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Are you using your time effectively?

by mike tombs
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I came across an interesting concept the other day called Deep Work. It’s not a new concept or anything, fundamentally it just means working in a more structured fashion instead of getting bogged down by phone calls, meetings, social media etc. We are living in the age of distraction after all. This concept can help a couple of groups of people: Firstly, for people who are easily distracted by technology and ‘busy-work’, it is a way of staying focussed on what you should be doing. This cuts out on some of those late hours caused by procrastination and the like. [...]

Looking for a little more work-life balance?

by mike tombs
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If, like many business owners, you find yourself working too many hours a day and too many days a week, the ideas below may help you get things back under control. Prioritise - Categorise the things on your do-to list so you can focus on the right things. You can best do this on a grid with urgency at the top, and important at the side. Urgent and important things should be considered for delegation, or think how to avoid them becoming urgent in the future. Urgent and unimportant things can be thrown in the bin. Working in the ‘important [...]

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

by mike tombs
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A good team is made up of a diverse group of people, with a mixture of personalities, skills and expertise. When the time comes to take on a new person, it’s vital that you put some real thought into who you’re hiring and why. Before you take on a new team member: • Know what gaps need filling – spend some time working out what roles you need filling and how they fit in with your business plans (both now and in the future) • Be clear on what you need them to do – ensure that any new role [...]

What’s your perfect price?

by mike tombs
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Pricing is notoriously difficult. We tend to undervalue ourselves, which inevitably leads to under-pricing ourselves. Under-pricing yourself leaves you having to work harder and longer hours, to maintain the same profit margin. Instead of managing as many customers as we can cope with, why not consider working with fewer clients, who pay who more? That way you can provide an excellent service or product to people who appreciate what you have to offer, without having to scrabble around working all hours for a tiny profit margin. The golden rule is a 10% increase to your prices will increase your profit [...]

Are you lonely?

by mike tombs
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Running a business can be a very lonely lifestyle. You probably went into business for a whole host of good reasons, and with a clear understanding of the problems that running your own business can bring you. But you might not have considered the loneliness. Endlessly making decisions by yourself, holding the sole responsibility for the consequences of those decisions can wear people down. This is not a sign of weakness, it is merely a reflection of the difficult nature of running a business. Every decision that you make will have a ripple effect of consequences. For example, the pound [...]

Working from home?

by mike tombs
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We are often quizzed by clients who are contemplating working from home: what are the tax consequences? And in particular, will I have to pay capital gains tax?   Capital gains tax   Generally speaking, if your business use is limited to allocating space for a home office, then as long as there is duality of use, no capital gains tax complications should arise when you sell the property. Duality of use means that your home office: doubles as a spare bedroom, or a storage space for domestic items, or is a study or has a similar non-business as well [...]

Are you paying 60% income tax?

by mike tombs
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When your income exceeds £100,000 for income tax purposes your entitlement to a personal allowance (£11,850 for 2018-19) is reduced by £1 for every £2 that your income exceeds this threshold. Which means, when your income reaches £123,700, you no longer qualify for a personal allowance. The effect on the income tax rate you pay in this band - £100,000 to £123,700 – is alarming. As well as paying tax at the higher rate of 40%, income up to the value of your lost personal allowance £11,850 that was previously exempt from tax is now due to be taxed at [...]

What now for the gig economy?

by mike tombs
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The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Gary Smith, a self-employed contractor with Pimlico Plumbers, who considered he was due worker’s rights and has now had his assertion rubber stamped by the highest court in the land. There are no win-win outcomes following this case, in fact the status of all sides in the so-called “gig economy” is up for reinterpretation. Let’s hope that government is up to the task and is able to draft clearer instructions on this fractious area of tax law so that we can all proceed to negotiate future arrangements between companies and their self-employed [...]

When is a car a van?

by mike tombs
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There are advantages for tax purposes if the vehicle you buy for your business is considered to be a van as opposed to a car. If you are VAT registered, you can claim back the VAT added to the purchase price (as long as there is no private use in which case you will have to apportion your claim) and the acquisition will qualify for generous tax allowances. If you buy a car you cannot reclaim the VAT and tax allowances are far less expansive. There are exceptions; for example, if you by a car to use solely as a [...]

How deep are your pockets?

by mike tombs
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Next month, those of us who are still self-employed will be digging deep to pay our second payment on account for the tax year 2017-18. The deadline to avoid late payment interest and penalties is 31 July 2018. For most of us, these payments on account (January and July 2018) for 2017-18 are based on agreed self-assessment liability for 2016-17. Which begs the questions, what if your liability for 2017-18 is more or less than 2016-17? The quick reply is fairly obvious, you will be over or underpaying tax in January and July 2018 dependent on your taxable income in [...]