The end of the financial tax year is approaching fast, and many businesses can feel the rush to complete those tax-year-sensitive tasks.
To avoid long nights of organising invoices and analysing your business accounts, the experts at Dojo share their top tips to help you get better prepared for what can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced SME owners.
The end of tax year checklist for small businesses
Find those outstanding invoices
Unpaid invoices can sometimes go forgotten, so now is the time to send out reminders and follow them up, collecting as much of the outstanding capital that you are owed as possible. This will help make your accounts more accurate, plus it’s money you’re owed!
Make note of your business expenses
Any payment you make for something necessary for the everyday running of your business, you can claim as a business expense. Business expense claims help reduce your tax bill and leave more money in your business.
You can claim expenses on anything you’ve already paid for using personal funds when your business was starting out, permitting it is no older than six months before you started trading and the expense is no older than seven years.
If you are doing admin from a home office, you can claim a portion of your home expenses like power, water and even broadband, and if you use your phone for business, you can claim on the phone bill.
You can also claim expenses on items like computers, office furniture, work vehicles and tools that will help you run your business over a long time. If you’re unsure about what counts as a business expense, you can find out more about business expense rules on GOV.UK.
Taking your clients out for meals is not tax-deductible, and gifts can only be considered a business expense if they are under £50 and do not include food, alcohol or any promotional materials for your business. But, staff parties can be claimed as tax-deductible, with expenses up to £150 per person, even for solo business!
Organise your paperwork
When you are sorting your business statements, it’s vital you make sure you have all the paperwork to prove your incomings and outgoings, everything from bank and loan statements, invoices, credit card statements, record of payments and receipts for any business expenses.
You need to maintain these records for at least five years after you’ve submitted them and HMRC may require you to file these electronically through accounting software, so it’s important that you take the time to store these correctly.
If you have products, or even materials, as part of your business, you’ll need to do a stocktake. Adjust your stock quantities where needed and ensure your inventory list is up-to-date.
For any businesses with staff, you’ll need to provide your employees with their payment summaries by the 31st May.
Your tax return is the main document you need to file to HMRC and Companies House, due 12 months after the end of the accountancy period. For those businesses which are not limited companies, this will be the 5th of April for the end of the tax year.
It’s essential to take the time to prepare these documents for HMRC, to avoid late penalty fines that increase over time, costing you and your business.