Most businesses need to produce accounts at least once a year. For a sole trader, contractor working without a limited company or a freelancer, this is generally at the same time as your Self Assessment Tax Return (SATR) is due. For a limited company, it will be after the financial year ends, whenever that might be. Company Directors therefore need both to ensure Accounts are produced for the company, and also a SATR for themselves personally.
We can produce, check and submit both SATR and also Annual Report and Accounts for limited companies, all in a highly cost-effective way.
- Full annual accounts produced by our experienced accounts team
- Full Self Assessment Tax Return compiled and submitted to HMRC on your behalf
- Everything we do is HMRC-compliant
- Returns checked and submitted to HMRC and Companies House as required.
We also provide specialist support for Charities.
Charities need a more complex set of Accounts, complying with the requirements of the Charity Commission, and we can compile and submit these for you. As registered HMRC agents, we can also compile and submit Gift Aid returns to HMRC, ensuring you receive Gift Aid on donations quickly and reliably.
Self Assessment Tax Return
Whatever type of business you have, be it a sole trader, contractor or limited company, a tax return must be completed to declare your income to HMRC and to let them know how much tax is due. The Self Assessment Tax Return (SATR) applies to individuals, and you must complete a SATR if you're a sole trader, company director or you're asked to do so because you have high income or complex tax affairs. HMRC gives more details on who needs to complete a SATR here.
Unfortunately, not submitting your tax return on time can result in considerable penalties and interest being accrued by HMRC. This is why it’s so important to put arrangements in place early on to ensure everything is completed on time.
In addition, if you're organised with your tax affairs you'll know how much tax is due in advance with a good amount of time to pay your balance to HMRC.
The SATR is a form which covers most income earned in the fiscal (tax) year which runs from 6th April to 5th April the following year. The SATR must be filed with HMRC, if filed online, by 31st January after the end of the relevant fiscal year. A tax return that's not filed online must be with HMRC by 31st October after the end of the fiscal year.
It's sometimes the case that a sole trader's accounting year does not match the tax year. In this case they will report on their tax return their earnings for the accounting year that finished during that tax year. There are special rules for the early and final years of a business's life.
Some income is earned tax-free and is therefore not reported on the tax return at all.
Some of the benefits of using Whitehill to handle your SATR are:
- Peace of mind. By using professionals you know that your tax calculations will be correct and accurate given the information to hand.
- You are less likely to be investigated by HMRC if you use an agent, as HMRC have ways of knowing if figures submitted on a return are likely to be incorrect. This is a common trigger for a tax investigation.
- Save time. In most cases it will take you a lot longer to complete your own tax return than it would for Whitehill. This time could be better spent running your business!
- Claiming everything you’re entitled to claim. Although Whitehill are not tax advisers, we may be able to find areas to reduce the tax owed. This is usually in the form of under-declared expenses.
Annual Report and Accounts & Corporation Tax Return
Any limited company is required to produce an annual report and set of accounts once per year. This is placed on the public record at Companies House and is often used for credit scoring, deciding the amount of interest on a loan, and even in preliminary valuation of a company. In addition, the accounts will form the basis for the corporation tax return which tells HMRC how much tax is owed. If you have several shareholders, it also keeps them informed on how the company's doing.
Aside from accounts being a requirement, they can tell you how well your business is doing and may highlight areas that need to be addressed. For example, if you sell products or offer a service and your accounts show that your margins are too slim, you may decide to increase your prices or negotiate harder with your suppliers to increase profit and keep your business healthy.
The annual report and accounts has to be prepared by a limited company at the end of its financial year, to explain to the shareholders and other interested parties how the company has performed over the year. The annual report may contain, among other things, a;
- Chairman's statement.
- Directors’ report.
- Profit and loss account.
- Balance sheet.
- Notes to the accounts.
- Auditors’ report (only for large companies - see our article)
- Strategic report. (only if required by the Board of Directors or shareholders)
- Corporate governance statement (only if required by the Board of Directors or shareholders)
- Directors' remuneration report (in some cases)
The report is required by section 415 of the Companies Act 2006.
Some of the benefits of using Whitehill to compile and submit your Annual Report and Accounts are;
- Full annual report and accounts production by experienced staff
- Accounts are compliant with the latest Financial Reporting Standards and legal requirements
- Compliant with HMRC requirements for use in Corporation Tax submissions
- Compiled and submitted to Companies House and HMRC
- Corporation tax return checked, compiled and submitted to HMRC as part of the service
Charity support is one of the more specialised areas Whitehill deals with. A charity is often a limited company as well, and so requires accounts to be submitted to Companies House as well as the Charity Commission. A charity may be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), reporting to Charity Commission only - or even a Community Interest Company (CIC) with different reporting requirements.
Registered charities and some other organisations can register with HMRC to claim gift aid on donations. We often find that charities struggle to ensure all donations are recorded and gift aid reclaimed in good time; relying on volunteers to do this can lead to costly errors and omissions. We therefore offer specialist reporting and gift aid reclamation services to charities, in the most cost effective way we can.
CIOs were intended to be a more efficient way to run a charitable venture than standard charitable companies, since the regulation is not as complicated or onerous. A CIO only has to submit one annual return and one set of accounts per year, to the Charity Commission. Charitable companies have to submit two of each owing to their dual responsibility to Companies House and the Charity Commission. CICs have a duty to provide 'duplicate' submissions to Companies House and the CIC Regulator.
The reporting requirements and standards for Charity reporting are different from those for a limited company.
- all charities (whether registered with the commission or not) must prepare accounts and make them available on request.
- registered charities must prepare a trustees’ annual report and make it available on request.
- the duty to file accounts and the trustees’ annual report with the commission applies to all CIOs, irrespective of income and to all other registered charities whose gross yearly income exceeds £25,000. The trustees’ annual report and accounts should be filed online.
Non-company charities with gross income of over £250,000 during the financial year, and all charitable companies must prepare their accounts on the accruals basis in accordance with the Charity Commission's Statements of Recommended Practice (SORP). They contain a balance sheet, a statement of financial activities and explanatory notes. These accounts are required in accountancy terms to show a ‘true and fair view’.
In addition, charities with gross income of more than £25,000 in their financial year are required to have their accounts independently examined or audited. Precisely what type of scrutiny is needed depends on the income and assets of the charity. Broadly speaking, an independent examination is needed if gross income is between £25,000 and £500,000 and an audit is needed where the gross income exceeds £500,000. An audit will also be needed if total assets (before liabilities) exceed £3.26m, and the charity’s gross income is more than £250,000. Whitehill can provide audit or independent examination for charities not requiring a chartered accountant to audit - broadly, that's if income is less than £1,000,000 and the Trustees haven't required an audit by a chartered accountant.
All registered charities have a duty to complete and file an annual return with the Charity Commission. This applies to all CIOs, and to all other registered charities whose gross yearly income exceeds £10,000. Charities whose gross income is below £10,000 have an obligation to keep their registered details up to date - they can use the annual return to do this. Charities which are also limited companies will need to file a Confirmation Statement annually with Companies House.
The annual return and confirmation statement enable the Charity Commission and Companies House to ensure that the details of every charity on the register of charities are as complete and accurate as possible. The annual return gives the commission basic financial details, and details of contacts, trustees, activities and of the charity’s classification.
Whitehill can provide a Company Secretariat service which will ensure these requirements are met, information is checked and completed in good time, and queries are dealt with.
Gift Aid Reclaim
Charities accepted by HMRC for Gift Aid reclaim can submit details of donations made by supporters and receive a percentage of additional income from HMRC provided the criteria for Gift Aid reclaim are met.
It's often tempting to leave gift aid reclaim to a volunteer. We've found that this can lead to missing documents, missed or incorrect reclaims, and money lost to the charity.
Whitehill are accepted agents for charities to reclaim Gift Aid; this means that we can oversee the process of monitoring declarations, compiling donations and reclaiming the associated Gift Aid using HMRC's online systems. We can also deal with queries on behalf of a charity, and ensure you get the best value from the donations your supporters make. We'll generally seek to integrate the Gift Aid reclaim process with your bookkeeping, and have a bespoke App which integrates with the UK's leading cloud accounting system, Quickbooks Online to ensure the process is as fast and error-free as possible.
Some of the benefits of using Whitehill to support your charity are;
- Specialist systems and expertise in compiling Annual Return and Accounts for Charity Commission, Companies House and the Community Interest Company Regulator
- Checking and Independent Examination of accounts as required by Charity Commission
- Accounts and returns fully compliant with the requirements of the Charity Commission and other regulatory bodies.
- Fast and effective Gift Aid reclaim