Time flies – 5 reasons you should file your tax return early
Can you believe that we are already over 1 month into the start of the new 2017/18
tax year? The saying ‘time flies’ has never been truer. Unfortunately, that
means we are also 1 month closer to the filing deadline for our 2016/17 tax returns
and you may have already received your annual reminder from HMRC.
Tax returns dated 06 April 2016 to 05 April 2017 are due for electronic filing no later
than 31 January 2018, the penalty for late submission (up to 3 months) is currently
We are all tempted to brush our accounts and tax returns to the side whilst we
concentrate on the running of our businesses day to day… after all, it is the easy
option BUT I am sure you can agree there is always that one niggle in the back of
your mind that gets bigger and bigger as we get closer to the 31 January deadline.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a stress-free couple of months knowing you are all up
As a business owner, and it has taken me a long time to realise this myself BUT
sometimes we have to give ourselves a break. Instead of feeling stressed and
anxious for 9 months wondering what your tax return will be, why not do it now and
release yourself of that tension? Your mind will feel much better for it allowing you to
concentrate on more important things like business plans for future growth. I like to
think a clear mind is an exciting mind.
If that doesn’t tempt you here are a few further advantages of filing your tax returns
So you are in a position where you do have a tax liability payable to
HMRC, by preparing and filing your tax returns sooner rather than later you are
giving yourself more time to plan, save and budget your cashflow accordingly (and
no last minute surprises). The payment deadline will remain at 31 January– It will not
trigger an earlier payment date and maybe depending on individual circumstances
you might even be able to have any tax due collected via PAYE through an adjusted
tax code (providing your tax return has been filed by 31 December).
If you are lucky enough to be due a tax refund, the sooner you file the tax return, the
sooner you will receive the amounts due, you do not have to wait until the 31
January before repayments are released. HMRC are fairly reasonable and refunds
tend to get repaid in a matter of weeks upon receipt of the tax return.
By preparing and filing your tax return early you are effectively creating
yourself more time to gather all of the necessary information required instead of
rushing around last minute ploughing through draws, cupboards, piles of paper,
carrier bags, etc. There is also less time to lose important documents and forget
what happened that 1 day back in April 2016 that your accountant is now querying
It will also give your accountant more time to identify and investigate any errors and
or discrepancies within your accounting records.
Tax Credits –
If you are currently in receipt of tax credits your deadline for renewal is
31 July. Although at this date you are able to provide HMRC with estimate figures
wouldn’t it be much more efficient to be able to give them actual figures?
By providing HMRC with actual figures you can ensure you avoid the HUGE
It is also worthwhile remembering if you do see a sudden change in your income
throughout the tax year to inform them as this can also have an impact on your
HMRC Enquiries –
HMRC currently have 12 months from the date you file your tax
return to raise any queries they may have. The sooner the return is filed, the sooner
this period will close. Which goes back to my initial point, an HMRC return can be straining,
the sooner the 12 month period has passed the sooner your mind can be at ease.
Of course, I’m sure everything will all be OK if you are chosen by HMRC, especially if
you have the helping hand of a reliable accountant.
So what are you waiting for? – Get in touch today to see how we can help you.
Hello Mums, I cannot believe how fast April has flown by. Between half term, Easter weekend and the crazy intake of tax returns I received I don’t think my feet have touched the ground.
Happy New Year
As you most probably know April 6th is the start of the new tax year.
If you are self-employed or are required to prepare a self-assessment for various other reasons you may have received by now a HMRC notice to complete a tax return. If you haven’t don’t panic, it will turn up sooner rather than later.
Important Filing Dates
Your 2016/17 tax return must reach HMRC and be paid in full by 31st January 2018 (if filing electronically). This deadline is brought forward to 31st October 2017 if you still like to fill out the form and send it via post.
Don’t forget if you miss this deadline you will have to pay an initial penalty of £100. The later you send in your return, the more penalties you are likely to pay.
And, of course if you are in receipt of tax credits the renewal deadline is 31 July 2017. I would always advise completing your tax return prior to this date. This means you can give HMRC actual figures instead of estimates and avoid any complications for over payment scenarios. (I had one many years ago when I was made redundant and it was a real bite in the bum).
Tax Thresholds for 2017/18
The most important question to anyone who is self-employed I’m guessing is ‘How much can I earn before I pay any tax?’ The answer for the 2017/18 tax year is as follows:
Personal allowance – The standard tax free personal allowance for 2017/18 is £11,500*. Any income above this up to £45,000 will be taxable at 20%.
National insurance class 2 – If your profits are above £6,025 class 2 NI will be payable at a flat rate of £2.85 per week. Don’t forget this is the last tax year you are required to make class 2 NI contributions!!
National insurance class 4 – If your profits are above £8,164 class 4 NI will be payable on profits above this rate at 9% up to £45,000 where it will then drop down to 2% for profits above the second rate.
*Please note there are various circumstances that might impact your individual personal allowance such as marriage allowance, income levels, etc.
If you find yourself in a bit of a panic when it comes to self-assessment. STOP, take a deep breath and get in touch. Here at Mums Tax Break HQ I understand how hard it can be juggling everything and that is why I am here to help. As crazy as it seems I actually like working with cashbooks, spreadsheets and tax returns.
This time 8 years ago I was enjoying my maternity leave, I was staying at home with baby Declan. We would very often have lots of new baby snuggles, nap together, go out visiting family and have lots of fun time in local mother and toddler groups. I didn’t once think about my day job until it was almost time to return to work.
This time 3 years ago I was dreading my maternity leave. Isla was due on the 10th April and I had 5 VAT returns to do for that month… I worked right up until my due date and managed to get them all done in record breaking time. I took 2 weeks off from work after giving birth (which also happened to be Easter holidays for Declan). As soon as it was back to school, it was back to work, service resumed as normal. I missed out on a lot and I sometimes wonder if I made the right choices.
Long ago, when you imagined maternity leave, you probably thought of long walks with the pram and days filled with endless baby cuddles. Although there can still be these moments, if you plan on keeping your business running while you are on maternity leave then the reality might be quite different.
In 2016 a study revealed that 2,319 pregnant mothers in the UK (1 in 6), planned on starting a business on maternity leave that’s not to mention the millions already in business that need to keep them running. So with so many of us juggling babies and entrepreneurism how do we avoid burn out?
1. Ask for help
Sometimes you just have to swallow some pride and accept that you can’t do everything; it’s not physically possible.
As women it is common to try to do everything ourselves, we don’t want to look like failures; we want people to think we have everything together and we want to convince ourselves the same thing. The reluctance to ask for help is also guided by the misguided concept that we are the only ones who can do a job properly (OK, in some cases this is true)!
Learning to ask for help isn’t a weakness though; it’s a sign of strength. There are simple things that others can do that can make a real difference to your day to day life. A little support with housework, childcare or the school run can go a long way.
The time you save can be put into your business or used as quality time with your new-born (or to sleep).
It’s not just the duties in the house that you can get help with. There might be some elements of your business that can be run just as effectively by hiring a freelancer.
Before you decide what to outsource, look carefully at your business and what processes are essential to keep it going. For example, this could be social media management, accounts or blogging. You may only chose to do this in the early days before you feel ready to take them on yourself again, alternatively you may choose to continue to outsource the jobs you don’t enjoy doing so you can focus on other things like business growth and family.
3. Be visible
Being visible is a key element to any marketing plan. If you disappear for 6 months then people will forget you are there.
There are lots of ways to keep your business out of the shadows. Networking is a great way to show you are still in business and to nurture relationships, if you can’t get child care there are even child friendly groups that are run across the UK. There are also lots of opportunities to network online where you can show up in your PJ’s and no-one knows.
A consistent but realistic blogging and social media plan will also keep you visible to your ideal client.
4. Go with the flow
Sometimes babies won’t nap when we expect them to. They get ill, they cry, they throw laptops on the floor (true story), if you put pressure on yourself to make everything perfect you are only setting yourself up to fail. It is also worth remembering that there will be times when your baby sleeps longer than you expect and other times when they are happy and playing independently.
Giving yourself permission to go with the flow, means that you can take advantage of these miracle moments and not feel regretful when things don’t go to plan.
5. Pace yourself
You might be super woman, but you are still only human. Juggling a new-born and a business is not an easy task and you must remember to give yourself credit for what you are achieving on a daily basis. Even if you just do one job a day, you are still running your business. If you push yourself too hard, you will struggle to maintain the pace. If you feel you need a rest take it, if you want to go to the park instead of doing invoices, do it.
The first year of your baby’s life will soon be gone and so take care to manage the balance so that you don’t miss out (and you give yourself time to sleep).
6. Manage your money
It is likely that whether you receive some form of maternity pay or not, your income will take a hit as your business takes a back seat.
It is for this reason that self-employed mothers don’t really stop working at all or at least not for very long. This cut in monthly income at the same time as a new baby comes into your life can quickly lead to money worries.
In preparation look at money saving strategies such as changing utility providers or cancelling direct debits you no longer need. You will have enough on your plate with a new baby keeping you up at night; you don’t need money issues as well.
Are you expecting your first baby and wondering how to juggle your business and baby life? Or are you experiencing maternity in a different way like myself when I had Isla? Perhaps you’ve nailed running a business whilst on maternity…
Either way we’d love to hear from you. Please leave your stories in the comments below!!