The most important aspect of saving tax for a business is to claim all allowable expenses. To qualify as an allowable expense, the expense must be wholly and necessarily incurred for the use of the business. If the expense is split between business and private then only the business proportion can be claimed. There has to be receipts to match claimed allowances, so tracking and recording all expenditure is important. The following information gives the main expenses that can be claimed as allowable expenses.
Asset purchases are accounted for using depreciation (for company accounts) and use of capital allowances (for tax purposes). Typically 20% of the asset cost can be claimed each year as expenses, although there are specific rules for different types of assets. HMRC currently gives an Annual Investment Allowance of £250000 for some assets, so these can be fully claimed in the year they are purchased. AJACCTS provides depreciation and capital allowance analysis to give the best indication of how to use these allowances.
There are a number of ways in which company owners can pay themselves. The traditional salary payment has the disadvantage of incurring NI contributions for both the employer and the employee, however HMRC gives each person a yearly allowance before contributions are required. A common method is to pay a small salary to use up personal NI/tax allowances and pay the rest in dividends. This is considered the most tax efficient method. AJACCTS software knows about the annual allowances and can be set up to use this method.
If a business makes a trading loss in a financial year then there is no tax to pay, but there is no automatic refund from HMRC to cover a loss. However, the loss in one year can be used to recover tax paid on profits from previous years, or the loss can be ‘saved’ to offset against profits that may occur in future years. AJACCTS keeps track of profits/losses over multiple years and you can choose how to apply the loss.
The Directors Loan account is a convenient mechanism to allow directors to loan or borrow money from the business. It is important to note that HMRC requires any loan from the company to the director to be cleared within 6 months of the end of the financial year otherwise the loan attracts a 25% tax liability. AJACCTS provides management of Director Loan Accounts.
In certain cases it may be useful to defer dividend payments to a future year, especially if the director/owner is a higher rate tax payer, but may not be in the coming years.
HMRC sets very strict deadlines for tax submissions and tax payments. Different taxes have different dates. There are penalties and fines for late submission and/or late payment. AJACCTS knows when all submissions/payments are due to ensure that penalties and fines are avoided.
For people who work from home, the use of the home is an allowable expense. Either, use the flat rate of £4 per day without receipts or work out a proportion of the household bills.
Tax treatment of cars is constantly changing and is now tied in to the emission level of the car. In general, a car purchase is considered an asset and is expensed through depreciation/capital allowances. On the other hand a car lease is considered an expense and the cost of the lease can be fully claimed as an expense.
Where the company provides a company car then this is a Benefit in Kind to the employee/director and is subject to personal tax. When a personal car is used for company business two methods are available for reclaiming the expenses. Either, all receipts can be input or an allowance of 45p per mile (first 10,000 miles), 25p per mile thereafter can be used. AJACCTS converts miles claimed into actual money in the accounts.
Around the end of the financial year some judgements can be made whether to defer Sales revenue / Income into the next financial year. This will reduce profit for the current financial year and so reduce the tax liability for the current year. The judgement is based on current year profit and estimate for the following year.
Spending money on items your business needs to maximize deductions. For example, stock up on office supplies, payments to suppliers made in advance to secure best price or discounts.
If there is a drop in the market value of your inventory – you may be able to claim additional deductions. AJACCTS provides a full inventory management system that shows average purchase prices and stock levels.