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We've scoured the web to get you the most up-to-date advice which includes the most useful tools on offer from the officials themselves.

Effective tax planning is essential if you are to minimise your tax bills. Simple tax planning can significantly reduce your tax liabilities.

The self-assessment tax return is an unavoidable burden if you are liable for self-employed tax or have complicated income tax affairs.

Corporation tax is charged on a company's profits. If you trade as a limited company, ensure that paying this tax is as painless as possible.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are payable whether you are self-employed or employed by your own company, although different rates apply.

As well as your legal obligations, you’ll want to ensure that payroll is painless and that you use any opportunities to improve your tax-efficiency.

VAT

Effective VAT planning aims to ensure that VAT is relatively painless, and that you are reclaiming as much as possible of the VAT you pay.

Capital gains are made when you sell something for more money than you paid for it. As a result, you can be subject to tax. Take professional advice.

Business property taxes apply to businesses with commercial premises.There are two commercial property taxes: business rates and stamp duty land tax.

If you have tax problems or face a tax investigation, it pays to seek professional advice and you must act rather than just hoping for the best.

Big firms face penalties for paying suppliers late

25 June 2019

For the first time, large businesses could be fined for failing to pay smaller suppliers on time under new government proposals.

The government has announced a new package of measures to tackle late payment. It will also consult on strengthening the powers of the small business commissioner to "hold to account the minority of larger businesses who fail to make payments on time".

New powers could include compelling firms to disclose their payment terms and practices, imposing financial penalties or binding payment plans on large businesses found to have unfair payment practices.

The small business commissioner will also take over responsibility for the Prompt Payment Code, ensuring the commissioner has the powers to affect culture change in unfair payment practices.

The announcement has been widely praised by leading business groups. Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Late payments and poor practices are a scourge which leads to the closure of 50,000 small businesses a year. Today's measures will for the first time see the culprits brought to account … By forcing audit committees of big businesses to report payment practices in company annual reports, there will be no more covering-up by those who treat smaller suppliers shabbily."

According to figures from freelancer body IPSE, two-thirds of self-employed workers have suffered from late payment and lose an average of 20 days a year chasing payments. Andy Chamberlain, IPSE deputy director of policy, said: "The late payment culture that so many big businesses get away with needs to change. For the two-thirds of self-employed people who experience it, late payment means no income, empty bank accounts, debt and possibly destitution. Today's announcement is a welcome step in the right direction."

Under the new measures, company boards will be held accountable for supply chain payment practices for first time. Edwin Morgan, interim director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: "These proposals mark a significant step forward in the fight against late payments. In particular, forcing larger firms to report on their payment practices will ensure much greater scrutiny where standards fall short, and sunlight is often the best disinfectant.

"We are delighted that the government has heeded the IoD's calls to make this a whole-board approach, against suggestions that responsibility be allocated to an individual board member. All board members must get to grips with this issue, and the collective nature of board decision-making is a crucial pillar of effective corporate governance."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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