How to streamline your year-end taxes; A guide for Start-ups.

Launching a startup can be exhilarating, but when it comes to year-end taxes, it can be a bit of a buzzkill. Especially if you’ve come from an environment where your employer took care of everything for you.

Terms that you were previously only vaguely aware of, such as ‘tax years’, ‘financial years’ and ‘bookkeeping’, suddenly take on a whole new significance as you realize that all of this is now your responsibility!

But don’t worry; we’ve got your back! Navigating the choppy waters of taxation can seem daunting, but with the right approach and a little know-how, you can streamline your year-end taxes like a pro. In this guide, we’ll break down the essentials of tax management for startups in the UK, keeping things light and casual – just like a chat over coffee.

What does ‘end of tax year’ actually mean?

When you see the phrase ‘Tax year’ the chances are that it’s referring to the personal tax year, which runs from April 6- April 5 the following year.

Usually, entrepreneurs kickstart their ventures as sole traders or partners within a business partnership. In these scenarios, the tax authorities consider you as a self-employed entity, necessitating your registration as such. In a more hands-on context, as the tax year concludes, you will receive a notification prompting you to submit an income tax Self-Assessment tax return for that specific fiscal year. You have the flexibility to file a paper return up until October 31, or opt for online filing, which can be done until January 31.

Think of getting prepared as an ongoing process rather than something that has to be dealt with all in one go at the end of the tax year or when the payment deadline looms on the horizon.


Here’s what you should know about:

  1. Understand your Business structure

Let’s kick things off by talking about business structures. Depending on how you’ve set up your business, your tax obligations can vary. In the UK, the most common business structures for startups are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited companies. Each comes with its own tax implications.

Sole Proprietorship: As a sole proprietor, you and your business are considered one entity for tax purposes. You’ll report your business income and expenses on your personal tax return using a Self-Assessment form.

Partnership: If you’ve partnered up, you’ll need to file a partnership tax return, and each partner will also need to report their share of the profits on their individual tax returns.

LLP: Similar to partnerships, LLPs file a partnership tax return, but individual members report their share of profits separately.

Limited Company: Limited companies have a more complex tax structure. You’ll need to file a Company Tax Return and report your personal income through the PAYE system.

Understanding your business structure is crucial, as it dictates how you handle your taxes.

  1. Get more organized with your records.

It’s essential to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of all your financial transactions. This includes invoices, receipts, bank statements, and payroll records. Fortunately, in the digital age, there are numerous software tools that can help you keep your records in order. HMRC even offers guidance on record-keeping for businesses, so there’s no excuse for disarray!

  1. Claim all Allowable Expenses

Tax deductions are like little gifts from the government, so don’t miss out on claiming them! You can offset your taxable profits by deducting allowable expenses. These can include office rent, utilities, marketing expenses, and even the coffee you provide for your employees. Just be sure that your expenses are legitimate and directly related to your business.

  1. Embrace the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

The Annual Investment Allowance is a fantastic tax-saving opportunity for startups. It allows you to claim tax relief on the cost of qualifying assets like machinery, computers, and office furniture. In the UK, the AIA threshold has been set at a generous £1 million until at least 1 January 2026. So, if you’re planning to invest in assets, make sure you take full advantage of this relief!

  1. Don’t forget about Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits

If your startup is engaged in innovative activities or scientific research, you might be eligible for R&D tax credits. These can significantly reduce your tax bill. The government offers different schemes for SMEs and large companies, so check which one applies to your business.

Find out if you can claim Corporation Tax relief on your Research and Development (R&D) project, here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-development-rd-relief

  1. Stay on top of deadlines

Missing tax deadlines can lead to penalties and fines – definitely something to avoid. Mark your calendar with key tax dates, such as the Self-Assessment tax return deadline (usually 31 January) and the deadline for paying any taxes owed. Setting reminders and planning ahead can save you from last-minute stress and additional costs.

  1. Consider seeking Professional help

While many startups handle their taxes independently, it’s not a bad idea to consult with a tax professional or accountant, especially as your business grows. Here at AccNet, our experts can offer valuable advice, help you maximize deductions, and ensure you’re compliant with tax regulations.

  1. Utilize Digital tools

The UK tax system is evolving, and HMRC is increasingly moving towards digitalization. Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a key part of the government’s Tax Administration Strategy. It will help reduce the tax gap by requiring businesses and individuals to:

  • keep digital records
  • use software that works with Making Tax Digital
  • submit updates every quarter, bringing the tax system closer to real-time
  1. Understand Value Added Tax (VAT)

Depending on your business turnover, you may need to register for VAT. This means you’ll need to charge VAT on your goods and services and submit regular VAT returns to HMRC. It’s a bit of extra paperwork, but it’s also an opportunity to reclaim VAT on business expenses. Make sure you understand the VAT rules that apply to your business.

  1. Stay informed about Tax updates

Tax laws and regulations can change, so it’s vital to stay informed. Subscribe to HMRC newsletters and follow reliable sources for updates on tax policies and deadlines. Being proactive in staying up-to-date will save you from unpleasant surprises down the road.


While this guide offers valuable insights, it’s essential to consult with a tax professional or accountant for personalized advice based on your specific business circumstances. They can provide guidance tailored to your needs and help you navigate the ever-evolving world of taxation.

Could restructuring your start-up make you more tax efficient? Or could your company use a bit of streamlining? Call us on +44 207 097 3767 to find how we can help you. 

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