Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I find out my UTR?

    Your Unique Taxpayer Reference or UTR will be issued to you by HMRC, you should find it on correspondence from HMRC including, notices to file a return, payment reminders and statements of account. You can also find it in your HMRC online account. If you can’t find any of the above, you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3310.

  • What is a UTR?

    A UTR or Unique Taxpayer Reference is a 10 digit reference number that HMRC gives you or your company when you register for self-assessment tax. You will need this reference number whenever you communicate with HMRC.

  • How do I find out my national insurance number?

    You will find your national insurance number on your payslip, P60 and some correspondence from HMRC/DWP. You will also find it in your personal tax account.

  • When do I need to submit my self-assessment tax return by?

    If you are submitting a paper return HMRC need to receive it by 31 October following the end of the tax year. If you are submitting your return electronically you have until 31 January following the end of the tax year.

  • I haven’t submitted my tax return on time, what are the consequences?

    The consequences of filing your return late depend on how late you filed it. If you filed it up to 3 months late, the fine is £100. If you are more than 3 months late there is a further penalty of £10 per day for up to 90 days, If you are 6 months late there will be a penalty of £300 (or 5% of the tax owing of greater) and if you are more than 12 months late, there is another £300 charge (or 5% of the tax owing). Don’t forget if you are also late paying your tax, there will be additional penalties and interest.

  • How do I pay my self-assessment tax?

    You can pay your tax bill, online, over the phone, through the Post Office or by direct debit. See HMRC’s website for further details:

  • How do I set up a PAYE scheme?

    You will need to register as an employer with HMRC, this needs to be done before your first payday. It can take up to 5 working days to get your PAYE reference number. The link to register as an employer with HMRC is below:

  • What does PAYE stand for?

    PAYE stands for Pay as You Earn, it is a method of collecting tax and National Insurance and is operated by employers.

  • When will I receive my P60?

    You must be given you P60 by your employer by 31 May following the end of the tax year. The P60 summarises an employees total pay and deductions for the tax year.

  • What is a P60?

    A P60 is an annual statement an employee receives from their employer showing the gross amount they have been paid, the tax deducted and the net income they receive. It also shows their final tax code for the year.

  • What does a bookkeeper do?

    A bookkeeper is someone who maintains your business’ records, they will keep track of all your income and expenditure and ensure that everything ties up to the bank. They will often prepare VAT Returns and Management accounts.

  • What does an accountant do?

    An accountant will prepare your accounts and tax return from your accounting records, often they will also provide business advice and support. Your accountant will deal with HMRC on your behalf and will even complete your mortgage reference or counter sign your passport!

  • Do I need an accountant?

    Not all businesses need an accountant, however tax and accounting regulations are very complicated – there is a reason why it takes so long to qualify as an accountant! We would recommend that all businesses have their own accountant, but you don’t have to be qualified to be an accountant. Make sure you look for someone who is either ACCA or ICAEW qualified.

  • Do I need a bookkeeper?

    You don’t need a bookkeeper if you are confident in keeping your records and you have time to make sure they are always up to date. If you don’t have the time or you aren’t confident in keeping your records we would recommend that you use an experienced bookkeeper.

  • How do I claim R&D tax credits?

    R&D tax credits are claimed through your Corporation Tax Return.

  • How much can I earn before I pay any tax?

    The personal allowance for an individual for the tax year 18/19 is £11,850, this is the amount you can earn before you start paying tax.

  • How much can I pay into an ISA each year?

    The maximum amount you can pay into an ISA is £20,000.

  • Are dividends pensionable earnings?

    No – dividends are not pensionable earnings. Common sources of income that are relevant earnings for pension purposes include; employment income; income from a trade, profession or vocation; redundancy payments in excess of £30,000; SSP and SMP.

  • Can an employee claim use of home as office?

    If an employee is working at home by choice they cannot obtain tax relief for working at home. If as part of your employment contract you are required to work at home you may be able to claim expenses that are wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the performance of your employment duties. The HMRC approved flat rate allowance for claiming this is £4 per week.

  • Does Auto enrolment affect me?

    Auto enrolment affects all employees and workers aged between 22 and the state pension age, earn more than £10,000 per year and work in the UK. If you meet all of these criteria you will be auto-enrolled by your employer. Even if you don’t meet all of these criteria you are still able to join your employer’s scheme.

  • What is the minimum contribution for auto enrolment?

    The minimum auto-enrolment contributions are currently 5% of qualifying earnings of which 2% must be paid by the employer. In April 2019 the minimum amount will increase to 8% of which at least 3% must be paid by the employer.

  • How many qualifying years do I need for a state pension?

    To receive the full new state pension, you will need 35 qualifying years. To gain a qualifying year you will need to have either paid sufficient National Insurance or received NI credits during a tax year.

  • How long do I need to keep my business records for?

    If you are running a limited company, you need to keep your records for 6 years from the end of the financial year that they relate to. If you are self-employed you must keep your records for 5 years from the 31 January following the end of the tax year. VAT records must be kept for at least 6 years.

  • Do I need to register for VAT?

    You must register for VAT if your turnover (excluding any exempt supplies) exceeds £85,000 in a 12-month period or if you expect to go over the threshold in a single 30-day period.

  • What are VAT exempt sales?

    Exempt goods or services are supplies that you cannot charge VAT on. There is a full list of exempt supplies here VAT rates on different goods and services - GOV.UK ( Common exempt items include education and training, medical treatments, financial services and insurance.

  • What is outside the scope of VAT?

    When things are outside the scope of VAT, it means that VAT doesn’t apply to them at all. These are generally things that don’t involve the supply of goods or services such as loans, tax payments wages payments etc.