Starting a business is never easy. Recent statistics suggest approximately one in ten startups fail in the first year, and by year 5 less than half have survived. It’s never too soon (or too late!) to ask an accountant for advice when starting a business, and before starting up is best. For example, it’s not always best to start off as a company, and you could be missing out on a potential tax refund by assuming it is.

Good advice early on can save tax, accountants fees, and quite a few headaches. Not to mention helping you survive the first year, then year two and so on. A couple of the main reasons cited for startup failures are overspending on advertising, and getting the pricing wrong. So it’s crucial that you have a good pricing strategy and that you have, and stick to, a realistic budget. Of course you will need accurate bookkeeping records from the start to help monitor the spending against the budget, and online accounting is ideal for that. As we help many different types of business, our experience can also help you check there are no flaws or missed opportunities in your plan.

Many of our clients received our free advice and free help to setup a self employed business or company, and register it with HMRC. We even setup and train our clients on online accounting for free. Our range of business startup helpsheets below are written in plain english to help you start a business successfully. If you have any questions please contact us. We are happy to advise anyone looking to start a business, or have already done so.

Business Startup Guides

Go to our Resources page, Business Centre, Business Helpsheets, Business Startup Helpsheets, to find the following business startup pages:

The self assessment tax payments dates are simply the 31st January and 31st July, but how much you have to pay can be complicated. Below, we explain how much you have to pay on the self assessment tax payment dates.

self assessment tax payment

How the self assessment tax payment dates work

There are two self assessment tax payment dates you need to pay your tax by. The method of payment usually involves one balancing payment and two payments on account of your tax liability as follows…

  • one balancing payment on 31 January after the tax year
  • one 50% payment on account on 31 January during the tax year and
  • another 50% payment on account on 31 July after the tax year.

The payments on account are based on the net income tax and national insurance liability of the previous tax year. That’s your net tax payable after deductions for PAYE paid, but before any payments on account are deducted.

You can ignore capital gains tax of the previous year when calculating the payments on account. You pay all CGT as part of the final payment due on 31 January following the end of the tax year.

A final payment (or repayment) is due on 31 January following the tax year.

There is a 5% surcharge on any taxes that remain unpaid after 28 February, and a further 5% on taxes not paid after 31 July. For the most up to date details on self assessment tax payment penalties see here.

An example of self assessment tax payments…

If your net tax liabilities are the following:

  • 2020/21 is £0
  • 2021/22 is £2,000
  • 2022/23 is £5,000
  • 2023/24 is £800

… you will need to make the following payments by:

  • 31/01/22: £0 (remaining balance of 2020/21 £0, no payment on account required)
  • 31/07/22: £0 (no payment on account required)
  • 31/01/23: £3,000 (remaining balance on 2021/22 £2,000, plus half of 2021/22 as a payment on account towards 2022/23)
  • 31/07/23: £1,000 (half of 2021/22 as a payment on account towards 2022/23)
  • 31/01/24: £5,500 (remaining balance of 2022/23 £3,000, plus half of 2022/23 as a payment on account towards 2023/24)
  • 31/07/24: £2,500 (half of 2022/23 as a payment on account towards 2023/24)
  • 31/01/25: refund of £4,200 (excess payments on account)
  • 31/07/25: £0 (payment on account not required)

Can you avoid tax payments on account?

You don’t have to make payments on account if…

  • income tax and NIC liability for the previous year (net of tax deducted at source) is below £1,000 or
  • if your tax deducted at source (e.g. PAYE on your payslips) was more than 80% of the income tax and NIC liability for the previous year.

Reduce your tax payments on account

You can also apply to have the payments on account reduced if you expect your liability for a tax year to be less than the previous year.

Contact us if you’d like any help with reducing your self assessment tax payments or with your tax returns.

Mad Marketing Ideas

Here are a few examples of some more off the wall, out of the box type thinking marketing ideas. Try to use them as a basis for your own ideas or as inspiration to come up with your own. Being unusual or eccentric will often pay dividends…

  • A restaurant owner could get in a taxi, talks to the driver all about his restaurant and end up back at his restaurant without going anywhere. He gets the undivided attention of the Taxi Driver for just a few pounds. He can then offer him a free meal. Taxi drivers are an excellent source of referrals for restaurants.
  • On a wine list, have humorous description such as “What To Drink When Lost In A Desert”.
  • Hire assistants for the day to make your office look busy when you’re a new business without customers.
  • Send your own label wine as gifts.
  • Send a DVD or CD with your sales message on. When you use digital media to send a sales message they can’t be skim read like sales letters and they have to listen to them in the order you’ve recorded them.
  • Create your own holidays or special days and you can even enter them into Chases Calendar Of Events.
  • Put signs advertising your business up in front of your house and ask all your friends if you can do the same. You can probably get away with doing this for a short period and end up with signs all around town. They should at least let people know what you do and have your phone number on.
  • Ring all of the competitors in Yellow Pages looking for any phone lines that are now disconnected. Then ring BT and ask for the number to be allocated to you, which you then put on divert to your normal line. You’ll then pick up any prospects looking for your type of service.
  • We accept Burger King Coupons and give double value.
  • Offer to take over certain segments of a business not fitting in with a competitors client profile such as small clients and vice versa. You don’t want trouble clients so look to lose them and even better if you can lose them to competitors.


And finally “My Accountant Thinks I’m Crazy Sale”

This is a tongue in cheek sales letter that talks about your annoyance at your nagging, domineering, penny pinching, scrooge-ish accountant. How he bullies you, pushes you around and watches you like a hawk…but now he’s out of town on vacation for the week and you’re going to have some fun… with the wildest, most generous offers in the history of your business.


How We Can Help You

We’ll happily listen to any of your own mad marketing ideas and give you feedback.