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Small businesses urged to cash in with simpler accounting

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2014 10:16 GMT

With the new tax year just around the corner, small businesses are being urged to consider a scheme that allows them to be taxed on money that flows in and out of their business, rather than using full accounting rules.

The ‘cash basis’ scheme can be used by sole traders and other unincorporated businesses with an annual income of less than £79,000 to simplify their accounting processes, saving both time and money.

Using the scheme involves a business simply working out the cash received in a tax year, less any money spent on allowable business expenses. This means small businesses won’t need to spend time at the end of the tax year making complex accounting adjustments, and other calculations designed for larger businesses.

Many small businesses are likely to benefit from the simplicity of the cash basis, particularly those providing services, such as hairdressers, window cleaners, taxi drivers, gardeners, painters and decorators, plumbers and electricians.

In addition, unincorporated businesses can choose to use ‘simplified expenses’. This involves using flat-rates, instead of making complex calculations of actual business expenses. It can be used for the following expenses:

·  business costs for vehicles;

·  business use of your home; and

·  private use of a business premises as a home.

HMRC has produced a short animation at bit.ly/1bMdnYc and a YouTube video at bit.ly/1g6JoyO to help small businesses decide if the schemes are right for them. Or they can watch one of HMRC’s webinars at www.hmrc.gov.uk/webinars/self-employed.htm#8

HMRC’s Carol Lunney said:

“The cash basis and simplified expenses schemes can help save small businesses time and money. With a new tax year on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking about them. So, if you’re eligible, go online and find out more about the schemes at GOV.UK.”

Further information on the cash basis can be found at www.gov.uk/simpler-income-tax-cash-basis and on simplified expenses at www.gov.uk/simpler-income-tax-simplified-expenses

Notes to editors

1.  The ‘cash basis’ and ‘simplified expenses’ schemes were launched in April 2013.

2.  The £79,000 threshold is aligned to the VAT registration threshold. The VAT threshold has regularly been increased in line with inflation at the start of each tax year, so the cash basis threshold may be higher from 6 April 2014. Changes are normally announced at the Budget.

3.  Once a business has entered the cash basis scheme they can continue to report in this way until their income reaches double the VAT threshold (currently £158,000).

4. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.