MSCO Accountants Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have an accountant / bookkeeper

You don’t have to – there is no legal requirement. However, there are legal requirements to do with tax compliance, VAT, payroll, etc. If  you get something wrong, you could be faced with large fines. It can be better value in the long run to employ an accountant. And remember, accountancy fees are tax deductible.

I am looking for a price, what are your fees?

In order to provide you with a quotation, we can arrange a free, no obligation, consultation with you to discuss your individual needs so that you only pay for the level of support that you require. This allows us to best understand your needs and provide a tailored quotation for you. From this meeting we will provide you with a fixed fee quote that we both agree to and you will then know exactly what you are paying for the services we provide. Our clients tend to prefer to pay monthly which is an option we can discuss in the meeting.

We clearly explain our work clearly and are happy to act as business advisors in order to help you grow your business

Can I work with you no matter where my business is based?

Absolutely. We’re an online practice so we will work with you using Skype, phone and email. So you can work with us wherever you are.

How do I switch accountants?

We make switching as easy as possible and it is easier to switch than you may think. There are no tax implications and you can switch at any time of year.

What business structure should I use?

There are many, from sole trader, to partnership, to limited company. There are also other kinds of company, such as community interests or limited liability partnerships. We can help you work out the best option for you.

What can I claim?

This will depend on your trade. It might include options such as travel and telephone bills – we can advise you further.

What information do I need to provide to my bookkeeper?

We will need documentation regarding all your expenses, such as receipts. You can send these to us digitally or give us paper copies – whatever works best for you. This allows us to keep track of cashflow and submit tax returns on your behalf.

How does VAT work?

Standard VAT requires you to do the following:

1. Add up all the VAT you have charged (20% on top of net fees)
2. Deduct VAT you have paid to suppliers
3. Pay the difference to HMRC

This will usually need to be reported to HMRC quarterly in the form of a VAT return.

Do I need to register for VAT?

This depends on whether you are close to reaching the threshold for VAT registration. If your turnover is close to this figure or likely to go over it soon, you may be required to register for VAT. You can find out current thresholds at GOV.UK.

It might be the case that registering for VAT will be beneficial for you, allowing you to claim back VAT, or charging VAT and paying it over at a lower rate.

We can advise you further based on your personal circumstances.

Are there any VAT exemptions?

You may be exempt if you are a sole trader. However, the advice from HMRC can be a little confusing and the penalties can be serious. You can begin by looking at the information provided by the government, and if you need any further advice, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Are there any deadlines I need to know about?

The financial year end is set by Companies House and is normally 12 months from initial setup. There is a nine-month period from financial year end for you to file accounts with Companies House, and 12 months to file corporation tax returns and accounts with HMRC.

What is the tax year?

It runs from the 6 th April to the 5 th April.

What are the deadlines for tax returns?

They are due by the 31 st January from the end of each tax year.

Do I need to have a payroll scheme?

If any of the people you are paying within your business are classed as employees by HMRC, you will need to have a payroll scheme in place. This is to make sure that they are being taxed properly as you will be responsible for the tax and National Insurance contributions that you deduct from them and pay to HMRC. If you’re not sure whether you need a payroll scheme and whether the people who work for you are classed as employees or self-employed, we can advise you further. If you do need a payroll scheme, we can administer it for you and pay your staff members by BACS.

Can I benefit personally from a payroll scheme?

It’s possible that it might be more tax efficient for you to pay yourself a salary and dividends as you can benefit from the tax-free personal allowance. We will offer you personalised advice.

Do I need to use PAYE?

You don’t if the people who work for you are classed as self-employed as they will be responsible for their own tax and National Insurance contributions.