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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.

Salaries set to rise for the first time in two years

2 January 2020

Professional salaries in the UK are expected to increase by at least 3% in 2020, following two years' of pay freezes.

The findings come from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters. Its annual Salary Survey 2020 is the biggest research piece of its kind, reviewing over 100,000 roles and canvassing the views of over 9,000 UK employees.

The latest findings show that professionals working in legal, marketing, procurement, accounting and finance and tech-based roles will see their pay increase above the national average. However, salaries in HR, banking and logistics will remain static - at most receiving a 1-2% increase. For contractors, the most lucrative day-rate increases will be in procurement (+8%), supply chain (+5%) and marketing (+4%).

Salary increases above 2020 inflation rates (1.94%) are expected across UK regions. The biggest pay increases for white collar professionals will be in the Midlands (+4.46%), the North (+3.31%), the South East (+2.90%) and Merseyside (+2.86%). In fact, London will experience the slowest growth in salaries at +2.15%.

Chris Hickey, UK ceo at Robert Walters, said: "While the UK was defined by a year of political and economic instability due to Brexit, the hiring market performed better than anticipated. There were pockets of hiring activity within sectors that received notable VC funding such as technology and fintech. Other areas of positive recruitment in 2019 were property, professional services and specific areas within banking such as hedge funds."

According to the data, professional job vacancies increased by 17% in 2019 when compared with the previous year - with the most notable hiring activity taking place in Birmingham (+26%), Belfast (25%), Manchester (+24%), Glasgow (+23%) and Nottingham (+23%).

In most cases, regions outside of London had almost double the job growth than the capital.

Chris Hickey said: "What the data highlights is that the UK will continue to be a global hub for professional services - from legal, HR, accounting, marketing, tech and business support - the UK continues to have some of the best skilled talent in the world."

Looking ahead, Hickey predicts that technology sectors - including fintech, agritech and education technology - will continue to grow.

"With the outcome of the general election now declared and Brexit at the centre of plans for 2020, we anticipate that there will be greater opportunities amongst emerging industries, disruptors and SMEs. Those sectors receiving notable VC funding will be ones to watch. It's businesses in these categories that will drive the hiring agenda by recruiting agile, tech-proficient and commercially savvy professionals who have their finger on the pulse of developing markets."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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