As we head towards the end of the year and one of the busiest sales periods for many businesses, one vital task can easily escape your mind…
If you're running your business as a sole trader, you might feel like 31 January is a long way off, and you have the security blanket of time to help you get your accounts in order.
But this is one of the biggest mistakes business owners can make this time of year… waiting till January to get organised only to find themselves unnecessarily stressed sorting paperwork and finding the money to pay their tax bill.
If you miss the deadline for making your returns you will receive a minimum £100 fine from HMRC that only gets bigger the longer you leave it.
Let us help you avoid any fines and undue stress by sharing 4 things you can do now.
1. Know your deadlines
First and foremost, it’s vital to know what tax deadlines are coming up:
5 October 2017
Register for self-assessment if you have yet to do so. You need to register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year. You could be fined if you don’t.
31 October 2017
Paper tax returns due.
31 January 2018
Online tax returns due. Make sure you’ve registered for an online account with HMRC.
31 January 2018
Pay the tax you owe or you could be fined upwards of £100.
2. Enlist professional help now, if you need it
If you want to hire an accountant to help you prepare and submit your tax return, now is the time to find and hire one.
Professionals are under a lot of pressure in January to help existing clients get their taxes sorted, often at the eleventh hour. You may find, if you leave it till the New Year, there are less people available.
3. Get organised ASAP
Whether you hire someone to help or Do It Yourself, it can take time to get all the necessary paperwork in order.
If you’re not one for filing receipts, invoices and purchase orders as they come in, now is the time to get organised.
If it feels like too much, do one task a week - e.g. could you make sure your business is logged properly this week?
4. Save for your January payment now
You can have the best will in the world and still fail to save properly for your tax bill. When cash flow is up and down, or you rely on everything you bring into your business, it takes mammoth discipline to keep money aside (trust me, I know!).
But it’s unlikely to get any easier to find the money come January (especially after Christmas), so start saving for your January payment now if you have yet to do so.