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You can’t leave it all to tech.

Bookkeeping is tricky. Especially for small businesses, when you are juggling a million other things. So, it’s understandable that you want to ease the burden of this task any way you can. Nowadays we can turn to technology to solve most of our problems, and bookkeeping is no exception. You may have even seen adverts praising digital bookkeeping aids. Popular software like Xero and Quickbooks promise to make bookkeeping easy, help you track and manage expenses and stay on top of taxes. But how true is this?

What bookkeeping software does

Quickbooks promises three major things:

  • The ability to stay on top of taxes
  • The ability to track and manage expenses
  • Keeping data that allows for ‘no-nonsense’ payroll

This technology is all designed around one central premise: streamlining your bookkeeping experience. Everything bookkeeping software do is about using technology to save you time.

The bottom line is, using online software depends on you. Your ability to use this software depends on how much you know about bookkeeping and how up to date you are with recent legislative changes etc. For example, Quickbooks and Xero both rely on the use of VAT codes. But they do not provide support on what these are, and how to use them. For all their data and efficiency, they do not help much if you don’t know a lot about bookkeeping. As a result, relying on this software means taking a big risk depending on how much you know. If you are not confident with your books, you would still be better off using a bookkeeper.

What a bookkeeper does better

Having a personal bookkeeper involves all the benefits of bookkeeping software and more. They help you keep on top of your VAT returns, payroll and tax obligations. A bookkeeper also helps you track and manage your expenses, produces debtor and creditor reports to help with your cash flow and daily management of your business. They provide you with industry-specific knowledge and help you make more educated business decisions. This means you receive support all year round with any bookkeeping queries you might have. With a bookkeeper, you are not reliant on technology. QuickBooks and Xero are fantastic tools that can automate a big part of the bookkeeping process, but when it comes to technology, errors made by automated systems cannot be avoided and need somebody with experience and knowledge to check if the entries and codes are correct. Using a bookkeeper allows you not to be reliant on the software and automatic data entry. A bookkeeper also assures that your business is compliant, you meet all the deadlines, and your information is archived properly. Thanks to this you can avoid costly mistakes, save time and money. knowing that your business finances are in good hands.

For a reliable and professional bookkeeping service, contact your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.

With 2022 now underway, here is your reminder of some important dates for the rest of this financial year.

January 2022:

January has various different important dates to remember.

There are two different monthly deadlines for sending off your payments for CIS, NICs and PAYE to HMRC. The postal deadline is 19th January, and the deadline for electronic payments is 22nd January. These payment dates for CIS, NICs, and PAYE then repeat monthly for the remainder of this financial year.

31st January is an important date to remember for various reasons. It is the deadline for filing your Self-Assessment tax return form for the tax year that ended April 2021. However, due to the difficulties may have faced as a result of COVID-19, HMRC has waived late fee filing penalties for Self-Assessment Tax Returns.

If you have been unable to file your return by the 31st January deadline you will not receive a fine, permitting that you file online by 28th February. Anyone who cannot pay their Self-Assessment tax by the 31st January deadline will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay tax in full, or set up a Time to Pay arrangement by 1st April. However, interest will be payable from 1st February as usual, so it is still better to pay on time where possible.

January 31st is also the deadline by which you need to have filed your 2020/21 Capital Gains Tax, and if your company has a January 2021 year end, you will also need to have filed your Corporation Tax by this date. Furthermore, the 31st is the date by which you need to have finalised balancing payment of tax for 2019-2020, and the first payment of Account for Income Tax for 2021-2022.

 

February 2022:

The first date to remember in this month is 1st February, as it is the due date for paying Corporation Tax for a the period that ended 30th April 2021.

If your business uses vehicles, is the deadline for submitting Car P46 for the financial quarter ending 5th January 2022 is 2nd February. Following this, the VAT Tax Return and payments deadline for accounting quarter period ending 31st December 2021 is 7th February. As with January, the monthly postal and electronic deadlines for the payment of CIS, NICs, and PAYE to HMRC are the 19th and 22nd respectively.

Finally, the due date to file for Corporation Tax for companies with a 28th February 2021 year end is 28th February. Remember this is also now the final date you can now file your Jan Self-Assessment tax return online without receiving a fine.

March 2022:

1st March is both the new AFR (Advisory Fuel Rates) day for company car users, and the due date for the payment of Corporation Tax for the period that ended 31st May 2021.

The 7th March is the deadline for VAT Returns and payments of the accounting quarter that ended 31st January 2022. For large companies with the year-end of 31st March 2022 and 31st December 2022, the due date for Corporation Tax quarterly instalments is 14th March.

Following this are the monthly postal and electronic deadlines for the payment of CIS, NICs, and PAYE on the 19th and 22nd March. The filing date for companies with 31st March 2021 as a year-end rounds off the month on 31st March.

April 2022:

April is the end of the current 2021/2022 financial year. It begins with the due date for payment of Corporation Tax (for the period that ended 30th June 2021) on the 1st April.

Then, the current tax year ends on 5th April, and the 2022/2023 tax year begins the following day on 6th April. Also on the 6th, IR35 comes into force in the private sector.

19th April is a busy day this year. Firstly, automatic interest is charged where PAYE Tax, Class 1 NI, CIS and/or Student Loans are not paid by this date, so make sure you have these paid up to date well in advance. Furthermore, PAYE quarterly payments are also due for small employers for periods 6th January 2021 – 5th April 2021.

19th April is also the deadline for employers’ final PAYE return to be submitted online for 2020/2021.

Finally, on 30th April, corporation Tax Returns need to be filed by companies with 30th April 2021 as a year end.

That’s all for the current tax year in 2022. If all of this seems like a lot of work to remember, you can leave your bookkeeping to the professionals by letting us take of your books for you.

Entrusting your bookkeeping to Rosemary means:

· We keep track of your deadlines for you

· We know when your Tax return needs to be filed by

· We can keep track of your CIS payments

To find out more about our services and find out how Rosemary Bookkeeping can help you, give us a call on 0345 862 0072, or find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper here.

We’ve made a list of festive expenses that you may be able to claim back as a business expense.

Christmas time can be a busy and expensive time for many businesses – big or small. But with the January Self-Assessment Tax Return coming up, here are some festive expenses that you might not have thought about reclaiming.

Decking the Halls

If ‘business as usual’ has resumed in your office, then you may have decided to also carry on the festive tradition of decorating your office for the holidays. What you might not be aware of, is that you can actually claim back decorations like a Christmas tree, tinsel, and wreathes as tax by logging them on your accounts as running costs for the office. Bear in mind that this doesn’t extend to employees working from home however, as HMRC judges this as personal enjoyment, not office related.

A Christmas Party

Providing that you went ahead with a Christmas do this year, be it virtual or in person, you may be liable to claim expenses back as tax. However, this depends on who was in attendance.

If the event is/was open to all of your employees, then the whole thing will be taxable, no matter the number of people in your operation. However, you cannot claim expenses if there were also clients and/or associates in attendance, as this is not acceptable for corporation tax or VAT purposes as HMRC classes this as business entertaining. Furthermore, any even that is not open to all employees will also not be liable.

As a result – if you do decide to invite clients and/or associates to a Christmas event, remember to allocate sufficient funds to cover their expenses because you won’t be able to claim any tax relief, or reclaim any VAT on costs. Bear in mind that you should still record this in your books, and add the costs back on when you come to calculate your profit for tax.

Presents

As it is Christmas, you may choose to buy gifts for staff or clients. In the case of clients, you are able to record these as a business cost on your books, provided that these gifts meet the appropriate guidelines so as not to constitute potential bribery. This means:

  • You must not spend more than £50 (p.a.) on gifts for any one client.
  • You must not gift a client an item that can be exchanged for goods or money – such as cash or vouchers.
  • You must include a conspicuous advert for your business. For more information regarding gifts to clients, please visit the HMRC website.

In the case of your staff, there are other key tax considerations regarding gifts:

  • If the gift has no cash benefit, then it may be accepted by HMRC as trivial benefit, which means that you will not need to pay extra tax or National Insurance, or report it on the employee’s P11D form.
  • If your gift does include cash payment to staff – they will be classified in the same way as regular earnings by HMRC so should be put through payroll as normal – and might require a National Insurance payment.

More guidance and information on gifts for staff can be found on the HMRC website.

If navigating this all feels a little daunting, why not entrust your bookkeeping to the professionals? You can find more information on the upcoming January tax return here, and to find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business, click here.

Inflation rates are projected to reach highs of 4% before the end of this year. This could have a big impact if you own and run a small business. Here’s what you need to know:

British inflation has hit decade highs, caused by a combination of factors including COVID-19, Brexit, rising energy and fuel prices, higher costs of raw materials and goods in factories, and higher bills in restaurants and hotels. In October, the UK Office for National Statistics reported that inflation had hit 4.2%, a 1.1% increase from September – a significantly bigger increase than had been predicted by experts.

So what does this mean for small business owners?

Well, this could have a number of knock-on effects that small business owners should be aware of, including:

  • A rising in costs of labour to compensate for increasing inflation
  • Rising costs of products and services
  • Labour shortages and supply chain issues

This will only be exacerbated by The Bank of England’s inconsistency on the topic of interest rate rises. As this is the mechanism used to control inflation, this will make more money more expensive to borrow – which would further reduce demand. This, in tandem with a fixed supply, means that price increases slow down, and businesses are faced with decision of whether or not to lower prices in order to maintain sales, or raise them to maintain profit (and risk losing customers).

So what can you do?

Unfortunately, the current situation leaves businesses with a dilemma and a bit of a no-win scenario. This will only change when either demand reduces or supply chains resume normal service. Meaning that, at present, the solution is in finding a balance between increasing costs and maintaining profits.

If you find the prospect of managing your finances in this difficult time daunting, why not contact Rosemary Bookkeeping? We can take care of your books for you and help you manage your finances. Hiring a professional bookkeeping service like Rosemary can greatly benefit you as we are able to help with tracking the cost and profit in your business.

Outsourcing your books to Rosemary also means:

  • Your books are done regularly – so you can see what is going on in your business
  • You don’t have to spend your valuable time doing the books – so you can do things more beneficial to your financial income
  • Paying less than you would for an accountant
  • You don’t need to hire any additional staff. You only pay for the work done
  • You don’t have to do a job you loath

To outsource your books today, and receive financial advice from our experts, give us a call on 0345 862 0072, or find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business here.

If you own a small business and are approaching the holidays worrying how you’re going to manage your books, why not make these tips part of your New Year’s resolution?

The prospect of maintaining your books can be a daunting one for many small business owners. Juggling a steadily growing pile of receipts and invoices can certainly start to feel like quite the balancing act. But not to worry, we are here to help alleviate any anxiety about managing your books. Simply follow these tips to stay on top of your finances:

  1. Keep personal and business finances separate

Have separate bank accounts when you are running your own business, by separating out the two, you will be able to avoid any messy mix-ups in your finances.

  1. Don’t get rid of receipts and invoices

In a small business, nothing should go to waste. Make sure that you and your staff receipts and/or invoices for any and all expenditure, and attach them to expenses claims. To be safe, keep all records for at least six years.

  1. Maintain filing system

These records should be simple and easily organised. Sales invoices should be raised and filed in order, and purchases should follow a system that is logical to you.

  1. Keep your time similarly organised

Working closely with a plan or schedule can help you to best stay on top of your finances. Allotting diarised time to reconcile your bank accounts or update records will mean that it becomes part of your routine, and this can help it to feel like less of a chore. It also means that it doesn’t become forgotten amongst all of the other things you have to do.

Be sure to raise sales invoices quickly and file your paperwork on time. You may be able to remember what happened last week, but not last month or the month before.

  1. Stay on track of petty cash

In the same vain, you should be keeping receipts for your petty cash, and reconciling amounts regularly.  Keeping a keen eye on your cash will help to reduce the risk of loss or theft.

  1. Bank payments quickly

Once you have these cash or cheque payments it is important to stay on top of them and get them in the bank fast – even if they might feel old school. By doing this, you will reduce the risk of losing them or spending them quickly. Plus, the quicker they are in the bank, the better your cash flow.

  1. Chasing debtors

Slow payers can cause real harm to your business, and damage your cash flow. Set a clear policy for chasing up debtors. You aren’t loaning money, so your clients need to pay.

  1. Plan ahead by putting money aside

Putting money aside, perhaps in another account, will mean there are extra funds available in the event that you need them. There will always be future expenditures, such as VAT, so be sure to be prepared by planning ahead.

  1. Learn the basics

It’s true that you should always have a professional handle your finances for you, but knowing the basics can help you a lot from day to day. If you would like to learn more about finances and bookkeeping, you can find a lot of useful information and tips on our news page – under the bookkeeping tab.

  1. Trust the professionals

The best way to manage your finances is to enlist the help of a professional. Managing your books can be difficult, especially when trying to manage it alongside everything else you need to do as a small business. Outsourcing your bookkeeping to Rosemary means that your books are maintained regularly, but you don’t have to spend your valuable time doing them yourself. You also won’t need to hire any additional staff – you only pay for the work done – and a bookkeeper is cheaper than an accountant!

If you think it’s time to outsource your bookkeeping, get in touch with Rosemary Bookkeeping, or find your nearest branch here.

The Holiday season approaches – a very busy time for most businesses. Whilst it may be easy to get carried away with festivities or Christmas rushes, don’t forget that you can carry out your self-assessment months in advance.

By now, whether you are self-employed, a partnership, or neither, you should have registered for your tax return self-assessment. The deadline for the assessment may be the end of January next year, but we are just about to head into a very busy period for most businesses, and that time will be gone in a flash. So, it’s well worth getting a head-start on the process now.

‘But I simply don’t have time!’ you say. This winter period is a busy one for businesses the world over, so the temptation to put off that January tax return is a strong and understandable one. Unfortunately, it is not an option. Tax returns are not voluntary, and have to be completed no matter what. Luckily there is still plenty of time before that rush period really starts, so you still have the option to get it done now, early doors. Plus, it makes much more sense to stay on top of these things as they go, and keep your records as current as you can. For self-employed business owners especially, if your books are up to date, you will have a better understanding of the financial standing of your business. This means you will be able to put money away for the self-assessment at the end of the year.

There are instances in which the deadline is different:

  • If you are eligible, you can submit your online return by 30th December 2021, provided you want HMRC to automatically collect tax from your wages and pension.

In this case, HMRC must receive a paper tax return by 31st January 2022 if you are a trustee of a registered pension scheme or a non-resident company. Please note that in this case, you cannot send a return online.

HMRC may also write or email to give you a different deadline. More details can be found on their website.

  • Partnership returns if you have a company as a partner.

If your partnership’s accounting date is between 1st February and 5th April and one of your partner’s is a limited company, the deadline for returns is different.

Online: 12 months from the accounting date.

Paper: 9 months from the accounting date.

Late payment penalties:

Perhaps the most obvious reason to stay on top of this process, is that there are fines for lack of payment. If your tax return is up to three months late, you will have to pay a late filing penalty of £100. If it is later, or you pay your tax bill late, you will have to pay more and will be charged further interest on late payments. This amount can be estimated on the HMRC website.

You can appeal these penalties if you have a reasonable excuse such as:

  • The death of a partner or close relative – provided this was shortly before the tax return or payment deadline.
  • Fire, flood or theft that has prevented you from making the deadline.
  • Serious or life-threatening illness.
  • Postal delays that you could not have predicted.
  • Computer software failure just before the preparation of your online return.

But for the sake of tardiness, these fines are not worth the risk. It would be better to make sure of your payments whilst you have time, rather than suddenly come to find you have to shell out even more for overdue tax returns in the new year.

And if absolutely none of this has convinced you that it’s best to pay early, and the idea of sorting out your own tax returns this Christmas makes you say ‘Bah Humbug’, then don’t worry. We’ll do it for you!

Outsourcing your books to Rosemary means:

  • Your books are done regularly (so you can see what is going on in your business)
  • You don’t have to spend your valuable time doing the books (so you can do things more beneficial to your financial income)
  • A bookkeeper is cheaper than an accountant (who doesn’t like to be cost-effective?)
  • Outsourcing means no additional staff (you only pay for the work done)
  • You don’t have to do a job you loath

 

Leaving your assessment to Rosemary leaves you with a clear mind and the space to spend your holidays free of worry, and getting on with doing business you love.

If you think it’s time to outsource your bookkeeping, get in touch with Rosemary Bookkeeping, it’s what we do best.

From 1 October 2021, a new reduced interim VAT rate of 12.5% will be introduced for hospitality, holiday accommodation/attractions and it will stay in place until 31 March 2022. It replaces the current temporary reduced rate of 5% for these sectors.

This reduction in VAT is intended to boost trade immediately for hotels, B&B’s, cafes, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, zoos and theme parks to name but a few.

The reduced rate of VAT will apply to:

  • Hot/cold food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on the business premises, for example, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Cold takeaway food continues to be subject to VAT at 20% or 0% under the existing rules.
  • Hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Sleeping accommodation such as hotels and similar establishments, holiday accommodation, caravan and tent pitch fees and associated families
  • Admissions to theatres, shows, fairs, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and similar cultural events and facilities. If a business charges admission fees that are currently exempt then that will take precedence and the admission will not qualify for the reduced rate. The reduced rate does not apply to admission to sporting events.

From 1 October 2021, all eligible businesses should apply the interim VAT rate of 12.5% on takings of supplies made of the goods and services listed above and on issued invoices until 31 March 2022.

Care will need to be taken where goods and services were supplied prior to 1 October 2021 but invoiced after 1 October 2021, and vice versa.

For example, in some circumstances, if a business has received a payment or deposit before 15 July 2020 but supplies the goods or services after 15 July 2020, then the business can choose to charge and account for VAT at 5% by issuing a credit note within 45 days of the rate change.

Flat Rate Scheme Changes
HMRC have updated the flat rate percentages to take account of the new reduced rate for VAT.
As of 15 July 2020 until 30 September 2021 the following sector rates apply:

  • Catering 4.5% (reduced from 12.5%)
  • Hotels 0% (reduced from 10.5%)
  • Pubs 1% (reduced from 6.5%)

From 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022 the following sector rates apply:

  • Catering 8.5% (interim VAT rate)
  • Hotels 5.5% (interim VAT rate)
  • Pubs 4% (interim VAT rate)

Businesses that operate outside of the hospitality, holiday accommodation and attraction sectors may also be impacted by the VAT rate change if they make purchases from these sectors.

You’ll be able to apply the new VAT code in QuickBooks, Xero and other software after 1st October 2021.

Further detailed guidance can be found on the gov.uk websites HERE and HERE.

Are you unsure of what you can reclaim VAT on? Here we’ve explained what you can and cannot reclaim any VAT on:

As a business, you can usually claim back any VAT you have paid on goods and services bought for business use, for which you have a valid VAT receipt. Remember, no receipt, no reclaim!

If the item you buy is also for personal use, you can only claim back a proportion of the VAT paid, only the actual business element of this item, mobile phone bills are a good example. You might use your mobile 60% for work and 40% for personal, in which case you can only claim back the VAT on the 60% of the purchase price and plan. You need to ensure that you have adequate records to support your VAT reclaim which shows how you calculated the business use percentage.

It’s usually a good idea to have separate phone bills for personal and business use, this way it’s easier when claiming back any VAT.

A Valid VAT Receipt

A valid VAT receipt includes the following:

  • Name, Address and VAT number of the supplier
  • Your name and address
  • The date
  • A description of the goods or services
  • The cost before VAT
  • The separate VAT amount
  • The total amount that contains the VAT.

Having said that, many VAT receipts are actually a shorter version, simply containing the total amount paid, the seller’s name and VAT number. To work out any VAT quickly this website is very helpful – http://www.vatcalculator.co.uk/ . This is the amount you can reclaim.

Can you claim the VAT back on items brought in the EU?

Do you buy goods from the EU?

You can’t claim for goods bought in EU countries, although you may be able to reclaim VAT paid via the electronic cross-border refund system. You can reclaim VAT on products and services bought during the refund period, plus VAT on goods imported to Britain during the same timescale.

You can’t claim for VAT that has been invoiced incorrectly, where VAT has been levied on sending goods to another member state or exported items outside the EU.

Things you cannot reclaim VAT for

You can’t reclaim VAT on insurance, salaries, PAYE, postage, bank interest or business entertainment. However, VAT on entertainment for overseas customers can on occasions be reclaimed when that entertainment is very basic.

You can’t claim for anything you’ve bought specifically for personal use, or the products and services your business uses from VAT-exempt supplies. Also items you buy under VAT second-hand margin schemes and business assets transferred to you as a going concern are also exempt from VAT reclaim.

Not registered for VAT?

When your business isn’t registered for VAT, you don’t have to charge VAT to your customers, however, you also can’t claim any VAT back. That’s why so many smaller businesses try to stay under the VAT radar, under the registration limit (the current threshold is £83,000 – see https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/when-to-register for further details) . Charging VAT to a customer who isn’t registered for VAT means they’ll have to cover this cost as well.

What about VAT post-Brexit?

Domestic VAT rules remain the same following the end of the Brexit transition period, however, VAT rules relating to imports and exports have changed.

Prior to Brexit and during the transition period, the UK was part of a regime called the EU VAT Regime, which meant that a UK business didn’t have to register for VAT in each EU country. Now though, as of 1st January 2021 Great Britain now has to treat EU countries like they do countries outside of the EU.

It can get very confusing so we’d suggest taking a look at this article by Sage explaining this in a bit more detail.

Do you need support with the VAT system?

If you need VAT support, we’re here to help, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

The UK exited the EU VAT regime, Customs Union and Single Market from 1 January 2021. This means the loss of a range of compliance simplifications and the imposition of customs declarations, goods regulations, services and import VAT.

In this article HERE you can find an outline of the major changes affecting VAT treatment after the UK leaving the EU.

Here you can find the most recent guidance from the government; Import goods into the UK: step by step

If you import goods into Great Britain from outside the UK or from outside the EU to Northern Ireland you may have to pay import VAT on goods. For supplies of services from outside the UK you must account for VAT under the reverse charge procedure.

Guidance on Paying VAT on imports from outside the UK to Great Britain and from outside the EU to Northern Ireland

Export goods from the UK: step by step
Guidance on how and when you can apply zero-rated VAT to exported goods – Goods exported from the UK from 1 January 2021

TOMS – Tour Operators Margin Scheme 

If you supply digital services to private consumers you can read the guidance here – VAT rules for supplies of digital services to consumers 

CIS VAT changes

If you’re in the construction sector changes on VAT are coming on 1st March 2021.

VAT reverse charge technical guide HERE.

VAT is due when a VAT invoice is issued, or payment is received, whichever is earlier.

For invoices issued for specified supplies that become liable to the reverse charge, the VAT treatment for invoices with a tax point:

  • before 1 March 2021 – the normal VAT rules will apply and you should charge VAT at the appropriate rate on your supplies
  • on or after 1 March 2021 – the domestic reverse charge will apply