Why you should be doing your tax return now
I know – doing your tax return doesn’t fill you with enthusiasm but we all know it has to be done.
This year, more than ever, it is a good idea to get your tax return completed and filed early. Here are a few reasons why:
You will know now what your tax bill is going to be at 31 January 2021 and you can start budgeting to be able to pay this on time. Submitting your return now does not mean the tax is due any earlier
- Tax refunds
If you are due a refund of tax, this will be repaid to you as soon as your return is submitted – you do not need to wait until 31 Jan for this
- Availability of Information
You will have the information to hand. P60’s should have been received recently and other financial information that you may receive in relation to your income is normally sent to you in April or May, so put it altogether now, before you have a chance to lose it!
If you are a sole trader, you will need to prepare your accounts to 5 April 2020 (usually) and again this may require you finding information and answering queries from your accountant. Not only may this information still be fresh in your mind, but if you are not working at the moment, you may have some more time to be able to complete this task now.
- Tax Credits
The tax credits renewals form has to be completed by 31 July, and being able to produce accurate figures will ensure your claim is accurate for the year, and you won’t end up having to repay amounts you were not entitled to.
- Tax Code
If you have your tax collected via an adjustment to your tax code, submitting this early will help ensure that your tax code is accurate, and you are not over or under-paying tax during the year.
Finally and possibly most importantly- its done! One less thing to worry about towards the end of the year.
Don’t forget that any payment that you were due to make on account of your 19/20 tax bill at 31 July 2020 can be deferred. You don’t need to request a deferral with HMRC, it will be done automatically if you do not make the July payment.
So although it may not be your favourite job, there are lots of good reasons to get it out of the way now. Call it a project to do alongside your kids doing their school work and set yourself a deadline. Then give yourself a large gold star when it is done!
8 essential small business tactical marketing tips – Guest Blog from Rimu Marketing
Thank you to Rosie for inviting me to write a guest blog on her website.
Today, we find ourselves in unprecedented and challenging times, many are anxious and understandably concerned about what the future holds. Marketing is a core part of running a small business and it is important to continue to engage with your target audience. It is recognised that at the moment everyone is going through their own journey of ‘lockdown’, so it is important to also consider what feels right for you, your business and your customers. It might be that now is the right time for planning and the implementation can wait. I wanted to share some tactical marketing hints and tips to help drive your small business forward, so that you have them to hand when you are ready to start planning your next campaign.
Before we get into some low-budget tactical actions which you can take today, for these to be successful it is important you have some clarity on the wider, more strategic questions. It is important to understand “What you are trying to achieve?” It could be that you wish to build your social media audiences, gain more clients or increase your revenue. Putting your customer at the heart of everything you do is important, so visualising your target audience and defining their dreams, aspirations and challenges they face is key. This will help guide your marketing approach, including: your media selection, tone of voice, image selection and creative.
Here are our 8 essential low-budget tactical marketing tips:
- Engage in social media. Social media is a gift for any small business owner. Firstly, consider which network is right for your-business audience. If you are a professional business such as a Solicitor, Accountant or HR Consultant then Linked In or Twitter will definitely be a good place to engage. Alternatively, if you are a product targeting a family audience then Facebook or Instagram maybe a better alternative.
- Video. All of the current marketing trends show that video engagement is growing at a huge rate. Plan to include use video as part of your media mix, either as a Facebook Live or mini video, it will certainly help support your reach.
- Send an email campaign. Email marketing is a great tool to use to retain and engage with your existing customers. Ensure that the messages you communicate tie into your wider marketing activity. Plan carefully what it is you would like to say and where possible design the email to be – visual, short, sharp and concise.
- Set up an offer or event. If you are keen to try to generate business think about your audience – What challenges are they facing at the moment? and How does your business support them with their challenges? If you are able to, set up an offer or incentive and use your internal marketing channels to drive awareness. If you can widen your audience by boosting a Facebook post or setting up some advertising this will help drive greater awareness.
- Pick up the phone. Many people find this a little bit harder. If you are a professional small business, why not check in with past or potential clients to see how they are doing? Maybe their circumstances have changed and they are now in a position to work with you. You never know where this will lead, even if they do not need your product or service now, they may know someone who does.
- Little and often. Marketing works most effectively when you do little and often, if you do a lot in a six-week time frame and then nothing for six-months you won’t see the results you are looking for. Plan out your activity and content, think about what you can do when you are at your busiest and start with that as a frequency base. For example, it is better to engage in one social media network well, than try to do four all at once.
- Less is more. Try to be single minded in your communications on whichever channel you are engaging with. Trying to cram too many messages into an email for example could be confusing to the reader and could have a negative effect.
- Build partnerships. If you can identify another business with a similar target audience, which compliments yours, why not try to build a partnership? Collaboration is a great way to connect with a wider audience, plus when you work for yourself it is really good to have someone else to bounce ideas around with.
Good luck in engaging with your small business audience.
Sophie Comas is a freelance marketing consultant from Rimu Marketing (https://www.rimumarketing.co.uk), if you have a marketing challenge she would love to hear from you.
Bounce Back Loans Now Available
These are now available for businesses to apply for. There is little information available other than that already in the public domain and detailed here:
The main points are:
- Loan may be between £2,000 and £50,000 or up to 25% of your turnover in the 2019 calendar year
- Available to most businesses and available from most high street banks
- Simple online process to apply – 7 questions to complete, including a self-declaration that the business has been impacted by CV19, and it was not in financial difficulty at 31 Dec 2019. We believe this to mean (in broad terms) the balance sheet was positive at that date
- access to funds in a matter of days
- no interest payable for the first 12 months – and then the interest rate is 2.5%
- repayment over a maximum period of 6 years
- no personal guarantees
- loan will be 100% government backed for the lender
- the borrow remains 100% liable for the debt – this is a loan, not a grant!
The scheme will be of huge help to many businesses, and gives firms access to funds that they may need to help them through the next few months.
It has however received mixed reviews. It is still a loan, and needs to be repaid in full by the business. The terms are generous, but many small businesses will not want to burden themselves with additional debt at this time and feel that once again small limited companies are missing out on help being given to other sectors of the community.