Every recession leads to a growth in the number of entrepreneurs so this one is unlikely to be different. However, many self-employed people, a growing number of whom are women, are likely to end up paying more tax than they should because they do not understand all the things they can claim for, according to a tax specialist.
Denise Barcroft set up tax cutters.co.uk
after a varied career as head of employee relations at a US bank, a stay-at-home mum and an entrepreneur. She gave up her bank job after having children, set up a web design business and went on later to establish a virtual assistant business.
“It was quite hard doing my own accounts at first,” she said. “I read the books, but experience is the best thing.”
Having got that experience, she now wants to pass it on to others. To help her do this, she has taken up a
licence on Easy Tax 123 tax software, a system designed by Peter Clare, an ex senior inspector of taxes.
Her website also gives people a “health check” which points out some of the areas people often forget to claim on. This includes meals for “itinerant” workers, Internet costs, work clothes, business research materials, bank charges, book-keeping, work tools and car expenses, including breakdown cover and business mileage.
Barcroft adds that people are also unaware that they can employ family members tax free or that they can claim up to fifty pounds a year for gifts for clients. Other areas where entrepreneurs lack knowledge is around tax credits when they are starting up.
She says they may also not be aware that the tax man will accept a reasonable for things like car washing or tube fares without requiring receipts.
She says her tax software, created in 2007, has never failed to save people money. Some 92% of people have saved at least six hundred pounds a year on tax and that tax cutters.co.uk costs on average half as much as a general accountant costs.
“Every person is different so they need to assess their claims individually, but we want to ensure they claim all that they can,” she says.
Her site, which was set up about two months ago, offers advice on questions such as why you need to register as self-employed and what will happen if you don’t.
Barcroft, whose two children are now 17 and 18, works on her own from home, but has access to tax specialists, including Peter Clare. She says: “My aim is to help people save as much money as they can and we guarantee that we can save you money.”
If you are self-employed or considering setting up your own business and have a question for Denise please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org