setting-smart-business-goalsJanuary is a great month for renewed focus and motivation. So why not take the opportunity to plan ahead and set new goals? With the busy festive season behind us, and half of the winter (hopefully) out of the way, there is now an open space to think about what you want to achieve this year, and then take action. Setting SMART goals is the key to success.

property-highlights-autumn-statementThe Autumn Statement had, as expected, a key focus on what is commonly referred to as a "housing crisis". Lack of affordable homes continues to be an issue, along with the inflated house prices that make it virtually impossible for first-time buyers to get the break they need. Landlords are still very much in the firing line for government attempts to dampen activity in this sector.

tax-relief-christmas-partiesDecember is the month for Christmas gatherings, and the giving and receiving of gifts, to celebrate the festive season. Most business owners want to also find out how they can squeeze a little more from their generosity when they are organising festive events or treats for their team. It is therefore important to understand the tax treatment of your "treats" so you can give yourself the gift of paying a little less tax next year.

calculating-flat-rate-VAT Not all contractors know when starting out, that you can actually earn extra money from using the VAT Flat Rate Scheme. It works in the way that you charge your customer the standard rate of VAT at 20 percent, but you are only required to pay HMRC a lower, flat rate; 14.5 percent for IT Contractors, as an example.

importance-of-ifa Whether you are a contractor or locum, freelancer or small business owner, you will know the importance of having good professional contacts that you can trust and rely on. As you are often wearing many hats already, it is essential that you are able to connect with the right people who can give you the advice you need, when you need it. These people ultimately help your business and personal finances to grow.

register-for-flat-rate-VAT If you are a contractor or freelancer, or own a small business, you may be liable for VAT. If your income reaches the threshold of £83,000 in any given tax year then you are required by law to register. The VAT Flat Rate Scheme for small businesses often works out a good option, as you get to keep some of the VAT you charge to your customers, and limit the paperwork involved with VAT return filing.

9-tax-free-benefits-for-limited-company-directorsBeing a director of a company means that you are also an employee. This means that the same rules apply to you as would if you were working for any other employer. It just so happens that you are, broadly speaking, the employer and the employee. There are therefore non-cash benefits that you can receive as an employee and some of these are even tax-free. Here are 9 to consider.