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Tax tools whatever your trade

FREE tools to help small and medium-sized businesses get in ‘ship-shape’ have been launched by HMRC.

From basic fact sheets to online ‘tools’, four new products are suitable for the 464,355 self-employed, sole traders and small businesses in the South West.

They have been produced in advance of the launch of HMRC’s new Business Record Checks programme later this year.

The scheme will impose penalties for ‘significant record-keeping failures’.

Brian Redford, HMRC’s acting director for the Business Customer Unit, said: “In these tough times, keeping good records makes sound business sense.

“It may seem like a challenge, particularly when you’re starting out, but keeping good records will bring real advantages to your business.

“Get a proper system in place and you’ll not only be confident that you are paying the right tax, but you’ll keep up-to-date with how much you owe suppliers and how much you are owed.

“Later this year, HMRC will start a programme of Business Records Checks that will look at the adequacy and accuracy of business records in SMEs to bring about a major improvement in the standard of record-keeping. Now is the time to invest a bit of effort to make sure your business records are perfect.”

The tools include:

Keeping records for business — what you need to know: a basic guide with a helpful list of where to get more information (www.hmrc.gov.uk/factsheet/record-keeping.pdf)

A general guide to keeping records for tax returns: detailed guidance on record-keeping covering what type of records you may have to keep, common problems and examples for different types of business (www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/rk-bk1.pdf)

Set up a basic record-keeping system: with examples of spreadsheets and information about setting up a record-keeping system (www.businesslink.gov.uk/recordkeeping)

Find out what records you should be keeping: looks at the records needed to keep and assesses how well you are keeping them. If you are thinking of starting a business the tool provides you with a checklist. If you are established it will give feedback and advice on improvements you may need to make (www.businesslink.gov.uk/recordkeepingcheck).