In the current economic climate every business needs to look for new ways to improve but few businesses take advantage of the HMRC approved schemes
Basically there are 2 types of award:
Encouragement Awards where the employer can pay £25 tax and NI free
Financial Benefit Awards where employees can be paid up to £5000 tax and NI free
Financial benefit awards are exempt from tax and NICs up to the greater of the following, subject to an overall limit of £5,000:
- 50 per cent of the financial benefit you reasonably expect the suggestion to lead to in the first year following its adoption
- 10 per cent of the financial benefit you reasonably expect in the first five years following adoption
Sounds like a win win to me
Whether you are changing systems or just want a fresh start with the latest version its worth trying the Sage Templates to upload data.
Once you have loaded Sage, click on Help, then About then Program Directory and you will find a folder called Import Templates, in that folder are Templates for:
Audit Trail Transactions
Fixed Assets Record
The templates are excel files and on the top row are comments on the content required. If you are already using Sage you can export the data, clean it and then re import it.
Basically as a minimum you will want to import outstanding customer and supplier transactions (using the audit trail), static data for customers, suppliers and nominal and unreconciled bank transactions. The opening trial balance can be entered using the Audit Trial import.
Use the Practice Company on Sage until you are confident you know your imports will work.
It takes a bit of time to get the imports correct but once its done it works really well.
Its often worth having a Tax Group even if you don’t have Group Accounts ie you have multiple businesses under common control but that are not directly owned subsidiaries. The reason for this is to offset profits and losses to reduce the total tax payment.
Generally this means completing a special extra return, the CT600C, unfortunately, this form is not available from HMRC to file on line.
There is a solution regulation 6 SI199/2975 (CTM97690) allows you to write to HMRC and explain which companies make up the group and ask for a simplified arrangement – meaning HMRC will automatically net off the returns with out the need for CT600C returns.
By doing this you can file the CT600’s on line for free with HMRC.
Rosie Barfoot sent me a comment yesterday about Workbooks, they offer a totally free 2 user version of their software http://www.workbooks.com
I have signed up and downloaded a copy today, looks pretty good, CRM, Quotation Management, Products, Contracts, Invoicing, I need to get my head round how to use it but it seems pretty comprehensive. Its 100% web based, it can link to Sage and Outlook (not sure if thats in the free version), you can customise it and create templates, sounds ideal for a start up business.
I asked some of my Linked In buddies what they recommend for Free, here is what they said:
Tony Croft (4 Networking) said:
Can I recommend ‘Free Fundraising’ with Simply Fundraising.
Let somebody else make donations to your cause/s when you shop, put petrol in the car, eat out, etc and get free flights as a reward for doing it.
Can you beat that? http://www.simplefundraising.co.uk/
Marco Tomat (4Networking) said:
I would like to recommend Microsoft’s free anti-virus software called Security Essentials, you must have a licenced copy of windows of course, it’s much faster and less bloated than the new free AVG 2011 which is causing older or low spec. machine to slow down. If you are a teenager who likes downloading stuff then you need to buy one of the mainstream products!
Paul Driscoll (CIMA) said:
Fed up with the increasing cost of Microsoft licences some years ago, we implemented Open Office ( http://www.openoffice.org ) to replace Word, Excel etc.. All working well and would not now go back to MS.
We are also in the process of moving all machines to Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail and Lightening for calendar ( http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird ) which is part of the same suite as the popular Firefox internet browser.
If you have a business, the chances are you will need to operate a payroll.
When you set up in business the easiest and quickest way to register a payroll is on line
Once your payroll is registered its worth obtaining dispensations to hopefully avoid or at least reduce the need for P11D’s
Having registered your payoll you will get a pack in the post from HMRC which will include a CD ‘Basic PAYE Tools’ this CD has everything you need to run your own payroll for free, as an alternative you can download ‘Basic PAYE Tools’
Its a great bit of software and you can set up multiple business and create employee databases.
The only thing it doesn’t do is produce payslips, but you can do that easily yourself by creating your own template in Word or Excel.
IR35 came into existance in 1999, it was created to prevent workers previously employed from creating a limited company and then benefiting from lower taxes and national insurance through the use of dividends and expenses.
HMRC believed that it would generate £220 million a year in National Insurance Contributions and £80 million in Income Tax, but it has actually only generated around £1.5 million a year and HMRC have brought a number of cases before the courts, the latest being MBF Design Services Ltd v Revenue and Customs (2011) and ECR Conculting Ltd v Revenue and Customs, the taxpayer was successful in both cases.
I was reading an article in Accounting Practice about the MBF Design case and HMRC assisted a Foreign Airbus UK employee to prepare his statement but apparently because the employee struggled to read the statement or be examined on it the tribunal were unconvinced.
I have always found QDOS to be an invaluable source of help in the field of IR35 and you can download free guides and contracts using this link
I recently registered to use the HMRC Corporation Tax online services and my activation codes arrived today, so far I am impressed.
Obviously you need to know how to correctly do your Tax Computations first, nothing can remove the complicated tax calculations for Capital Allowances, Loans to Participators, Small Company Relief etc, you need skill for that part. But from reading the manual it seems that you can enter your accounts, computations and complete the CT600 and file it without needing to spend a fortune on specialist software to produce the iXBRL tagging now required.
Let’s see if I am still impressed when I try to enter the information.
I love free things, don’t you?
I discovered TAS books basics a while ago
It is absolutely totally free and for a small business its ideal, its much better than trying to create your own system using spreadsheets. If you are a new business starting out why not give it go.