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The dreaded tax return deadline

With the tax return deadline having just passed, Kim Sones – director at Sones Accountancy Services Ltd – explains how the next deadline could be made a little less daunting

Did you manage to submit your tax return on time this year? What would you do differently, so it goes more smoothly next time?

Each year an impending tax return deadline can bring a lot of worry to a landscape gardening business owner, especially if left until the last minute. The tax return can be prepared and submitted only when the bookkeeping is up to date.  There are two different ways to approach this; you can either be proactive or reactive.  The outcome of each approach is very different and, as the business owner, it is your decision as to which approach you choose.

If you are one of the many landscape gardening business owners who is reactive rather than proactive when it comes to the ‘books’ and taxes, you could be left fearing a call from your accountant as the tax return deadline looms. You may not know how much tax you will need to pay, which could mean sourcing a large chunk of money in a short space of time! Is there enough cash in the bank to pay the tax as well as materials for the job you are starting next week, plus the subcontractors’ wages at the end of the month? It’s hard enough running a landscape gardening business, you don’t need the stress of last-minute tax bills on top of everything else. The good news is it doesn’t need to be this way!

As a landscape gardening business owner, you take a proactive approach in so many areas of your business. Getting leads and converting sales, sourcing the best price and quality materials, finding labour that is up to scratch. So why not take the same approach with your business finances?

How would it feel if, this time next year, the bookkeeping was completed online and kept up to date on a weekly basis so you can see how much profit you are making, and calculate how much to set aside in tax? When the year-end comes round, there would be no need to hunt for invoices and receipts to reclaim your expenses (some of which will be lost inevitably, sending money down the drain). Relief!

The tax return can be completed easily and without stress when the bookkeeping is online and up to date and tax has been set aside in small monthly increments throughout the year. You could go one step further before your accounting year finishes and assess your online reports to see how much profit you’ve made. If your business has made a profit, you could think about using some of the profit to reinvest in your business which would help to reduce the tax bill.

As a landscape gardening business owner, you’re not expected to know how to do your ‘books’ and calculate your taxes. You must play to your strengths and that means building a strong reliable team around you, and not just on the tools. The bookkeeping and accounts are a very important part of your business, especially if you want to grow and scale. It is imperative that you know your numbers each month so you can make important decisions on the direction of your business.

Landscape gardening business owners, especially when starting out, think bookkeeping is a luxury they can’t afford. Until your books are up to date, you can’t tell if the business is making a profit or going to run out of cash. A good bookkeeper will be able to advise you on how much profit the business is making and how healthy the cashflow is, both of which are equally important. So, can your business afford not to have a bookkeeper?

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