Self employed

The majority of our clients need to file personal tax returns, as a result of being a company director (or indeed by virtue of being self employed or a member of a partnership).

Alternatively, you may be trading as a sole trader or partnership in which case you may need the right paperwork and records to submit your tax return such as pension, income, expenses, together with capital gains information.

Our accountants incorporate the relevent information from your company accounts (if aplicable) into your tax self assessment return. They will also factor in income from other investments, land or property and overseas assets. For a rough idea on the tax payable if you draw a salary, have a look at our income tax calculator.

Sole trader allowances and deductions

Our team work hard to make sure that all legitimate allowances and deductions are factored into the calculation of your tax liability. They will also offer comprehensive tax advice, making sure that you understand how you can make the most of tax breaks provided for, by example, by paying a proportion of your income into a personal pension.

By completing your annual accounts in good time, it’s not necessary put yourself through the usual stress to get the self assessment return cobbled together in early January in time for the deadline of 31st. Although we’ll get the tax self assessment return done well in advance, there is of course no need to pay the taxman any earlier than required unless you are feeling particularly generous.

A significant number of our clients are self employed, whether as sole traders or operating as a partnership. We ensure that you get excellent service, excellent advice all with a minimum of fuss and stress, suing the best cloud software.

If this sounds of interest, why not get an instant self assessment quote or give us a call. One of the advantages of using us is that we are very cost effective but can also have the caliber of people to offer experienced advice on more complex accounting or tax issues, problems or opportunities at a strategic level.


If your annual turnover exceeds the current VAT threshold then you will need to register with HMRC for VAT and complete and submit VAT returns to HMRC, usually quarterly.


Flat rate VAT?

VAT Returns represent a major administrative burden for many business owners, but for small businesses with an annual turnover of £150,000 or less (current figures, may be subject to change) the Flat Rate Scheme may be the best option.

Under the Flat Rate Scheme a business pays a fixed, flat-rate percentage of gross turnover to determine how much VAT it must pay to HMRC quarterly.

Although a small business using the scheme will still charge VAT as normal on all of the ‘supplies’ it makes, and issue VAT receipts to customers in the usual way, the quarterly VAT return should be more straightforward because it only requires the business to calculate its total sales and then apply a flat rate of VAT to the VAT-inclusive value.


Advantages and possible disadvantages of the flat rate VAT Scheme

Although a small business using the scheme will still charge VAT as normal on all of the ‘supplies’ it makes, and issue VAT receipts to customers in the usual way, the quarterly VAT return should be more straightforward because it only requires the business to calculate its total sales and then apply a flat rate of VAT to the VAT-inclusive value.

Another advantage of the flat rate scheme, beyond simplifying the process, for non-flat rate vat returns, of recording  VAT inputs (money received) and outputs (transactions where vat has been paid for supplies or services bought) is that the Flat Rate Scheme can also enable some small businesses to increase revenue by paying a lower rate of VAT to HMRC than the rate, currently 20%, to be added to charges to their own customers.

For example, with a restaurant, VAT will be added of 20% to the customer but under the flat rate scheme the restaurant would pay a flat rate which is currently 12.5% for VAT. The restaurant example demonstrates that this may in fact not be such a great advantage. With flat rate VAT, no outputs can be set off against inputs. The restaurant will but lots of products where VAT has been added and cannot set these off. Consequently, with a business that buys a lot of goods or services, the flat rate may in fact not be advantageous.


Different flat rates for different business types and sectors

The rate that businesses use to determine their VAT rate under the Flat Rate Scheme will vary depending on the products and services the business offers (you can find a full list of business sectors, with their respective flat rates of VAT, here).


How does a business register for the VAT Flat Rate Scheme?

In order to apply for the Flat Rate Scheme a business must meet a number of eligibility criteria:

  • It must be a VAT-registered business (either because its turnover exceeds the current £85,000 VAT registration threshold, or because it has opted for voluntary registration)

  • The business’s annual turnover must be £150,000 or less

  • The business must sell products or services that are ‘taxable supplies’ ie they are not exempt from VAT

  • The business must not have left the Flat Rate Scheme during the previous 12 months

  • The business must not be part of a margin or capital goods VAT scheme

  • The business must not be ‘closely associated’ with another company

Assuming they meet the eligibility criteria, small business owners can apply to join the Flat Rate Scheme here.


Separate your VAT amounts received from other monies received

A situation we, as accountants, encounter far too often is where some clients do not separate VAT monies received from other monies. We always advise clients to set up a separate bank account and to transfer VAT received into that account weekly or monthly at most and to do so with absolute discipline.

Failing to do this can lead to the money which will be due to HMRC being used for general business purposes. Then, when it comes to quarterly VAT payments, there may not be enough funds to pay. HMRC can be very aggressive in pursuing outstanding VAT and delayed payment surcharges can be very expensive. Far better to treat VAT as not your business money, which is the reality, and to put it aside in a separate bank account.


Online VAT and accounts package

If your VAT Returns are relatively simplistic then in certain circumstances it may make sense for you to complete them yourself. We can advise you on whether you should feel comfortable filing your returns on your own.

If you use a bookkeeping software package then more than likely it will have the ability to submit your VAT returns electronically based upon the bookkeeping you have completed.

However, VAT can be a very complex area and sometimes it can be worth outsourcing the completion of your VAT returns to professionals. This is where we come in!


De-register for VAT?

If your business turnover falls below the VAT compulsory threshold you can de-register for VAT with HMRC. We would be happy to advise and assist you with this process.


VAT inspections

Being notified, often with very little notice, of an inspection from HMRC is understandably stressful and fills business owners with dread. At the very least, it creates for at least a day or possibly more while the inspectors are on site. It is imperative to co-operate fully and HMRC has wide powers to look at your business records and paperwork.

It’s also almost certainly true that HMRC inspections and/or investigations are more likely with businesses that are highly cash generative such as any retail business or in the food, drink or leisure industry. Don’t assume that because you are careful in keeping records and always pay VAT on time that you won’t get an inspection.

Many clients who are advised they will get an inspection feel worried and feel less so if they have accountants on board who have prepared the returns but also who can be present when HMRC turn up. As part of our services we can help and also if an inspection turns into an investigation with potential sanctions and enforcement.


VAT problems and pitfalls

Common problematic areas include :-

  • If goods or services are bought for both business and non-business use, the input VAT may be apportioned with only the business element recovered.

  • Entertainment - VAT on business entertainment for third parties (eg customers and suppliers) can never be reclaimed.

  • If the goods are for export, or leave from outside the UK, you should take advice.

  • Discounts -  a problematic area because it is easy to calculate and pay VAT to HMRC on the  full price and forget that you gave a discount, resulting in less VAT being paid to you. Also, be careful with trade discounts and discounts for quick payments given to customers or clients.

  • Customer bad debts - VAT payable to HMRC is generally due based on when the invoice was submitted not when payment is made and this can create obvious cashflow issues. If a customer defaults and you have already paid the output VAT to HMRC. This issue can be mitigated for smaller business by using an alternative and generally advantageous cash accounting basis scheme where vat returns include only monies received.


VAT advice and services

Please do get in touch if your business needs help with VAT or an efficient and VAT service to go along with your accounts. If you have a VAT inspection or some kind of issue or dispute, we can also help with that.

Business Plan

Many years of real world commercial and managerial experience at your disposal

Our financial experience is available to you to help you put together a well considered business plan which will allow you to plan and formulate realistic and accurate forecasts. We also have legal and marketing consultants in-house to assist with key non-financial aspects of a well rounded business plan.

For businesses looking to raise external investment, a good business plan can often mean the difference between attracting interest in the first place or not. A good plan is essential for credibility. Banks and other 3rd party funders are also likely to expect a business plan and a poor one will reduce your chances of a successful application significantly.

We recommend that as part of the financial part of a business plan, a cash flow statement and balance sheet will need to be prepared.


How to write a business plan?

Key aspects of the process often include :-

  • Executive Summary;

  • Description of product or services;

  • Market opportunity and competitive differentiation;

  • Details of management team and ownership structure;

  • Financial projections;

  • Researching competitors, customers and the market;

  • Funding requirements (if any).

Don’t overestimate or sugarcoat

We all want to present our business in the best possible light but realism is important. There are risks associated with every business and every business plan. Ignoring or overlooking these risks, failing to anticipate that you will be asked about them and especially the financial section and projections, is a very common error. Think of Dragon’s Den and you will quickly appreciate how this process works. So, always be realistic.

Keep your business plan under review

It can be tempting, especially if the plan was prepared to raise investment or a loan, and that succeeds, to file the plan away and not look at it for months or years. Businesses change all the time though as do market conditions. So, it’s important to review and update your plan regularly.  Also, filing the business plan away reduces the chance of sticking with it. If you don’t implement a good plan because you forgot about it, you’ll end up kicking yourself at best.


Business plan advice and services in London

Every business is different so every business plan is diffeerent and the content may depend on whether it's for internal planning and use, to apply for finance or seek investment or a combination of these or other reasons. Our experience extends to many business and sectors, including :

  • Restaurant and catering business plans

  • Start up business plans

  • Software and tech business plans

  • Gym and leisure businesses

  • property investmeent and real estate related

  • Care homes

If you need any help writing, preparing or updating your business plan, whether it's the accounting section or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to drop in to our London head office or call or email us.

What is the Construction Industry Scheme

With a number of similarities to PAYE, the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a mandatory withholding tax where either 20% or 30% is deducted from a self-employed construction subcontractor's payments and paid directly to HM Revenue and Customs on their behalf.

The deductions serve as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s annual income tax, spreading some of their tax liabilities over the financial year instead of accruing an end-of-year tax burden. Under CIS most subcontractors will have no income tax to pay at the end of the year, and many will get a tax rebate after claiming expenses back against the tax they have already paid.


Registering for CIS 

Contractors who pay subcontractors for any and all construction work must register for the Construction Industry Scheme. Subcontractors don’t have to register for the Scheme, but deductions are taken from their payments at the higher 30% rate if they do not register.

Why was the CIS created?

The primary reason the government created the Construction Industry Scheme was to reduce tax avoidance and tax evasion, which have been particularly prevalent in the construction industry in the UK. The Scheme has the added benefit of helping subcontractors spread their income tax burden across the year in line with their income.

However, the CIS is not without its detractors, with some critics suggesting the Scheme is being used by some contractors to remove employees from the payroll by reclassifying them as self-employed subcontractors, thereby depriving them of the legal rights enjoyed by salaried staff.


What is classed as construction work?

Under the Construction Industry Scheme most structural or decorative work carried out on a permanent or temporary building or other physical structure is classed as construction work. In addition to typical construction work such as demolition, bricklaying, carpentry, plastering or joinery, work that may not traditionally be seen as construction, such as painting and decorating, are also classed as construction work under CIS.

Professional services (for example, architecture or design) and support services (eg catering or cleaning) are not usually classed as construction work under CIS. Scaffolding hire, delivering materials to a construction site and fitting carpets in a building are also not covered by CIS.


Getting help with your books does not need to be an expensive luxury. Our accounting consultants are set up to offer good value support, so you can spend more time growing your business.

Business Coaching


Our most popular business coaching programme, TMC coaching Business over 6 months, whatever stage you’re at. It may be that you’re just starting out or before you’ve even begun to trade, or you’re wanting to diversify your existing business, grow it or develop a new business model. Your business in many ways is an individual as you are and as a result we tailor our coaching to suit your needs, at each stage of your journey.

We begin with an expert, in-depth, holistic analysis of your business, it’s effectiveness, it’s challenges with your future goals in mind and get to the root of what you and your business is about and from here, we create an immediate and longer-term action-plan that will ensure your success.

The TMC coaching Business programme includes 8 hours of coaching a month by phone or Skype, 4 hours face to face meetings ,email support with your Coach, web-design, SEO, online marketing, PR,  and Accountancy.

Corporation tax advice and services

With corporation tax reliefs and rates changing on an annual basis, it’s important to make the most of all of the exemptions, allowances and deductions available for tax returns calculations.

Our specialist tax accountants cover all aspects of technical tax guidance your small business may need. We spend time with you to understand your circumstances,   minimising tax and the best way to structure your business for growth and risk mitigation. 


Filing a corporation tax return

All active companies must file a corporation tax return to HMRC each year to work out how much corporation tax is owed.

But there are plenty of reliefs that can help reduce your bill.


What is a corporation tax return?

A corporation tax return is based on the profit or loss you have made and any expenses or allowances claimed to calculate your corporation tax bill.

The return and payment must be submitted to HMRC.

Your corporation tax return takes the profit or loss you have made in your accounts to work out how much you owe HMRC in corporation tax.

The corporation tax rate is currently 20 per cent but is due to fall to 17 per cent by 2020.


Deadline to file your corporation tax return

Businesses typically need to file a corporation tax return 12 months after the end of their accounting period.

An accounting period is set by HMRC and the taxman will inform you of your deadline.


What is in a corporation tax return?

Your corporation tax return includes details of your profit or loss from your statutory accounts to work out how much corporation tax is due. 

The annual accounts are useful as the balance sheet and profit and loss report provide data that will be used in the corporation tax return.

But the profit you make is not necessarily directly linked to the amount of tax you will pay as there are several reliefs, allowances and expenses you can claim to reduce the bill

First there are allowable expenses such as business travel or stationery that you can claim for.

Businesses can also carry forward losses from previous years to set against future profits.

There is also an annual investment allowance of £200,000 for items such as computers and printers.

You can offset any of this spending against your tax bill. So if your profits were £100,000 one year but you spent £20,000 on equipment, you would only pay tax on £80,000.

You need to include all calculations for these expenses in your return.

It can be complicated to work out the reliefs you are entitled to and to make sure you report the right information to HMRC.


Corporate tax rates and breaks

Small businesses benefit from lower rates of corporation tax than larger corporations and several additional tax breaks for small businesses have been created in recent budgets – a trend which looks set to continue. Staying on top of the changing legislation and carefully considering other personal income and pension arrangements, can lead to some significant tax savings, especially if there is scope to spread out earnings over a number of years.


Company accounts filed on time and correctly adjusted

There's always a balance for the small business between trying to save money on professional fees as against having the assurance that you are getting the level of skill and experience to get things done in the most advantageous way.

All our company tax filings are checked by senior accountants and, using the best software and internal systems, we remind you and ourselves well in advance of any filing deadlines. This ensures we get the right paperwork from you to ensure all adjustments and allowances can be included in good time before your tax filing deadline.

Payroll services in London

Outsource your payroll  to us to save valuable time

We are able to provide good value support for small business payroll production.

We often get asked about the cost of payroll for small businesses, specifically if it's worth outsourcing, and the answer is yes.  

If you have reached the stage where you can no longer manage payroll in house then it's time to find an accountancy firm to do the job for you at an affordable price. 

Outsourcing payroll means that you can maintain control while delegating administration to a professional to ensure accuracy in the job as your workforce starts to multiply. 


Employee tax and National Insurance

Our accounts team will calculate employees’ tax and national insurance contributions and adjust these for sickness, paternity or maternity leave. We will send the final payroll calculations for your approval and then provide you with paper payslips to pass on to your staff or electronic versions which can be emailed directly to your employees.

As part of our payroll services, we’ll also calculate your employer’s national insurance contribution and prepare your monthly PAYE returns as well as producing P45 forms for employees when they leave. At the end of the year we will also produce a P60 for each employee showing all taxable income for the year.

We’ll also help you navigate the tricky topic of employees’ expenses and help you make sure these are treated correctly and as tax efficiently as possible.