Is your business compliance ready?
- Published: February 28, 2022
- Author: Asparq
To trade as a business, you need to meet the right compliance requirements. Here are the main compliance steps to think about, and why they’re so important to the smooth running of your business.
Decide on a legal structure for the business
In the first instance you will need to make a decision about the legal structure of the company. There are two key choices here – incorporated (a limited company) or unincorporated (usually either a sole trader or a partnership). The key difference here is around liability. In other words, do you want your business to be a limited company, where you and the business are treated as separate legal entities? Or do you want to be unincorporated, like a sole trader, where you and your business are seen as one single entity. Most startups will opt for the incorporated limited company route, keeping your personal and business finances separate and lowering your personal liability and risk.
Open a business bank account
To trade, take payments and pay your suppliers, you need to have a business bank account that’s separate from your own current account. This helps to create a tangible divide between the money you’ve generated from the business, and your own personal cash. Most high-street banks won’t let you use a personal current account for business purposes. Banks will offer a variety of different business accounts, with varying levels of fees, overdraft levels and additional business features. Set up the business account and then use this account for ALL transactions going in or out of the company.
Set up a bookkeeping and accounting system
It’s a legal requirement for your limited company to keep adequate records and to submit annual statutory accounts. To be able to meet these requirements, it’s essential that you have a bookkeeping process and a reliable accounting system in place. There’s a vast array of different cloud-based accounting platforms aimed at the ambitious startup owner. Xero, QuickBooks, MYOB and Sage are big names in this space, and all offer easy-to-use systems that make the accounting process relatively straightforward. It’s a good idea to engage an accountant, right from the start, to get the best possible accounting advice.
Report payments through Single Touch Payroll
All employers have to report payments made to employees and closely held payees to the ATO using Single Touch Payroll (STP). The expansion of STP, also known as STP Phase 2, reduces the burden for employers who need to report information about their employees to multiple government agencies. The ATO will allow employers until 31 March 2022 to start reporting if they don’t have an STP reporting solution in place yet. Some payroll software providers already have deferrals in place to allow a longer time for the transition to Phase 2 reporting.
Register for the relevant business taxes
Tax is an unavoidable part of running any business. It’s mandatory for you to register for the relevant business taxes, and you’ll also need to factor in that a certain percentage of your startup’s profits will end up going to the tax authorities at the end of each financial year.
If you’ve opted for the limited company route, you must register for corporation tax in your home territory. Corporation tax is paid based on a percentage of your year-end profits, once reliefs and other allowances have been taken into account. Approximately a quarter of your end profits will end up being paid over in tax, so it’s imperative that you put this money away in a separate tax accounting, or ring-fence it in your accounts, so you have the money to pay the bill at year-end.
Other taxes to register for include:
- Self-assessment income tax – although you’ll pay corporation tax on your company’s profits, directors are also taxed on their own personal earnings too. If you’re an unincorporated sole trader, this is also the way you’ll be taxed on your business profits, as your personal and business income are treated as the same thing.
- Goods & Services Tax (GST) – GST (or VAT in the UK and Europe) is an indirect value-added tax or consumption tax for goods and services. If you sell products or services that qualify for GST/VAT, you’re responsible for collecting these taxes and paying them to the tax authority on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
- Pay-as-you-earn(PAYE)/Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) – if you have employees, and your home territory operates a PAYE/PAYG system, you’ll need to make income tax deductions from your employees’ wages and pay these taxes directly to the relevant tax authority. This is all done via your regular payroll run.
Get in touch to talk through your compliance needs. We’ll help you understand which taxes apply and how you register for them.
The information contained herein is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon nor is it a substitute for appropriate professional advice. Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of the material, it is not guaranteed to be accurate. Individual circumstances are different and as such require specific examination. Asparq cannot accept liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of or reliance upon all or any part of this material. Additional information may be made available upon request.