Small private companies with a year end of 31 March 2017 and into their second or later year of existence should submit their accounts to Companies House by 31 December 2017 in order to avoid a Late Filing Penalty.
If you need to file an income or capital gains tax return by 31 January 2018, then the first thing you may need to do is to get a Unique Taxpayer Reference. This is 10-digit number in a format like 12345 67890. You won’t have one if you have never previously done a tax return and it is not the same thing as your National Insurance number. See an accountant at once !
It can happen sometimes that when you are an employer, you have not actually made any wage or salary payments for a PAYE month such as the month from 6 November to 5 December 2017. In that case you must submit electronically an Employer Payment Summary as a NIL return by 19 December. This is too easy to overlook.
If you engage a local accountant and business advisor or a payroll bureau to do your wages, then this will be taken care of. In our case we keep a diary and do a batch of payrolls at about the same time each month. Our payroll files are bright yellow like the old P30BC booklet so we do not overlook them.
Construction Industry Scheme returns for the month from 6 November to 5 December 2017 should be submitted online by 19 December. This includes NIL returns.
It is only too easy to forget the need to submit a NIL return when no payments to subcontractors have been made. If you engage a local accountant to do your CIS returns, then this will be taken care of. In our case we keep a diary and do a batch of work at about the same time each month. We aim to be the Carlisle accountants that businesses will turn to for a range of advice and services.
If you want cards or correspondence to get there by Christmas Day, then the recommended last posting dates are December 9th for Australia and New Zealand, the 13th for most of Western Europe, and the 14th for the USA and Canada. Post a few days earlier for an unusual location like Eastern Europe, Alaska or Hawaii.
If your company had a deadline of 30 November 2017 for the submission of its accounts to Companies House, and this deadline has been missed, then you still have something to play for, and you should contact Carlisle accountants such as David Porthouse and Co at once. You will incur a penalty of £150, but this penalty rises to £375 after 31 December 2017 if you still haven’t submitted your accounts. These penalties are £300 and £750 if you miss the deadline two years’ running. We can readily prepare and submit your accounts within the month if you contact us now.
It is quite common to invoice a customer with terms of “30 days or net monthly account”. Small customers will be expected to pay within 30 days, while large customers will be expected to pay at the end of the month following the month of the invoice, so an invoice sent in October 2017 would be settled by 30 November 2017. Large companies do it this way because they may receive several invoices from a supplier, and will want to settle all of them with a single payment when they do their computerised cheque run. It would therefore be a good idea for the supplier to have sent a statement at the start of November listing all outstanding invoices. Typically the cheque run would be about the 25th of November, the date of this posting. If you give credit and have debts to collect, then you might like to have a discussion with us. Most accountants are also general business advisors as well.
Many companies have 31 March as their accounting year end. They will need to submit accounts to Companies House by the deadline of 31 December 2017. Companies which have 30 April as their year end will need to submit by 31 January 2018. Self-employed traders and partnerships will need to submit an income tax return for the year ended 5 April 2017 by the deadline of 31 January 2018.
Bad weather will not be accepted as an excuse for missing a deadline by either Companies House or HM Revenue & Customs. They will also not accept delays in the Christmas post or industrial action. It would be best to get on with things straight away if you haven’t done anything yet.
Value Added Tax returns for the quarter ended 31 October 2017 are due to be submitted by 7 December 2017, and any payment which is due should be made electronically by the same date.
I am now starting to be happy with my Optical Character Recognition system. I received a batch of rather heavily patterned bank statements, and the client had written on a few of the transactions. After scanning, most of the numbers were OK, but a few were missing, and a few were misread because of the handwriting.
The computer-assisted blink character shows each statement with just dates and numbers, and as little else as possible, in an “in your face” style to make comparison easy. The computer marks all the running totals which look wrong regardless of transaction order. I then type in the numbers that need fixing from the bank statements, and rerun the computer assistance routine, which cleared the errors in every case. This certainly beats having to type the whole lot in!
At the next stage, I process the first page, check that the computer has interpreted it correctly (right way up, the usual order of Paid out and Paid in), and then switch to automatic running. It all worked correctly. This is my first semi-automatic job and marks another stage in development.
I then run Narrative Prediction (this is a VAT job with previous narratives already there). Only about a third of narrative is right first time on this job. Of the narratives that are left, about half can be generated from the function keys F1 … F10 because they have been programmed from previous VAT quarters. What’s left is usually filled in by Excel’s autocomplete system, so only a few narratives actually need to be fully typed in.
The whole sequence does not take long and has dropped below a level of worrying about it. This is a fast versatile system!
On other jobs, most bank statements are approximately A4 size, but have been folded in half to send them through the post. The crease is often a troublespot for OCR scanning, but worse than that, the resulting error rate is high enough to be an annoyance, but not high enough to induce the clerk to switch to typing it in. Whatever the clerk decides to do turns out to be wrong. This is just the sort of situation where the computer-assisted blink comparator can help out. The reader could have worked out anyway that most bank statements have creases in them (saves on postage), which causes a problem 50% of the time (thermodynamic principle of equipartition), which is an issue (like chucking sand into your petrol tank). We have solved this one in the real world.