but if you are running a business, you might like to try looking at yourself from the outside. At least keep a file showing your product literature, your website, how you are accessed in typical searches, your entry in Yellow Pages, and so on. Try to co-ordinate everything. Watch out for spelling mistakes. For example, if I am looking for an accountant in Carlisle and I search Google for “accountant carlisle” at the moment, I can find two spelling mistakes in the first two pages (as of March 31 2015), being made by accountants large and small. What do you look like on Google Images?
Archives for March 2015
We have previously argued that if you have a pension fund, then you must buy an annuity to insure yourself against the risk of living a long time and requiring the income to match. If you do live a long time, then you get a cross-subsidy from all the other pensioners who die before you, and this keeps your annuity going. I have tried some spreadsheet modelling on this, and there is no magic scheme which can guarantee a substantial lifelong income other than the standard annuity.
Most people reading this were born in the United Kingdom, have lived here all their lives, and still live here. They are obviously British. For the purpose of paying income tax, they need to declare their worldwide income, including income received from overseas. If their total income is substantial, then they may have to pay income tax at higher rates, known as surtax.
Let’s say we have a business which is good at what it does. New technology means lower costs, so more profits are re-invested in still better technology, staff training, promotion, lower prices and a generally better deal for the customer. The business is expanding steadily. This is called organic growth and it is something for businesses to think about.
Public accountants face a big deadline on January 31st when they need to file electronic tax returns on behalf of their income tax clients. This keeps them very busy in December and January, and leaves them with little to do in February and March.
So what exactly are Digital Tax Accounts? They sound like a wonderful idea. Your bank’s computer looks at your sales income, works out how much tax you need to pay, and then deducts it. No more hassle. No more annual accounts or tax returns. No more accountancy fees. Me out of a job?
We are now into the era of “Pensions Reform”, which allows you to cash in your pension and take it all as a lump sum, subject to a tax charge. Let’s just pour some cold water on this idea.
Let us start with a couple of definitions. Tax avoidance means taking action to avoid paying tax. For example, if you are passing through the duty free shop at an airport or port and you buy something, then you are engaged in tax avoidance because you could have bought the same item in a normal shop where VAT and other taxes would have been payable.
Many businesses will want to be able to use assets such as machinery, vans or a shop which they cannot afford to purchase outright, and so they will need some sort of business finance in order to assist with the use of the asset. The cheapest source of finance is usually your bank. There are two ways to borrow money from a bank, namely by an overdraft or by a fixed-term bank loan.
Most businesses these days have a website, and websites can often be bought off-the-shelf and customised quickly so that at least they give a few basic details about your business. If you are setting up a new business, it can be a good idea just to have a simple website with an address which you can add to your business stationery and advertising material. You can always upgrade the website later.