusing aspect of taxes. If you are not aware of what expenses contractors can claim, you could be losing money – or mistakenly claiming things you shouldn’t. Contractor accountants are qualified in handling all of these things, and will always be on top of legislative acts that can affect your business.

Accounts and bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is the recording of daily financial transactions, such as tracking your payments and invoices. Making sure that your transactions are correct and up-to-date means your business will run smoother, but only if the information is accurate. If you consistently make mistakes or fail to keep on top of your bookkeeping, you could face cash flow problems, which can have serious consequences. In the long run, it is always better to let specialist contractor bookkeepers take care of your finances, to ensure your business is running as efficiently as possible – even if you’re just one person.

How Tax Agility can help you

London’s local accountants Tax Agility have years of experience looking after the accounts of contractors. Whether you are under an umbrella company or contracted through your own limited company, we know how to stay on top of the individual concerns you have. Every contractor is an individual, so we like to get to know your business and tailor our services to meet your needs. That’s why we are London’s local accountants, looking after London’s contractors.

At Tax Agility, we can complete your self-assessment tax return and submit it for you, tell you all about pension plans, ensure you minimise your tax liabilities, and help you make your business a sound investment.

For more advice on how we can help you with your financial needs, contact Tax Agility today on 020 8108 0090.

hotel owner in front of door with open sign on it. Illustration

Run a Better Business with Accountants for Hotel Owners

hotel owner in front of door with open sign on it. Illustration Late to bed and early to rise, running a hotel is no piece of cake. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and with the holiday rush, summer is an overwhelming season for many hospitality businesses. At Tax Agility, we believe too much business should never be a bad thing. With offices located conveniently throughout London, we’re here to help your hotel run smoothly even when there’s too much to do – here’s how.

Managing your finances

Whether you’re a small bed and breakfast, a hostel or a chain of hotels, Tax Agility is able to manage your finances in a cost effective and time efficient manner. We can provide you with an array of accounting, tax and bookkeeping services that are bespoke to your needs. We pride ourselves on being specialist accountants for hotels and we know what industry specific tax aspects to look at, like capital allowances.

Accounting software to the rescue

We aim to make your life easier by taking some of the workload off your shoulders, so let us introduce you to Xero – an easy-to-use cloud-based accounting software that can be perfectly tailored to your hospitality business. We can use Xero to prepare your year-end tax returns, which will mean a lower accounting cost for you. Xero has an interface that integrates your current bank accounts, credit card reports, receivables, payables, tax liabilities, VAT and more, making life so much easier when every minute of your time is precious.

London’s local accountants

One of the biggest pros of working with Tax Agility is our accessibility. This not only means that our team of hotel accountants is friendly and approachable, but that we are also happy to serve businesses locally across London. We have offices in multiple locations, and if your hospitality business is based in Putney, Wimbeldon, Fulham, Hammersmith, Richmond or Central London, give us a shout and we can arrange to meet you face to face to get to know your accounting needs. We’re all about building meaningful relationships in order to become financial partners you can trust, and if you’re open to networking opportunities, we can even connect you with relevant clients in your area.

Tax Agility hospitality accountants

So if you’re a hotel owner or manager and want to ensure the growth of your hospitality business is managed efficiently and professionally, give Tax Agility a call to talk to our hotel accounting specialists. You can reach us on 020 8108 0090 or via our contact form.

Gift exchange

Are you aware of the tax rules for corporate gifts?

Gift exchange

Buying gifts for clients or associates can be a great way to express gratitude for their business or their hard work. However, to avoid HRMC repercussions, it’s important to know how much you can claim on expenses and the types of gifts you can claim.

Tax Agility are a team of chartered accountants who can advise you on how to approach the tax rules to give you the best outcome for your business.

Business gifts to clients

HMRC allows you to claim a business gift worth up to £50 to any one person in any one tax year. However, these gifts must be business related (for example a business/work diary) and must not be food, alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Similarly, the gift must not be vouchers which can be exchanged for food, alcohol or tobacco. The gift must also contain an advertisement for your business, such as the company logo, in order for it to be recognised as a corporate gift.

Also, be aware that if the gift costs more that £50, HMRC will disallow the entire amount, not just the amount over the £50. This will mean that you will not be able to claim for the gift. Stick to these rules, though, and you’ll be able to claim your client business gift on expenses.

Gifts to staff

Gifts to staff members are taxable, but you can only spend up to £150 per employee on a company party. By HMRC’s standards, the party can be held at any time of the year, and businesses may split the party into multiple, separate events as long as the expense per employee does not exceed £150. Similar to purchasing gifts for clients, if you go over the maximum spend of £150 per employee, the entire amount will be made taxable.

Remember: the online tax return deadline is coming up!

If you have any concerns about the tax implications of corporate gift giving, get in touch with our small business accountants today. It’s never too early or too late to get the help you need to navigate the claims process. Tax Agility can complete and send off your tax returns to HMRC on your behalf. By doing all the complicated and time-consuming work for you, you can concentrate on more important things like growing your business.

We also offer a personal tax return service at our three main branches in Richmond, Putney and Wimbledon. With localised offices in these areas, residents can come in and receive tailored assistance from a tax professional.

Contact Tax Agility today

For more information on how we can help manage your taxes, call us today on  020 8108 0090.