“It is fast approaching the time of year where we will wave goodbye to 2016, and welcome in a new year. January is traditionally a time which people find challenging, due to the dark nights, post-Christmas blues and low bank balance. Couple with this, if you are self-employed, you will need to file your self-assessment tax return before the deadline of 31st January 2017.
“However, there is some good news! If you are self-employed you may be able to reduce the amount of tax you pay by including business expenses like petrol, food and even mortgage payments. Be sure though to file your tax return before the end of January deadline to avoid incurring a financial penalty.
“It is of course advantageous to work with an expert in the field who can automatically check all the detail and ensure you are complying with the rules. If you are already with an accountant, please be kind and submit all the information requested well before the deadline. As you can imagine, January is our busiest month of the year!
“So, along with hiring an accountant, here are four more ways to make sure you are not giving the tax man any more than he’s due:
1. Make a note of your business costs
“Your ‘allowable expenses’ may include:
- Office costs (stationary or phone bills)
- Travel costs (fuel, parking, train or bus fares)
- Staff costs (salaries)
- Financial costs (insurance or bank charges)
- Costs of your business premises (heating, lighting, business rates)
- Advertising or marketing (website costs)
You can check out the full list here: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-if-youre-self-employed/overview
2. Business can be personal
“If you work from home, you can claim a proportion of your bills as business costs. You can work this out through a rough calculation. For example, you could base it on the number of rooms you use, or the number of days you work from home.
3. Collect your receipts
“In order to claim your business expenses, you must have proof. If HMRC ever decides to investigate you, the records could save you from serious fines. Be sure to back up every claim with a receipt. We recommend our clients use Receipt Bank, an online Cloud based accounting app. It allows users to upload receipts on the go, via a picture taken on their mobile phone, and then sorts it for them. This is a great tool for collating all the necessary information needed and saves a lot of time. Perfect if you are a little disorganised in this area!
4. Don’t miss the deadline
“Once you have decided how you are going to calculate your business expenses, you need to add them all up and put the total amount on your self-assessment tax return. But don’t miss 31 January deadline or you could be in for a £100 fine!”