Tag Archives: tax credits

Tax Credits

2 Sep

Do you qualify for Tax Credits?  They have proved to be a lifeline for so many of us, and are especially useful for the early stages of self employment.  If you have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and decide to start your own business for 16 hours or more a week, you may qualify for Working Tax Credits, which could bring in roughly the same amount of money that you were previously receiving on JSA.  This can take a lot of the risk out of becoming self employed, as you still have some regular income to rely on, meaning that you can afford to invest your business income back into your business.

To receive Working Tax Credits, you usually need to work at least 16 hours a week (employed or self employed), and have a low income (this includes your partner’s income too).  You don’t need to have children to qualify.

The easiest way to find out how much you could get, is to use this simple calculator.  You will need to have a rough idea of your income for the previous tax year, and an estimate for this year if you think it will be very different (for example if you have been on maternity leave, or have been made redundant or started a new job).  You can also try out different scenarios, for example based on you working different numbers of hours, or using more or less childcare.

To make a claim, simply call 0345 300 3900.

For more information, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website, gov.uk, or the HMRC website.

How and when should I register my business?

10 Aug

When you have done your market research and decided on what your business is going to do, and chosen a business name, you need to think about registering your business.  This is a simple process where you complete an online form so that you are set up for Self Assessment.  It is free to do so and can give you the boost to really go for it with your new business!

Once your business is registered you will need to complete an annual tax return for the financial year from April-April, so you need to set up a record keeping system and keep hold of all your receipts.  Your tax return can be completed online and you have until the following January to complete it.  When you are starting a small business this is a fairly easy process that you should be able to do yourself, but as your business grows you may want to think about hiring an accountant.

As a registered business you should start paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions, at £2.65 per week.  If you expect to have low earnings (£5595 for April 12-13) at first then you can get a small earnings exemption.  However, this could affect your entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance, Maternity Allowance, and your State Pension so you should consider this first.

Before registering as self employed you should check with your Job Centre Plus advisor what affect this could have on your benefits.

Opportunity Plus South West hold regular workshops run by Inland Revenue which gives further information on the above.  Call us on 0800 043 2440 to book your place.