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Who Should Use the New Self Employment Tax Returns in the UK


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New self employment tax returns were published in April 2008 replacing the self assessment tax returns for self employed business in the UK. The new tax returns are similar to the previous self assessment forms and have two main variations, full and short tax returns, dependent upon the level of sales income.

The new self employed tax returns were introduced quite late in the reporting process being published at around the end of the financial year, to which they relate, 2006 07. This should not be a problem to those familiar with the previous small business tax return as the format is similar and presented in a simpler way to facilitate better understanding and accurate completion.

Self employed businesses are required to keep records of financial transactions without the necessity for formal accounting but must keep sufficient financial records to support the financial entries submitted in the tax return. While formal financial accounts may not be essential requirements an organised system of record keeping using bookkeeping or accounting software is highly desirable to maintain financial control.

The accounting system employed can be simple lists of financial records supported by sales invoices, purchase invoices and where applicable cash or bank records. The essential support to all bookkeeping procedures are third party documents received or issued to provide a full and fair financial account of the business.

Rules apply whether the short or full return should be submitted to the tax authority. Generally most small businesses with an annual turnover under 64,000 pounds would complete the short tax return however there are specific exclusions where the full return must be completed. The self employment (full) tax return is required to be completed when the following conditions apply and the self employment (short) tax return is required where the conditions do not apply.

  1. Sales turnover exceeds 64,000 pounds during the financial year or exceeds an average of 5,333 pounds per month if trading for less than a full financial year.
  2. The accounting date to which accounts are made up has changed in the last financial year.
  3. The results of the accounts have been declared in a previous tax return.
  4. The basis on which the accounts have been prepared has changed from a cash accounts basis an accruals basis.
  5. The business includes the provision of professional or contracts that continue into the next financial accounting period.
  6. Business is conducted outside the UK.
  7. Agricultural or Industrial Buildings capital allowances are being claimed.
  8. The self employed basis period is different to the accounting period.
  9. Overlap tax relief is being claimed.
  10. Averaging profit is being claimed by a farmer, market gardener or creator of literary or art works.
  11. Practising barrister or advocate in Scotland.

If none of the above conditions are applicable to the self employed business then the self employment short tax return may be completed.

The self-employment short return is less complex than the full return. The main decision point being the 64,000 pounds limit at which a full return is required which is also the vat threshold for the financial year 2006 07. It may not be coincidental that the chosen cut off point for the full or short return is also the vat threshold applicable in that financial year.

For the financial year commencing April 2008 the vat threshold was increased sales turnover of 64,000 to 67,000 pounds.

Detailed expenditure is not required if sales income for the financial accounting period was under 30,000.

Finally if the self employed person has more than one small business a separate tax return must be completed for each business. This rule applies even if a single set of accounting records has been kept for all the businesses. It is therefore appropriate for separate accounting records to be maintained for each small business to simplify the completion of the tax returns each year.

About the Author

Terry Cartwright, DIY Accounting, produce Small Business Accounting Software UK and Payroll Software for self employed business that provides Simple Bookkeeping solutions that automatically complete both the short and full versions of the Self employment new tax returns.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-06-03 23:14:39 in Tax Articles

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