As a business owner, and particularly as a sole trader, keeping up with what you need to do to comply with HMRC’s rules and regulations can be a little daunting. But did you know that there is actually a whole range of HMRC resources available to help you?
With everything from webinars to email alerts on a range of subjects from self-assessment to VAT returns, there is a range of tools available to you on the HMRC website which can help with the smooth running of your business.
There is a variety of e-learning courses available on the HMRC website. These are in the format of how-to guides, walking you through every stage of the subject that you’re covering.
For example, there is an e-learning guide on VAT and how to get started with registering. This covers the likes of when you’d need to register for VAT; VAT rates; what to do once you’re registered, and case studies.
Something that worries many business owners is missing deadlines for submitting paperwork. A useful resource which can help you with this is signing up for email alerts from HMRC. This involves HMRC emailing you ahead of your returns being due in order to give you time to complete and submit them by the deadline.
You can register for business help and education emails too, which may be of interest to you if you’re interested in the likes of new webinars, e-learning courses and educational videos.
There is also a variety of webinars run by HMRC. Webinars are hosted live by an HMRC expert and are advantageous if you want to ask questions during the session as you can receive answers from the HMRC host in real time during the presentation.
If this is something you’re interested in, keep an eye on the HMRC website or register for email alerts so that you know when the next one will be. Set a reminder in your diary (although email reminders are often sent, too) and on the day of the webinar itself and remember to log in at least five minutes before the start.
Webinars can last for up to an hour, so they may not be for you if you are short of time. You can however register to watch pre-recorded webinars, but these are less helpful if a question occurs to you during watching, as obviously you won’t be able to ask once it has been recorded.
If you have a specific question you need answering, it’s worth taking a look at the range of HMRC YouTube videos. These cover topics from VAT record keeping through to How to issue P60s.
HMRC Small Business Forum
If you want to talk to other business owners and HMRC representatives it’s worth registering for the HMRC Small Business Forum. This forum is a great way to ask questions and receive answers from other members of this online community, and from HMRC themselves.
If after all of these resources you’re still worried about navigating the HMRC’s rules and regulations, then it may well be time to speak to a local bookkeeper about having your accounts looked after professionally. This will take some of the worry out of owning your own business.