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Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy 2013 and January Tax Deadline Day!

So here we are again, another new year's eve. We all just got the Christmas celebrations out the way, probably drank and ate too much, visited friends and relatives, lots of late nights and another one left to do - for this year at any rate!

All of us at Bettertax hope the festivities have been good for you and you have a happy and safe evening ushering in 2013!

Of course the new year wouldn't be the new year if it didn't have the dreaded HMRC self assessment tax deadline looming on the horizon. An auspicious enough looking date in itself, 31.1.13, and extremely important for those of you who have put off doing your tax return!

I noticed on Facebook in the Christmas run up, many DIY and tool companies advertising their sale goods. If you got any new tools in your stocking make sure you got the receipts too, so not only if it goes wrong you'll have proof of purchase, it's also proof for the tax man!

Don't worry if you think you have left it too late. We'll handle the whole process for you. Putting off doing it will not help your situation - you can run but you can't hide from HMRC in the long term!

As experts with tradesmen's tax, we know exactly what to do and how to do it!

Wishing everyone, clients old, new and continuing to be, a hugely brilliant New Year! Get in touch!

Bettertax - Tradesman's Tax Refund Specialists 01280 821020
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Friday, 21 December 2012

Facebook Pages: Just How Hard Is It Now?

This is not the usual post for this blog but I just wanted to share a few thoughts about my page admin experience. Other SME Facebook admins may agree with what I am saying.

Bettertax has had a facebook page for 3 years now. Back in the day there was certainly more access to engage with people who could be considered as interested in what the page had to say.

As an SME, advertising budgets are restricted, certainly in the beginning and working hard using social media platforms was a fantastic way to promote what we do to new and existing clients.

It's been brilliant for interacting with clients, liaising with them and keeping them up to date.

The Bettertax Facebook page would certainly not be classed as spammy and probably 90% of posts are not of a direct marketing nature. The page set out to be fun, communicative, accessable, entertaining, informative - we believe that's how we have kept it.

What Facebook have done is introduced the "Pages Feed" feature that as a facebook user, you can select to look at. All the pages you have liked will have their posts appear in that feed. That was news to me too!

We've worked very hard to keep up with all the new trends that Facebook have thrown at us over the time but unfortunately this latest one where Facebook have allegedly reduced how many users see page posts in the news feed to get pages to pay to reach their fans, has us quite beat.

There are many bloggers out there refuting that if you're page/ product offers great quality posts then this new "algorithm" won't affect you. Unfortunately, not all pages are Coca-cola or Nike with millions of followers.

Looking at promoted posts (not sure how that stops newsfeeds being spammed!!), it can be a costly practise. For example, the cost of a promoted post on the Bettertax page is £4, but then we have a modest number of followers (all quality people though :)).

However, I read on cnet that:

"tech honcho Mark Cuban to weigh in on Promoted Posts. Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, went as far as to say he's shifting the Dallas Maverick's Facebook efforts to other social networks because he doesn't think he should have to pay $3,000 for a particular post to reach 1 million of the team's accumulated Facebook fans. He tweeted that he's considering Myspace instead."

So, our dilemma!

Certainly if the page post has no preview or picture, the reach is considerably more. I argued this with another blogger but looking at my own stats I know it to be true.  The conclusion would therefore be to post plain text onto the Bettertax Facebook page.

It leads to a far more boring looking page that will attract less new "likes" and probably less interaction from the few that even see it! If you already "like" our page, why not click the like, share or comment (assuming you like what you see!). It helps us greatly and also, if the post entertained or informed you, chances are, it may do the same for your friends.

Luckily we don't have to rely on our Facebook page as a means of "advertising" and engagement. We are accessable on all the other platforms too, as seen below!

Anyway, I'll get back to what Bettertax do best now - tradesman tax refunds!!

Thanks for your time :).

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Willy Wonka Style seasons greetings from your tax refund experts!

Always wanting to add the personal touch, everyone in the office is taking their turn to put our clients' Christmas cards in envelopes and apply the stamp - no franking machines for us!!

Bettertax tax refunds specialists christmas 2012

The Bettertax dudes will be busy over the coming days as they fly around delivering the cards.

Taking a little inspiration from Emily's design, we've randomly chosen 10 lucky winners who will find a golden ticket, (well, more like a slip of paper!) inside their card.

Unlike Willy Wonka, the winners won't be required to take a tour of the Bettertax office, although visitors are always welcome! There'll be no worrying about eating the wrong gob stopper or indeed being rolled away by oompa loompas!

Our ten lucky winners will each receive £20. All you have to do to claim the cash is call the office, 01280 821020.

Good luck, everyone!

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tax Code Changes - do they really reflect your current expenses?

Our very first blog on the subject of tax code changes, is still as relevant today as it was then.

HMRC take it upon themselves to revise your tax code based on the tax return completed from previous years' information. In our opinion this can lead to so many problems of under or over payments of tax.

For example (extract from the original article):

"Here are the constants and effectively why this new change can never be accurate let alone work in your favour: -
The classic record of a scaffolder over a 3 year period is that
• he will work for at least two employers and as many as six,
• he will be based at a minimum of two sites and as many as 15
• the expenses he will incur can and almost always will differ greatly
• He will sometimes be able to take advantage of a company vehicle or the wagon and yet other times may/will be required to use his own vehicle
• the distances involved will vary dramatically and ultimately again the expenses associated will also differ greatly from year to year."

As you can see from this, to base a tax code on information given regarding a previous year is ultimately going to mean that it is highly likely that there will be the wrong amount of tax paid come year end!

paye tax refunds and tax codes

As soon as your self assessment tax return is received by HMRC, before the return has been approved or looked at, the tax code changes. As a tax agent we do not get advised that our clients' code has changed, although a letter is sent to you of the change.

If you are a client of ours, we can stop HMRC doing this if you want us to, but we need instruction from you i.e. a phone call 01280 821020, email or a PM. We have always advised clients to have their code returned to the normal code so that under payments do not occur. We can ask on your behalf, if you let us know of the change, but HMRC can be "difficult", insisting that the right code is in place based on information given.

Unfortunately, because initially your pay packet will suddenly increase based on the new code, that is making allowances for expenses you may not incur this year, some clients have accepted the new code, only to find at the end of the year, they owe HMRC money.

To be perfectly clear, this money owed is nothing to do with the tax refund we successfully claimed for you the previous year. HMRC are NOT clawing that money back at all! What has happened is the tax code was allowing too little tax to be paid over the course of the following year and your expenses were not as much as previously - hence the difference.

Being put back to the normal tax code, at the end of the year we will help you calculate your correct expenses and claim your overpaid tax for you, thereby ensuring that you are not trundling unknowingly towards a debt that is wholly the making of HMRC and it’s ‘cute’ practice.

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Monday, 15 October 2012

31st October - Be Afraid! It's only HMRC Tax deadline day!

Last year I wrote about this most auspicious of occassions, HMRC tax deadline day for paper tax returns.

As always, if you choose to file a paper tax return, you must make sure it is on HMRC's desk by midnight 31st October, any year. It doesn't scarier than that as a time and date!

More worrying still is the penalties now in force for late returns.

This extract from HMRC's website:

What happens if you miss the tax return deadline

"If you miss the deadline for sending in your paper tax return, you should send it online instead. If you don't, you will have to pay a penalty. You must send your return online by midnight on 31 January 2013.
If you do still send a paper tax return and it reaches HMRC after the 31 October deadline, you'll have to pay a penalty. The penalty is £100. You'll still have to pay this even if:
  • your return is just a day late
  • you have no tax to pay
  • you pay all the tax you owe before 31 January 2013
The longer you delay, the more you'll have to pay. There are additional penalties when your tax return is three, six and twelve months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more so make sure you get your tax return in on time. 

Remember, if you've missed the paper tax return deadline, don’t send a paper tax return, send it online. If you don't, you will have to pay a penalty."

Bettertax are registered HMRC tax agents and file our clients' tax returns online, and on time! Many of our clients had been too worried or not aware that tax returns should have been completed and had therefore not been claiming the tax refunds due to them.

It's a daunting prospect dealing with HMRC when you are in a tax mess but we can look at past years tax claims for you and liaise with HMRC on your behalf to get you up to date.

If you are at all worried about your tax situation, whether you're a CIS tradesman or PAYE construction industry worker, if you know you are behind with your tax returns or you just need some advice, we're happy to help.

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Didn't we have a luvverly time, the day we went to Wembley!

Since Bettertax's inception, there has been some great achievements that we are all very proud of, but yesterday was a "stand out" moment.

As the founding corporate sponsor of the Homeless FA, Bettertax, (represented by MD Roger, directors Ricky and Steve, and senior members, Adele and Rosie) were invited to Wembley Stadium to enjoy the launch of the team's England kit, prior to the men and women's teams heading off to Mexico for the Homeless World Cup, which starts 5th October 2012.

The day started with a welcome to Wembley introduction by Club England Managing Director, Adrian Bevington before being given a guided tour of the stadium.

At the end of the tour, the players were shown into the away dressing room, where their named and numbered kits were hanging for them. This was a complete surprise to the teams and became a very emotional moment for most of us, seeing the squads' reactions.

For Bettertax, it was immensely pleasing knowing we had played a part in this culmination of many months of hard training and dedication for all those involved with The Homeless FA. And, of course, the shirts look great with the Bettertax logo emblazened across the chest!

Bettertax proudly partnering Homeless Football Association

Photos can be seen on our Bettertax flickr stream too.

We'll be watching both the womens and mens teams with huge pride as the tournament begins tomorrow.

Come on, England!!

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Better Late Than Never! Hi Vis 3rd quarter winners

How very re-miss of us not to have announced our 3rd quarter (April - June) Hi Vis Photo Competition winner/s!

The lads (with help from Karen in the office) at Mitchell's Scaffolding provided us with a series of photos that made it difficult for us to choose a winner. We did though!

We also really liked these as well:

After speaking with Karen, it was decided that the best choice of the £100 prize was £80 of beer vouchers, for the lads to enjoy a night out and the ladies received a £10 voucher each to spend on something more girlie!

So, you see how easily pleased we are with your photos, why not grab a vest and get snapping? There's still a few weeks left to submit your photos with a chance at the 2 x £100 prizes available during this last quarter.

Bettertax - Tradesman's Tax Refund Specialists 01280 821020

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

There's Only One Bettertax - Tradesmen's Tax Refund Specialist!

Imitation is not always the best form of flattery!

Although we have been aware of the existence of a company using a trading name very silimar (if not identical) to ours, because it didn't seem to be an active company, we haven't been concerned.

However, over the past few days, a number of clients have asked about our "Glasgow" office.

We just want everyone to be aware of "imposters", trading on the success of the Bettertax name to gain or lure clients, who were genuinely looking for us.

Bettertax Organisation only trades from one office based in Buckingham. Any papers we send to you for signing and completion will always have our distinctive orange and blue logo, along with our "dudes".

The Bettertax tax refunds for tradesmen dudes

To be specific, we are not a general accountancy company - Bettertax is a specialist tradesmen's tax refund agency, we only work with people in the trades and construction industry, paid CIS or PAYE.

Just be aware that if you're looking to use Bettertax for tax advice and our tax returns service, we are in Buckingham on 01280 821020 - look out for the Bettertax Dudes!

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Bettertax Fantasy Football league 2012 - 2013

It seems like ages to go but in fact the new premier league season kicks off on 18th August 2012. Not having had a long, hot summer, and having enjoyed/ endured the Euros, not forgetting the up coming Olympics, sport has certainly not been lacking and even die-hard footie fans can't have suffered withdrawal too badly.

After a successful fantasy league last season, Bettertax are running it again this season.

The league is FREE to enter for any UK construction workers, or those affliliated with the trades. We will be closing the league to late entrants at the end of November. It's not fair to just rock up as the season closes when you think you have a chance of winning.

All of the details are on the Bettertax Fantasy Football page and also on the forum at the league, so please take a moment to read them. The entry code is


Don't panic too much about creating the perfect team, just auto complete for now and then join our league. Your team can be tweaked up until 11.30am on the morning of 18th August. Here's what my team looks like just now.

Unlike other fantasy football leagues, this one is free and you get to make substitutions each week. If you're not sure how to play, don't be afraid to ask on the forum, or contact us on any of our social media places :).

We hope to see lots of you there for some inter-trades competition.

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Fantasy Football 2011 - 2012 Concludes

With the football season well and truly over, including England's disappointing Euro 2012 attempt, we can finally conclude the Bettertax fantasy football league competition.

The Bettertax 4x4x2 fantasy football league attracted 44 teams, many newcomers to playing in this sort of set up.

We'd like to thank everyone for taking part and to those who stuck with it, actively making transfers and changes to your teams in an attempt to win. I must admit here that I did become very lazy and so coming in 14th was more luck than skill - or was it ;)!

The team at the top was judged as uneligible for prizes due to only joining the league very late in the season. The team manager graciously accepted this and hopes to show the same kind of winning form next season.

Our winner was then declared as White Eagles F.C managed by Wojciech Grodzki. Wojciech chose the new West Ham away shirt:

The chosen charity was Cancer Research UK.

Our 2nd place runner-up was Stato's Allstars 6
managed by Neil Hale. Neil also chose Cancer Research UK as the recipient of his £50 donation.

Bettertax has made the £100 donation to the charity on behalf of Neil and Wojciech.

We consider the league to have been successful good fun and intend to set up a new league during July, when opens again.

We'd love to see you all again, a little wiser next time, so keep watching out for announcements on Facebook, Twitter, Scaffs forum, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Enjoy the summer - let's hope the sun shines for us all!

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Are PAYE Tradesmen due Tax Back?

The simple answer to this is: YES!

It's still very surprising how many PAYE tradesmen aren't aware that very often they are due a tax refund.

bettertax sort out messy tax accounts

There are a number of criteria to consider when gauging the eligibilty of a PAYE tax return.

The most obvious consideration, and one that most tax refund companies will concentrate on and, indeed only complete a tax return on this factor, is the mileage in your own vehicle that has been used during the tax year.

Many tradesmen are expected to pay their travel expenses to get to various sites they are working on. These travel expenses can definitely be offset against your tax bill. Even if your employer is compensating you for some of the allowed mileage amount (currently 45p per mile for the first 10000 miles), you can still claim the balance against your tax bill.

We find that many guys in the trades will also prefer to use their own tools and can often spend a lot of money getting a good toolkit together. These expenditures can also be used on your tax return to reduce the amount of tax you paid.

The same can be said on some articles of workwear and workboots.

At Bettertax, we make sure we claim the absolute maximum tax rebate for you, taking into account all these expenses, not just travel like some companies.

We know that a lot of construction workers struggle to get their tax returns completed for a variety of reasons and we have helped thousands of guys recover their overpaid tax.

Our self-assessment tax return service is easy to understand and hassle-free. Remember, you don't have to be self-employed to complete a self-assessment tax return. If you are unsure about your personal tax situation, we're here to help.

In many cases, people come to us with tax years outstanding and fines on their accounts. Bettertax don't take a penny until we've managed to get their books in order, clear the fines and get the tax refund. Our promise is 100% refund or NO fee!

If you're PAYE and never done a tax return before and think you may be eligible, call us now 01280 821020, for a friendly chat about your situation.

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Should I be CIS (Construction Industry Scheme) registered?

Your employment status, within the construction industry, can often be very confusing, deciding whether you should be classified as CIS (self- employed) or PAYE (an employee).

When being hired, it should be made quite clear to you what your terms of employment are.  When you're working for someone else, you need to know your employment status and HMRC have a guide on their website to help you establish whether you're classed as self-employed or PAYE.

The guide doesn't take long to complete, but if you are at all unsure, we, at Bettertax, are quite happy to assist you.


cis tax refunds for construction workers
This applies to construction workers who are self-employed. Due to the nature of the construction industry, many workers in this sector are hired on a subcontractor basis, getting paid for when they work but not being required when a job finishes.

Being self-employed does give flexibility. To work in this way, you need a UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number. Your contractor can then pay you and deduct 20% tax (instead of 30% with no UTR). Your UTR number can take a few weeks to come through, so as soon as you know you will be self-employed, contact your local tax office or ask us to help you!

At the end of the tax year, you can complete a self assessment tax return in order to claim back any tax that you will have invariably overpaid - offsetting personal allowances and allowable, eligible expenses.

We know how confusing all these processes can be so, part of the tax refund service Bettertax offer is supplying all the forms you need to register as self-employed, obtain a UTR number and set up National Insurance contributions.

Our tax advice is always free, we're happy to help!

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