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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.

SMEs to get more government contracts under new plan

12 March 2019

Engineers examining documents on clipboard at construction site against clear skyA new SME Action Plan has been launched to unlock opportunities for smaller businesses to access government contracts.

Under the plan, the government has set a target for £1 in every £3 it spends to be with smaller businesses by 2022. It means that by then, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will have spent an extra £35 million with UK small and medium-sized businesses.

"The UK's 5.7 million SMEs make a massive contribution to the economy. These businesses may be small but their impact is huge, employing 16 million people and accounting for £1.9 trillion of turnover," said small business minister Kelly Tolhurst.

"Key to their continued success is ensuring the government is open and transparent in its procurement processes, giving smaller businesses every opportunity to bid for and win contracts … One important measure we will introduce is to require BEIS Group's biggest suppliers to monitor and report SME spend in their supply chain arising from BEIS contracts."

The plan will also require the government's large suppliers to advertise their sub-contracting opportunities on Contracts Finder.

The SME Action Plan has been welcomed by the National Enterprise Network. Alex Till, chair of the National Enterprise Network, said: "Making more local government contracts available to small business is hugely welcome, and the commitment to ensure £1 in every £3 will be spent with small businesses by 2022 is a good target."

However, he added: "Many small businesses … do not have the time and skills to complete the complex paperwork associated with government procurement and simply find themselves at the end of an unprofitable sub-contract. We will be relying on the government to simplify the paperwork as a key part of the SME Action Plan."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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