Dolan Accountancy specialises in providing accountancy services for freelancers, sole traders and the self-employed. Our low cost fixed-fee package makes it easy for you to focus on running your business, and not having to worry about managing your finances – or whether you’re going to get any unexpected bills from your accountant, just for asking a quick question!
We give you unlimited access to your own dedicated accountant via phone and email, so you can get the expert advice that you need when it comes to dealing with all of your tax issues. We’ll also assist you in dealing with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on any issues you may face, and send you reminders of important dates in the accountancy calendar, so you never miss a deadline. We also complete your Self Assessment Tax Return for you.
Who are we?
If our name sounds familiar, don’t be surprised. Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brands SJD Accountancy and Easy Accountancy. After selling the business in 2014, Simon stepped away from the industry for three years, but watched the market very closely – deciding in 2017 to come back into the accountancy world that he knows so well, but to do things a little differently . . .
“I believe that enabling each client to have proactive advice from their dedicated accountant is vital, but many firms have moved away from this level of service in favour of a more impersonal approach. These companies, and even those who have retained an element of personal service, are not embracing new technologies to make their clients’ lives easier – choosing instead to use technology to increase their own margins and to mask internal inefficiencies.
I wanted to start again from scratch, with no legacy issues, providing you with a service that is second-to-none, based on my years of experience in building up the UK’s largest accountancy firm for contractors, freelancers, sole traders and the self-employed. My experience in other industries such as aviation and engineering has helped me to understand how efficient processes can transform my business and yours, and this is what we intend to do. I look forward to taking that journey with you.”
The outcome of all this is Dolan Accountancy – dedicated accountancy, delivering a combination of experience, service and technology for freelancers, sole traders and the self-employed. From just £40 + VAT per month including access to FreeAgent™ online accounting software – some of the lowest rates in the industry.
What is a Self Assessment Tax Return?
You may know this already, but we thought it made sense to start at the beginning, just in case. When you operate as a self-employed freelancer or sole trader, it is your responsibility to let HMRC know how much tax you owe them, and then to pay that tax on time.
This is achieved by completing a ‘Self Assessment’ Tax Return each year, which details how much income you have received from your business, and from other sources, and how much you have spent in business expenses. The difference between your income and expenditure is the ‘profit’ on which you will be taxed – and you can then determine how much tax you should pay on that income. You may even find that you have over-paid in the past, and HMRC owes you money instead!
Do you have to complete a tax return?
All self-employed people have to complete a tax return of this type, as they do not have an employer who is calculating their tax liability for them, and taking that at source via PAYE. When you first set up as self-employed, you need to register this fact via the HMRC website, and this will automatically trigger the Self Assessment process. This will ensure that you can calculate the correct amount of income tax you owe, and also the correct National insurance (NI) payments.
Tax returns can be completed online, or you can request a paper form that you fill in and send back – remembering of course that paper tax returns have to be submitted earlier than online ones. We’d always recommend doing this online, but you will need to set up a Government Gateway ID in order to do this, which can take a few weeks to arrange. This can be done at www.gateway.gov.uk.
When do you need to complete your tax return?
Tax is calculated based on the financial year, which is April 6th to April 5th – so as soon as a tax year is finished, you are then in a position where you can calculate your income and expenditure for that year. We would always advise that you keep track of all your figures during the year in a spreadsheet or online accounting package, and then you won’t be wading through heaps of invoice and receipts, some of which will be over a year old, trying to make sense of it all.
We also recommend that you complete your tax return as soon as possible after the end of the financial year – just to make sure it’s done and you don’t have to worry about missing any deadlines. Also, the sooner you do it, the sooner you will know your tax liability – and hence how much money you actually have left to spend! Having said that, the deadlines are actually much later in the year, as follows:
- Midnight on 31st October for paper returns
- Midnight on 31st January of the following year for online returns
What information do you need in order to complete a tax return?
In short, you need to know all of your income for the financial year, and all of your business expenses. However, this can be broken down further into the following main areas:
All income which you received during the year. This can include:
- The total turnover of your business for the financial year in question – this is the total amount that you invoiced to clients, or generated in any type of sales
- Any bank account interest
- All additional income, for example if you were employed for part of the year before setting up as self-employed, or if you have a part time job on the side
- Any income from renting out a property – though you can claim expenses against this as well which is handy
All expenses which are made ‘wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your business’ during the year. These ‘allowable expenses’ can include things like:
- Accountancy fees
- Business travel and hotels
- Stationery and postage
- Phone and internet costs
- Equipment for business use
- Business related motoring expenses
- Software for business use
- Technical books and journals
- Some professional subscriptions
- ‘Use of home as office’ allowance
- Expenses in relation to a property that you rent out
You will also need to provide details of any tax you have already paid, for example if you were an employee for part of the financial year.
Once you have completed your tax return, you will need to keep copies of receipts relating to allowable expenses for at least six years, to cover you in the unlikely event of a tax inspection.
What happens if you submit your return after the relevant deadline?
If you are late by even a minute you will be given a £100 fine, so it really is worth getting it done in plenty of time. This remains the case if you are up to three months late – after which time the fines start to increase. Additional fines can also be incurred if your payment is late as well as your return. There is an online tool on the HMRC website which you can use to calculate penalties, but it’s just best to avoid getting into this situation in the first place!
How and when is the tax paid?
As someone who is self-employed, you need to pay your tax in two instalments, on 31st January and 31st July each year. This is known as ‘payments on account’, and in effect you are actually paying your tax in advance, based on what HRMC calculates you will owe.
For example, if your business was started during financial year 2017/18, then you would be completing your tax return for that year any time after April 2016, and before 31st January 2018. If your tax was calculated at £4,000 for the year, you have to pay this amount, plus the same amount again ‘in advance’ – but split over the two dates.
So, on 31st January 2018, you need to pay the £4,000 tax that you owe for 2017/18, but also half your projected tax bill for the following year, an extra £2,000. This means your January payment is actually £6,000. Then on July 31st you pay the remaining £2,000, and so on from there – always running one year ahead. If you find that your income in a subsequent year is lower, then your payments can be adjusted accordingly and you may find you have no tax to pay at all on some occasions.
What do we offer?
Dolan Accountancy specialises in providing accountancy services for freelancers, sole traders and the self-employed. We offer a monthly low cost fixed-fee package that covers everything that you might need such as unlimited access to a dedicated accountant via phone and email, proactive advice on dealing with all of your tax issues and completion of your Self Assessment Tax Return annually.
As a Dolan Accountancy freelancer, sole trader or self-employed client, you will have your own dedicated accountant – and you can speak to them on the phone whenever you need to, or contact them by email, without incurring additional costs. We want to be sure that you feel totally confident in contacting us with any issues you have – without having to worry about any unexpected bills.
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy tackling your Self Assessment tax Return yourself, we can certainly help. We charge just £150 + VAT per year to complete your tax return.