You must understand all aspects of self-assessment tax return, keep your accounts up-to-date and your records safe.  You must complete your tax return properly then submit and pay any tax owed.  You may be called on to defend yourself against tax enquires and tax disputes.


You need someone who will take this off your plate.  You need someone who will give you the business advice you need.  You need someone who is willing to fight your corner.  The taxman and even your bank manager can seem like formidable foes at times but we offer you maximum protection.

We can even greatly reduce the amount of time you spend on managing your accounts.  It is much quicker and easier to use a digital accounting solution for tax return, such as Free Agent which has been specifically designed for freelancers and small business owners, which manages your finances and monitors your bank account rather than using an Excel spreadsheet and a carrier bag full of receipts and invoices.


1. Completing Your Self-Assessment Return Ensure that it is done right, submitted on time and you are paying the legal minimum of tax

2. Tax PlanningYou can minimise your tax through tax planning in the current tax year. Find out how.

3. Tax Disputes Tax disputes do occur and HMRC are not always right. We can protect you and your business from disputes.

4. Tax Enquires and InvestigationsThe biggest fear for many self-employed people and sole traders is a tax investigation. We can fight your corner and we offer insurance to cover our costs for helping you.

5. Property tax Many self-employed people and sole traders are also landlords or own property as part of their business. We can help you to navigate the world of property tax.


Many people need to complete a self-assessment tax return including:

  • Private individuals
  • Sole traders
  • Partners in a limited liability partnership
  • Directors of Limited Companies

Most of these people are worried about completing their self-assessment tax return with many leaving it until the last minute.

This is very understandable.  The self-assessment regime is full of penalties and HMRC enquiry powers are extensive.

It is vital that your tax returns are:

  • Correctly completed
  • Filed on time
  • Substantiated by records which are retained for the appropriate

We will ensure that you pay the absolute legal minimum amount of tax and ensure that your tax returns are completed correctly and submitted on time.


  • Advising you on your tax liabilities and how to minimise them
  • Negotiating with HMRC on delaying payments, if necessary
  • Completing all the necessary tax calculations
  • Dealing with all correspondence from HMRC, taking the worry away from you

Life is much easier if you hand everything over to us and let us take the strain.  Why not contact us today


Tax planning can greatly help you to minimise your tax bill. Tax planning refers to the way in which you arrange your financial affairs so that you take full advantage of the exemptions, deductions, rebates and reliefs available.

In short, it is the legal way to minimise your tax bill.

We all must pay our taxes but there are numerous ways of saving tax and making sure you do not pay a penny more than is absolutely necessary. Apex Associates has extensive experience in tax return planning and we will work hard to minimise your tax bill.

We have also invested heavily in reference materials and specialist software and have access to Tax Legislation, Tax Cases, internal HMRC manuals and to detailed commentaries on all taxes; both direct and indirect. This access allows us to research any tax topic and provides many ways of helping you legally save tax.

New clients are often surprised at how much can be done to help with their tax position. We are always willing to go that extra mile to offer advice on the areas where tax can be saved. This is something we love and excel at.

It is important that this work is done in advance and you should contact us as soon as possible.  The sooner we start to work, the more you will save.

All our tax planning makes legitimate use of the tax legislation and case law so that you are not put at additional risk from a full HMRC Enquiry, or where there are risks, these are pointed out to you.


Unfortunately, tax disputes do arise.  Disputes are usually over a specific point whereas enquiries and investigations are more wide ranging.

The first things to know are:

  • HMRC is not always right
  • There is something you can do about it- you don’t have to accept a wrong HMRC judgement
  • We are in your corner and will help you to fight back.

As a taxpayer, you have many rights and we will ensure that these are not forgotten or overlooked by HMRC.


  • Employment status disputes- e. are you employed or self-employed? This is not as simple as you making a decision. There is much case law surrounding the difference between an employee and someone who is self-employed.  This can have a major impact on the tax you pay and we can help guide you.
  • IR35- This is tax legislation which is used to combat tax avoidance. It looks to differentiate between genuine businesses and workers who, for all intents and purposes, are a temporary employee
  • Valuations needed for tax purposes
  • Repairs and maintenance vs capital disputes- repairs and maintenance work count as expenses whereas capital investment comes under your capital allowance- there can be disputes over which is which
  • Private usage adjustments- how much are you using something for personal use and how this is dealt with.
  • VAT segregation of a business to avoid registration– some companies split the business into parts so to stay below the VAT threshold and keep their prices lower

With disputes, it is usually the facts of the case that are in question but sometimes it is the legislation itself. Tax isn’t always black and white and where this is the case we are happy to argue your case in the strongest possible terms.

We have the specialist tax knowledge to assist you with a wide range of tax disputes.  Contact us today for support.


HMRC investigate businesses at random as well as for specific reasons.  A full investigation is unpleasant and without an expert defence it is possible to get trampled all over.

It is an unfortunate fact of business life that you may well come under enquiry by HMRC through no fault of your own or of your accountant.

If you are selected at random, you will need an accountant who knows how HMRC works and thinks and is prepared to fight your case. We make sure that HMRC keeps to their own internal guidelines and don’t over step the mark.

We will talk you through the enquiry process, tell you what to expect and support you throughout the ordeal.


Whilst with random investigations anyone can come under enquiry, you can help to avoid the chance of an investigation into your affairs for other reasons.

We know the triggers that often give rise to enquiries if not fully explained to HMRC when submitting returns to them. Every tax return or set of accounts goes through an anti-investigation scanning check to identify any areas that may lead to an enquiry before being submitted to HMRC.

This greatly helps to minimise the chances of you being on the wrong end of an enquiry.


There are various penalties HMRC can seek to impose following an enquiry for undeclared income. As well as having to pay the tax, you can find them seeking penalties up to an amount equal to the tax, so doubling your tax bill.

Interest on the late payment of the tax is also part of the arrangement which is not a pleasant experience. We can help you minimise these penalties as much as we possibly can.


You can take out insurance which will pay our fees in the event of a tax investigation.  The accounting costs of dealing with a tax investigation can be substantial. With the ever-increasing risk of full tax enquires and investigations, it is worth protecting yourself from the accounting costs of dealing with it.

Even if HMRC finds nothing wrong as a result of their investigation, you will still have unexpected professional fees to pay as a result. We cannot prevent you from being investigated by the taxman, but we can help to ensure that you get the best possible support and advice without having to worry about the cost.

You can get cover for:

  • Self-Assessment enquiries
  • VAT Enquiries
  • IR35 Enquiries
  • PAYE and Benefits enquiries

If you would like the peace of mind which comes with tax investigation insurance then contact us today.


Many individuals, self-employed people and sole traders own business property or are landlords.  Property tax is a bit of a maze but we can help you to legally reduce your liability.

We can advise you on a range of issues including:

  • Stamp duty planning
  • Tax reduction strategies for rental income
  • What constitutes repair and maintenance and is tax deductible and what is capital expenditure
  • When to use a Limited Company to save tax
  • Trading income versus Capital Gain considerations and advice
  • Capital Gains rollover and holdover considerations
  • Tax efficient mortgage structures
  • VAT considerations of property deals
  • Making the most of the Principal Private Residence election
  • Tax issues on the sale of part of your residence
  • Second homes
  • Inheritance Tax angles

This is a tricky area but we can help you take the right actions so that you remain compliant and legally reduce your tax bill.


1. Business Support Sessions This is the best place to start, we can help you to determine where you are, where you want to go and then map out a route to ensure that you arrive in a timely manner.

2. Benchmarking - Discover how you compare and can best compete with your competitors. A comprehensive look at your competitors will reveal many opportunities and highlight the threats they may pose

3. Strategic Planning Now you understand your competition and your business objectives, what is our strategy to beat them and get your business to where you want it to be?

4. Business PlansYour strategy needs to be turned into a plan that can be put into action and monitored. Business plans are vital for steering your business and a complete plan is needed to help raise finance.

5. Management Accounts And Systems If you can measure it, then you manage it. Your key to success is making decisions based on up-to-date and relevant information.


We recommend that new business clients start their journey with a series of planned business support session. This helps us find out more about your business, your goals and the issues you face.  This allows us to offer the advice you need and to plan the next steps for your business.

Our support sessions are ideal for:

  • Business owners that have little other support. Employees come to you with their problems but who do you go to?
  • Those needing a fresh pair of eyes to suggest new ideas – most great ideas come from those outside of the immediate business!
  • Helping you focus on working on your business rather than in your business
  • Anyone who needs to set time aside to focus on key business issues

The sessions can be used to cover any or all the following:

  • Review of management accounts and information
  • Strategic Planning
  • Comparison of where you are in relation to goals
  • Business growth
  • Employee issues
  • Cost saving strategies
  • Tax saving strategies and queries

An agreed action plan is formulated from each session that we produce for review of progress at the next business support session.


Few businesses keep an eye on their competition or know how they compare.  A comprehensive look at your competitors will reveal many opportunities and highlight the threats they may pose.

In many industries, every business is offering the same general product or service to anyone and everyone.  You can greatly increase your profits by offering a tailored product or service to a niche market. People and businesses will pay more for tailored products and services allowing you to increase your prices and profits.

All of this starts with benchmarking.  You can also benchmark against other factors such as delivery times, efficiency, profit levels etc.  It is very beneficial to benchmark against your competitors. It gives you an idea of where you can make improvements and reveals the places where you can leap ahead of your competition.

Our benchmarking reports will show you:

  • How you compare against the industry average
  • The best and worst statistics in your industry

In key areas such as:

  • Sales levels and growth rates
  • Debtor days – how good you are at collecting in the cash
  • Gross and net profits margins
  • Liquidity


Strategic planning is vital.  Your strategy outlines your long-term objectives and how you will achieve them.  We all know that to be in control of your business, you must know where you are, determine where you want to get to and work out a route map to get there.

Few businesses do and often they end up where their competitors want them to be! Instead of intentionally planning and working towards their goals, many business owners:

  • Rely on their intuition– this usually leads to you veering off-course. Intuition and gut instinct is helpful but should not be relied on when making long-term decisions.
  • Waste time and money on taking actions which don’t benefit your business (e.g. an ineffective marketing campaign, developing a new product or service that no-one wants etc.)
  • Take unnecessary risks– this is inevitable if you rely on intuition and don’t have a plan.  You will be taking risks with one bad decision often leading to other risky decisions in an effort to fix the arising problems.

Let me ask you:

  • Do you know where you want your business to be in 1,3 and 5 years’ time?
  • Do you have a clear idea of the turnover and profit you want to achieve?
  • Do you have a growth strategy which will allow you to achieve your targets?
  • Have you decided on an exit strategy? Do you know how you want to exit your business?  Will you sell your business and if so who to?

While you might not have started your business with the end in mind, it is a good idea to know where you ultimately want to end up


Once you have determined your business strategy, then you need to turn it into a plan which outlines what actions need to be taken and when to bring about your envisioned success.  They will also help you to identify and determine the policies, processes and procedures which need to be in place for your expansion.

Business plans are vital as without them you are unlikely to reach your preferred destination.  They are the map on your business journey.  However, you need two types of business plan:

  • A short plan that can be easily shared and updated.  This is usually a few pages and is something that can be reviewed by you and your directors every quarter.  This is the plan you use to steer your business.
  • An in-depth business plan which you need to secure finance.

We can help you to develop both types of plans.

The first plan needs to contain the important numbers that need to be monitored and the key actions that need to be taken to move your strategy forward.  This plan needs to be easily shared and it must be reviewed by you and your directors on a regular basis.  It cannot just sit in a desk drawer and not be looked at.

The second type of business plan makes your financial application much more likely to succeed.

We can help you to produce a tight business plan which attracts interest and funding.  Your plan will include:

  • Business strategy and goal setting
  • Budgets
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • Profit forecasts
  • All written elements of the plan such as business background, marketing plan, SWOT analysis, markets, competition and all the other key elements that need presenting in the most suitable way to lenders.

After you’ve produced the plan, you need to monitor how you are doing against the plan and we can help you with this.

Business plans are more important than most people think.  They do not need to be complex and unwieldly. In fact, the key points can be put on one or two pages.

Contact us today and let us show you how you can grow your business with effective planning.


Management accounts and systems are the best way to steer your business forward and increase your profitability.  If you can measure it, then you can manage it and your management accounts and systems will help you to do both.

If you use digital accounting, then you have a dashboard which clearly shows what is in your bank account, what is outstanding and gives you an idea of where you are going.  This is a very useful starting point. However, to get the full picture, you need a set of management accounts to be produced monthly or quarterly.

These consists of:

  • A balance sheet
  • A profit and loss account (an income statement)
  • A cashflow forecast

Your management accounts help you to make decisions and show you where your profit is generated so you can really grow that area.

They give you up-to-date and relevant information.  You can see quickly where you are performing well and what areas need attention.

The cashflow forecast shows if everything is running smoothly or will give you advanced warning if problems are on the horizon.  So, you can either relax or act now to avert a major problem coming to light in the next few weeks or months.

These useful accounts allow you to:

  • Isolate and report on the key performance indicators which really drive your business- it is vital that you know and keep on top of these as they will give you an idea of your future performance
  • See actual performance compared to budgets and forecasts– we can break this down by divisions and teams so you can clearly see
  • Supply management information to lenders and investors- this is vital for raising funding
  • Monitor costs including break-even turnover levels
  • Spot and deal with any “holes” in your business
  • Locate and strengthen the profit-making parts of your business
  • Help with in house systems for you to produce your own information

We will train you on how to get the most out of your management accounts and really grow your business.

If you want to move your business to the next level, then regular management accounts will help you to get there.

Managment Systems

In addition to management accounts, a company of any size needs to have effective management systems.  These help you to steer your company, maintain your profitability and deal with under-performing areas.

We can:

  • Review your current financial management information systems
  • Determine any needed changes or improvements
  • Develop processes to help you use and get the most from your systems- including understand and interpreting the information that you get.
  • Give you back control of your business

We can help you with all types of financial management systems including:

  • Budgeting
  • Cash controls
  • Cost controls
  • Debtor control
  • Financial reporting systems
  • Purchasing systems
  • Stock control

Reliable management information allows you to react quickly to changing business needs, contact us today to find out more.


Payroll and PAYE (Pay as You Earn) returns are complicated, time consuming and a burden for every employer.  They must be completed on time and you are responsible for any mistakes.  Why not let us take the stress and strain off you by using our custom-tailored service.  You can pick and choose from the below options:

  • Employee payslips
  • Monthly summaries
  • Departmental reports
  • Dealing with leavers and starters
  • Provision of analysis of staff costs
  • Real Time Information (RTI) PAYE returns for the Revenue
  • Assistance with automated payment set-up to your employees
  • CIS returns completed by us
  • Employee summary P60’s
  • P11D and P9D benefit and expenses returns

With our support, you will never have to worry about calculating statutory sick pay or maternity pay and dealing with student loan deductions ever again.


It is vital that you offer good remuneration packages to attract and retain the best employees.  You will want to ensure that the taxman contributes as much as possible to their salary so they keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible.  You also need the most tax efficient structure for your own payments.

We can offer you advice on employment tax issues and benefits planning so that everyone gets the best deal. This includes looking at:

  • Pension contributions
  • Cash bonuses
  • Termination payments
  • Inducement payments
  • Life assurance
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Critical illness cover
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Health club membership
  • Company cars and vans
  • Expenses dispensations

If you want to ensure that you and your staff get the best deal, then get in touch with us.


If someone is working for you on a regular basis, they do not have other clients and you dictate the hours they work, then the chances are they are employed by you.  This is not a clear-cut area and you need to take advice when offering people self-employed contracts as it can be very costly if you get it wrong.

  • Employees and employer’s national insurance payments- including interest and penalties
  • Holiday pay
  • Maternity pay
  • Sickness pay

If it is later determined that they are employed by you, then you will need to pay any relevant:

These can be costly and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to recover back tax from your employees. We can review your existing arrangements and give you our opinion on whether it will stand up to attack from the taxman and what steps you should take to minimise the risks.

If you are challenged, it is important to remember that the taxman is not always right in his determination.  He does not have the final say on whether somebody is legally employed or self-employed.  This is decided by the law and there is plenty of case law around this area. If you are challenged, we can argue your case and take it before the Tax Commissioners for you.


Our PAYE health check service will uncover any PAYE issues before the taxman does.  Rather than have the worry of a tax inspection, which may result in an unexpected tax bill including interest and penalties, let us give your PAY the once over.  We will:

  • Review and sample check your payroll records for errors
  • Check for the most common errors that the PAYE inspectors look for
  • Statistically analyse your completed PAYE returns
  • Sample check the completion of PAYE returns
  • Compare your PAYE returns against your annual accounts
  • Sample check leavers and starters to make sure they are correctly dealt with
  • Review statutory maternity pay, statutory sick pay, student loan deductions and working tax credits
  • Identify any workers where status issues may be a concern
  • Check completion of end of year returns
  • Review benefit in kind and expenses disclosures and calculations
  • Check expenses dispensations
  • Identify any PAYE planning opportunities

You can rest assured that our team will uncover and deal with any issues before they become a problem


There is more to forming your company than just registering your business name and details with Companies House.  There are numerous factors to take into consideration including if you have partners, co-directors or shareholders and if you want to float the company on the stock market in the future.

We can assist you with forming:

  • An off the shelf ready-made company
  • A tailor-made company

We can even arrange same day formations.

  • A Limited Liability Partnership
  • PLC formation
  • Offshore companies in low tax jurisdictions

  • Advice on the pros and cons of incorporation in your own situation
  • Appointment of directors
  • Appointment of a company secretary
  • Issue of subscriber shares
  • Registered office services
  • Completion of all necessary minutes and resolutions
  • Assistance in opening a bank account
  • Tax review with regards to company formation – forming the company yourself and getting this wrong can be very costly
  • VAT Registration
  • Company registration for Corporation Tax
  • Set up of Company PAYE scheme
  • Bookkeeping set-up advice
  • Business Plans
  • Assistance with raising finance

If you are looking to form a company, then contact us about your best way forward.


Do you need a registered office address?  Every company needs to have a registered office but you might not want to use your home address.

There are multiple advantages to using a professional registered office address like ours.  The first is people cannot get your home address from Companies House.  More importantly, a proper business address generates more confidence than one that is clearly trading from your home.

The main reason to use our address is that all important documents around tax, VAT and annual returns come straight to us so that we can deal with them right away on your behalf.  If we receive any letters that aren’t meant for us, we will forward these onto you directly.


If you are a contractor, then we can advise you on the tax advantages in various scenarios.  We have a good understanding of professional service contractors and how to help them.  You can benefit from help with:

  • Company formation
  • Annual Accounts
  • Company tax returns
  • Personal Tax Returns
  • Company secretarial service
  • Book-keeping
  • VAT Returns
  • PAYE Returns
  • Tax computations

We can also help you with the notorious IR35 tax legislation.  This legislation aims to distinguish genuine businesses from temporary employees and so tax individuals at the appropriate PAYE rate.

This has major implications for many contractors.  However, there are various factors to consider in determining if someone is self-employed or an employee including:

  • Control
  • The right to get a substitute or helper to do the job
  • Mutuality of obligations
  • Provision of equipment
  • Financial Risk
  • Basis of Payment
  • Opportunity to profit from sound management
  • Right of dismissal
  • Employee benefits
  • Intention of the parties
  • Length of engagement

These are often matters of general employment law, and not specific tax legislation. There is an enormous amount of case law in this area and the taxman is not always right. They do not have the final say on whether somebody is caught by IR35 or not. We can argue your case for you.

We offer you:

  • Review of contracts for IR35 status
  • Provision of anti IR35 draft contracts
  • Dealing with IR35 disputes

If you are a contractor, then you are invited to get in touch and we will ensure that you are covered.


VAT returns need to be made quarterly.  We can help you to complete and file your return on time and stay on top of your payments. The rules and regulations surrounding VAT returns can be quite complicated, however we can do your VAT return quickly especially if you use digital accounting.

The main things you need to be aware of are:

  • There are different rates of VAT for different products and services, including standard (20%), reduced (5%) and zero rate (0%).  For example, printing flyers for your business is VAT free unless you have a gap for people to fill their information in which case you need to charge 20%.
  • You can’t always reclaim VAT on purchases, for example for client entertaining, car purchase, or non-business use
  • There are severe penalties for errors, including penalties of 15% for undeclared errors

Your business could benefit from the flat rate scheme.  Under this scheme, you pay a fixed rate of VAT (16.5%) and keep the difference on what you charge rather than claiming back VAT you have paid. This is only available to small businesses who have a very low base, such as IT contractors.  We can discuss this with you.


Disputes over VAT can and do occur.  They most commonly occur:

  • As the result of a routine VAT inspection
  • When a taxpayer seeks a ruling on a doubtful area
  • When HMRC have made a change to existing legislation and/or policy where the effect on a particular taxpayer’s situation is unclear

These disputes usually centre on:

  • The VAT liability of a product or service
  • The amount of VAT a taxpayer is entitled to reclaim on their costs
  • Whether or not a product or service is supplied in the UK

We can help you to deal with these disputes and produce you with guidance on your options. We always strive to maintain good relationships between you and the VAT man which ensures that inspections go smoothly and minimises the risk of VAT disputes.


If you are concerned about a VAT inspection then our VAT health check is right for you.  This has been designed to find any VAT issues before the VAT man does.

Our health check:

  • Reviews and sample checks your accounting records for errors
  • Sample tests the most common errors that VAT inspectors look for
  • Analyses your completed VAT returns
  • Checks the completion of VAT returns
  • Compares your VAT returns against your annual accounts
  • Checks the VAT treatment of your sales
  • Considers whether you are making best use of relevant VAT schemes
  • Ensures you are correctly applying the rules of VAT schemes
  • Identifies VAT planning opportunities

We can help you to deal with these disputes and produce you with guidance on your options. We always strive to maintain good relationships between you and the VAT man which ensures that inspections go smoothly and minimises the risk of VAT disputes.