5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Dedicated Business Phone Number

Why do you need a separate phone number tied to your office if you already got a mobile phone these days?Well, for one, it offers a separation of calls meant for business and work. An office number that is powered by Internet technology can also be configured with powerful features, such as setting the time that calls are forwarded, as well as “out of office” messages.

Here are five reasons why it’s still important to have a business phone number. Not just any old phone number, but one powered by smart Internet technology from MightyCall.

1. Look professional

Freelancers or startup entrepreneurs sometimes work out of a home office or café and rely on a cellphone for all incoming calls. Having a dedicated line means you don’t have to share that mobile number with your contacts. Plus, it doesn’t show that you are a one-man shop, if impressions count for potential customers.
Don’t just sign up for an old line that has you stuck at one place, of course. Opt for a smartphone service that lets you easily forward a call to your mobile, just as you’d forward e-mail from one account to another.

2. Don’t miss an important call

Smart call forwarding means you don’t have to expose your private cell phone number to business contacts, while still maintaining the convenience of a mobile number. More importantly, it means you don’t miss important calls from potential customers.
Different phone numbers can be set up for various departments or functions. Staff in charge of accounting or sales, for example, can have calls to different office numbers forwarded to their mobile phones even on the go.

3. Provide a professional experience

Another powerful feature of a smart fixed line service is the ability to set when you forward the calls. For example, you can set up a hotline for customer queries about an upcoming event and have the calls forwarded to the organizer during office hours, but directed to a voice mail at night or over the weekend.
This gives control to the user, while presenting the calling customer an experience expected of a professionally organized event.

4. Show customers you care

In the event that you can’t answer a call, an Internet-based phone service may also enable you to automatically send a message — possibly even a voice message — back to the caller. This lets them know you care and will call back, instead of leaving them with a dull answering machine message.

5. Enjoy clearer calls

There are times when phone signal just doesn’t let you hear the other party clearly. That’s not what you want for important conference calls. A dedicated business phone number, connected to a fixed line network, is usually a better guarantee against disruptions that can happen to wireless calls.

12 tax changes you need to know for 2018-19

From National Insurance hikes to increased capital gains allowances, here’s what you need to know.

If you’re running your own business, every penny counts – and tax rules can have a huge impact on how much you earn. As the new tax year kicks off, find out how taxes will impact your bottom line. The new tax year starts on 6 April 2018, meaning a range of previously-announced rule changes will kick in. We explain the most important tax changes for the 2018-19 tax year you need to know about if you’re self-employed.

1. Tax-free dividend allowance slashed

Many self-employed people set up companies to take payments and pay out expenses, then pay themselves a dividend from the profits they make. This allows them to minimise their income, and therefore their income tax bill. But as of 6 April, this strategy will be less beneficial, as the amount you’re allowed to earn from dividends before paying tax – known as the dividend allowance – is set to fall.

Previously, you were able to earn £5,000 a year from dividend income before paying tax on it.  But from 6 April, this allowance will drop to £2,000. Use our 2018-19 dividend tax calculator to find out what you’ll pay.

2. Higher thresholds for Class 2 and Class 4 contributions

If you’re self-employed, you need to pay Class 2 contributions on income above a certain amount. In 2018-2019, this threshold is £6,205 a year – up from £6,025 in the 2017-2018 tax year. If you earn less than this, you won’t need to pay National Insurance at all, though you can opt to make voluntary Class 2 contributions. The threshold for Class 4 has also risen, from £8,164 last year to £8,424 in 2018-2019.

3. Increased rate for Class 2 contributions

The rate for Class 2 contributions is also going up. In 2017-2018, you had to pay £2.85 per week for your Class 2 contributions – in the coming year, that will increase to £2.95 per week.

These changes to NI contributions mean lower-earners will end up paying slightly less National Insurance, while higher-earners will pay a little more. As an example, if you earn £20,000, you’ll pay £1,195.24 into National Insurance in 2018-2019 – £18 less than what you paid last year. But if you earn £70,000, you’ll pay £4,039.74 in this tax year – an increase of £76.

4. Capital gains tax allowance increased

The profit you’re able to earn tax-free from selling assets – known as the ‘capital gains tax allowance’ – will increase to £11,700 in the 2018-19 tax year. This is up from £11,300 in the tax year prior. This means if you’re planning to sell a valuable asset that qualifies for capital gains tax, you’ll get a smaller tax bill.

If you’re selling a business as a sole trader or partnership, don’t forget you may be able to benefit from ‘entrepreneur’s relief’. This reduces the capital gains tax rate to 10% on the first £10m of gains you make over your lifetime.

5. Personal allowance increases

Like other earners, the self-employed will benefit from an increased personal allowance, which determines how much you can earn before you pay income tax. For 2018/2019, the personal allowance is £11,850, up from £11,500 in the previous tax year.

Remember that as a self-employed person, you pay tax on your profits – meaning your earnings after expenses are deducted. If you’re in Scotland, keep in mind that a new income tax system applies to you from the 2018-19 tax year – you can find out more in our guide to income tax in Scotland.

6. Higher rate threshold increases

For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you’ll need to pay a higher rate of income tax on profits above £46,350 – this is up from £45,000 in the 2017-18 tax year. To work out how these changes will affect your tax bill, you can use our income tax calculator. Income tax in Scotland works differently.

There are five rates of income tax to pay:

  • Income between £11,850 and £13,850 is subject to the starter rate of 19%
  • Income between £13,850 and £24,000 is subject to the basic-rate of 20%
  • Income between £24,000 and £43,430 is subject to the intermediate rate of 21%
  • Income between £43,430 and £150,000 is subject to the higher rate of 41%
  • Income above £150,000 is subject to the top rate of 46%.

 

7. Making Tax Digital pilot

In coming years, HMRC plans to introduce a monthly or quarterly income reporting system for sole traders and small businesses, a project called Making Tax Digital. Rather than submitting a single tax return, businesses will report their earnings on a regular basis and receive an estimate of their tax liability.

While the roll-out has been delayed until 2020, sole traders can sign up for a pilot to use the software at the HMRC website.

8. Business rates to switch to CPI

The way business rates increase is set to change as of April. Currently, business rates are increased in line with September’s Retail Prices Index (RPI), but moving forwards, rates will be tied to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

This may seem like a technical change, but you’re likely to benefit from lower rates, as CPI tends to be a lower than RPI. In September last year, CPI was 3%, while RPI was 3.9%.

9. IR35 crackdown may be imminent

In April 2017, the government rolled out tax reforms in the public sector to ensure compliance with IR35 – legislation to combat companies misclassifying employees as contractors to avoid tax. There is speculation that this crackdown will be extended to the private sector in the coming year.

The IR35 rules primarily apply to people employed as contractors through an intermediary or personal service company. If you’re a freelancer or contractor, you should check whether IR35 could apply to you because if it does, you may face a hefty tax bill. In the private sector, the employee is responsible for checking their status and will be liable for any tax owing.

10. VAT threshold decrease on hold

Before the Autumn 2017 Budget, there was some speculation that the government might lower the threshold at which small businesses had to register for VAT. But ultimately, the government announced the threshold would remain at £85,000 for two years from 1 April 2018. Around 6,000 small businesses are expected to surpass the threshold for VAT in the 2018-19 tax year.

If you employ staff…

11. Rise in minimum pension contribution

From April 2018, employers will need to make a 2% mandatory contribution into their employee’s pension fund – up from 1% in the previous tax year. Keep in mind that this will increase again from April 2019 to 3%.

12. Increase in National Living Wage for staff

As an employer, you should be aware that the National Living Wage will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 from April 2018 – a rise of 4.4%. This means you’ll need to raise the wages for any staff aged over 25 who are paid at the minimum wage.

Brand new website

We’ve recently had our website completely revamped by the fantastic guys over at Business Suite! Read more