by Gavin Stoker Published 01/12/2011
the company can be called direct within office hours, Monday to Friday. Like Aaduki it also offers public liability and professional indemnity cover, should you require it, and there's a discount of up to 40% off premiums for SWPP members.
Paperwork can be tedious, but it's a vital part of setting up your photographic business. Maintaining good accounting records so you don't end up paying too much tax - or too little, for which you are subject to pay interest on any shortfall - should be a priority.
For clarity, setting up a separate business bank account is advised. It's also important you ferret away sales invoices and purchase invoices (expenses) methodically until the time comes for you, or your accountant, to do the necessary tally up when filling in your self-assessment form at the end of your financial year, typically an online process.
Though you may wish to cut costs by doing your own tax return, employing an accountant needn't be costly. You can set the cost of hiring one against what's owed, plus their expert knowledge of relevant regulations could spare you unnecessary expense as well as tedium.
Stockport-based TWD Accountants describe themselves as offering 'affordable expertise', and have specific accounting services tailored to photographers. For a VAT-inclusive fee of £270 (if you're not VAT registered) the firm will complete your annual accounts and self-employed tax return, look for ways to reduce the tax you pay and submit your accounts to HM Revenue & Customs, thereby taking away most if not all of the paperwork. With year-round access to the firm's team of experts, as part of this reasonable package there's even a year's free access to its online bookkeeping system.
As a broad guide, your 'before tax' allowance (the amount you can earn before the Chancellor wants a slice) is currently £7,475. From here on in, an incrementally increasing percentage of earnings is subject to taxation. However, forewarned is forearmed, so you might like to keep up to date with tax matters and get a projected idea of what your final yearly tax bill might be if you continue to earn at a certain rate. You can do this easily by visiting onlinetaxcalc.com.
By filling in an online form for this free service you can get an idea of your tax liability plus how much you will need to have saved to cover your tax demand - in other words, keep in control. Calculations are instant and as soon as an invoice amount or expense is input, your tax bill is updated. Should you feel you need more hands-on professional advice, however, or have more complicated tax affairs, a 'second level' service at onlinetaxcalc. com puts you in touch with Coulsons chartered accountants at £29.95 per month inc VAT.
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