I can’t pay my Self Assessment bill – what do I do? via @simplybusiness

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in HMRC, Self Employed, Tax Return | Posted on 23-02-2013

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Two weeks have now passed since the deadline by which Self Assessment taxpayers must settle their bills.

In these strained economic times, though, many will have found it impossible to meet that deadline. Every year thousands of taxpayers require extra time to pay. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you take prompt action.

 

Act now

 

It is important to remember that the longer you leave your unpaid bill, the bigger it will get. It is all too common for taxpayers to simply ignore the problem, putting it off until a later date or hoping that it will go away altogether. This will only make the problem worse.

If you can’t pay your tax bill, the best way to deal with it is promptly. By tackling the problem head on you can ensure that it is resolved as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

 

Remember credit

 

It is now possible to pay HMRC by credit card. Although this was a controversial move by the taxman, and although it is not recommended that you rely on credit to settle your tax liabilities, this option could help to solve your tax issue if the problem is one of cashflow.

 

Review your finances

 

In order to tackle your tax problem you need to make an honest and comprehensive assessment of your financial position. This is the first step in the process of making a payment proposal to HMRC.

Make a simple budget by listing all of your outgoings and all of your projected income. Consider how much you could realistically pay each month, and add this to any amount you already have set aside to pay HMRC. Write this down and make sure that you have it to hand before you call.

 

Make a proposal

 

Once you have assessed your financial position, you should call HRMC as a matter of urgency. The longer you leave this, the higher the penalties and interest charges you accrue will be.

Different people can have wildly divergent experiences of HMRC’s phone operators. Some find them to be congenial and accommodating, while others unfortunately get short shrift. You should make sure that you are well prepared before you call, and that you have all of the relevant material to hand.

HRMC will ask why you are late paying, and whether you can borrow the money elsewhere. They will then ask you to make a proposal for a payment plan, in which you will spread the debt out over a longer period.

HMRC is obliged to consider any reasonable proposal, but there are some important factors that you must remember. Primary amongst these is that you must be realistic. If you fail to stick to your agreed payment plan, HRMC will pursue legal action against you. You should therefore ensure that you are honest about your financial position, and that you only make a proposal that you are confident you should stick to.

If you are concerned about your tax bill, or if you are facing legal action from HMRC, you should seek independent legal advice, for example from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

 

Thanks to Simply Business for posting this article. I can highly recommend them for your business insurance

The True Cost of an iPhone

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Infographic, Lifestyle, Technology | Posted on 23-12-2012

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Many of us own an iPhone, but do any of us know the true cost of it? I didn’t and this infographic goes through the various processes of to show you the cost of an iPhone.

 

Created by MBAonline.com

Top 5 Favourite Free Business Tools

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in List, Self Employed, SME, Tips | Posted on 13-12-2012

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As a small business I am always looking to save costs where-ever possible, this helps me keep my prices low whilst saving me money at the same time.

Money Saving

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below are 5 of my favourite free business tools, in no particular order, that I use on a regular basis which help me in the day-to-day running of RS Book-Keeping

  1. Dropbox – Fantastic for file sharing and allowing me to work remotely for clients
  2. Thunderbird - A free alternative to Outlook from the Mozilla team
  3. Twitter – Brilliant for online networking and connecting with other businesses
  4. Google Maps – Easy to find out how to get to meetings with new clients
  5. Skype – Free video and voice calling (so long as the other person also has Skype)

Those are my 5, what about yours?

 

Top 20 Small Business Software Apps

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Infographic, Lifestyle, SME, Tips | Posted on 29-11-2012

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If you’re a small business owner, there are now thousands of smartphone apps that can help you do things quicker, easier and cheaper.

XLN Business Services is the UK’s small business specialist and we’ve listed 20 of our favourite apps below. If you have a favourite, why not let us know at facebook.com/xlnbusiness

 
20 Small Business Apps

With many businesses feeling the pinch, XLN Business Services has listed 20 of best apps to streamline operations. View more details here

Agents of Social Media

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Infographic, Social Media | Posted on 17-11-2012

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After reaching 1 billion messages sent and 4 million users, HootSuite produced an infographic celebrating its user base. HootSuite users are influential, engaged and active across multiple social networks. I use both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to send my tweets and find them both very good. This popular blog post explains some of the pros and cons of the two.

 

Agents of Social Media

When Is The Best Time of Day To Read E-Mail?

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Opinion, Question, Tips | Posted on 06-11-2012

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The world is becoming a more and more electronically connected place.Whether it is e-mail, internet, social media, Skype and many more, it’s never hard to get in touch with someone/a company.

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The easiest way is via email, which leads to the problem of e-mail overload. It’s not a nice feeling when you sit down to work on a morning to see that you’ve got lots of e-mails to work through before you can start the task in hand. At the same time you are answering the e-mails there will be more coming through for you.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 I’ve found that the best time of day to read e-mail is first thing on a morning before I would normally start work. If I plan to start at 8am I’ll load up the PC at least half an hour before that to go through my e-mails. I can quickly scan through them to know which one’s will need replying to straight away and which ones can wait. Once the important e-mails are dealt with my e-mail is shut down until I’ve finished the first task.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving it a step further on, leaving lots of un-read e-mails can make your in-box look a complete mess and very confusing for you to work through. Why not try creating folders to put the un-read e-mails into. Give each one an easily identifiable name and put the unread mail in there i.e Newsletters, Blog updates, Twitter notifications, marketing, sales etc… you get the idea. When you have more time available to go through the less important e-mails go through one of your folders, or spend 5-10 minutes on each one.

E-mail doesn’t have to be a burden if you can get yourself into good habits and organise your in-box correctly. Give these tips a go and if you find them useful leave a comment to let other readers know that the tips work.

October’s Top 3 Blog Posts

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Blog, Top 3 | Posted on 31-10-2012

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Another blog challenge completed, and it’s been another very enjoyable one. It’s been a chance to discover some new blogs to read and also to meet new people.

I tried to keep the theme of my blogs along the lines of small business, social media and info-graphics. It seems that these were popular topics as the average daily views of my blog more than doubled from the previous month – although I didn’t write as many posts in September.

Podium

Image courtesy of sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below are the Top 3 blog post by view count over the last 31 days, just click the link to read them.

  1. 36 Rules Of Social Media
  2. Small Business Tools Behaving Badly
  3. 5 Great WordPress Plugins

Now that the challenge is over I’ll still continue to read the new blogs which I have found, I hope that you continue to come back and visit mine. When not subscribe to the RSS feed to be alerted when new posts are made?

Is Running Your Own Business Easy?

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Opinion, Question, Self Employed, SME, Start-Up, Tips | Posted on 30-10-2012

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Almost every week one of the most read posts on my blog is ‘How Much Money Do I Need To Start My Own Business?‘ To me that shows that lots of people are thinking about running a business and earning an extra income. During this recession more and more people have turned their skills and talents into a business as their day job doesn’t provide enough income, or that they are out of work.

But is running your own business easy?

 

No!

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In a word no.

  • You need to be continually trying to offer something that your opposition doesn’t.
  • Quite often you’ll work a lot more than 7 or 8 hours a day.
  • In the early stages you have to do everything (outsourcing may help as your business grows).
  • Attracting new clients/customers can be very hard at first.
  • You’ll be operating on a minimal budget in the early stages.
  • Keeping on top of your paperwork can take a lot of time.
  • You’ll need to keep up with industry news and developments to ensure that you aren’t left behind by your competitors (and maybe even get ahead of them with a new product).
  • There can be some very stressful times.

That may seem like I’m trying to advise you to stay away from running your own business, far from it. The rewards and benefits are fantastic and more than outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

 

Postitive

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

  • You get to keep all your profits (if you are a sole trader).
  • Choose when you have your holidays.
  • Working from home will allow you more time to see your children grow.
  • Don’t fancy wearing a shirt and tie today? Wear whatever you want.
  • Enjoy the job you are doing.
  • Meet lots of new people.
  • Make use of your skills which may be ignored in a ‘normal’ job.

 

Advice

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are considering running your own business I would advise you to do something that a) you enjoy and b) that you are good at and have knowledge of. Starting a business developing mobile applications when you know nothing about the industry puts you on the back-foot straight away. Starting a business that you enjoy will help you through the tough times and your enthusiasm will be clearly visible to your customers. If you are still interested in running your own business read my 3 part Guide To Self Employment for some further information

It’s not easy, but it’s massively rewarding.

5 Business Tips Everyone Should Know [video]

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Tips | Posted on 30-10-2012

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A short and concise video from YouTube sharing 5 business tips everyone should know. If you have just started your business why not write these down on a post-it note and stick it near your workstation, that should stop you forgetting some important fundamentals of business.

36 Rules of Social Media

Posted by Rob Scott | Posted in Infographic, Social Media, Tips | Posted on 29-10-2012

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We all use Social Media to help promote our businesses and network with other people. But there are some rules which you should follow in order to get the most from Social Media.

These 36 Rules of Social Media have been gathered from some of social media’s savviest users. Have a read through them and see how you can apply them too your business. You can pop-out the poster if it is too small to view on your screen.

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