How can I reduce my tax? Some questions answered.

Tax is complicated and your personal situation is unique. We can’t answer every question on this website but we can address some of the most common queries.


If you have a question please e-mail or give us a ring.

Below you'll find answers to a few questions we're often asked

Just click on a question and the answer will be revealed.

When do I need to register with HMRC?

Our advice is that it’s best to keep HMRC informed as soon as possible, whether you are becoming self-employed or changing the status of your business.

For individuals, sole traders and partnerships you need to submit your returns by (at the latest) 31 January following the previous year to 5 April.

If you run a limited company you have to submit your returns within nine months and one day of your chosen year-end (or 21 months and one day from registration).

What expenses can I claim as a sole trader or employee?

The list is almost endless. It largely depends on whether the expense is incidental to, or wholly and exclusively attributable to, the purposes of the business or your employment.

On this one it’s best to ask us.

Do I need to register for VAT?

Legally you have to register for VAT once your turnover, in any rolling 12-month period, exceeds £85,000. However, it may be in your best interests to register before this point, to help with cash flow. We can help you to decide.

In some cases it may be in your best interests to avoid being registered for VAT by segmenting your business into discrete parts so you can avoid taxing your clients.

Some other businesses benefit from not registering for VAT status. An example is a builder working on a new housing development. You can charge for materials at zero rate but also reclaim VAT on expenses.

If you’re a ‘white van man’ it is in your best interests to register for VAT status immediately as you can start to reclaim VAT from day one.

I’ve employed my first member of staff. Do I need to pay employer’s national insurance?

Yes. Don’t immediately fall into this trap, though, as you have a £3,000 allowance each year.

You’d be surprised at how many small businesses forget this!

Auto-enrolment: I’m like an ostrich with its head in the sand. I’ve read and re-read about it but I still don’t really get it. Do I have to enrol my staff into a pension scheme?

Yes, you do.

If you employ one or more persons earning over £190 per week you must offer each one a pension scheme, under the Pensions Act 2008. They can choose to opt out but it’s your responsibility to offer them information.

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