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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Government unveils new VAT rules for 2019

23 July 2018

The Government has published guidance on forthcoming changes to digital record-keeping and VAT return requirements.

The new rules will apply from April 2019. Under Making Tax Digital (MTD), all VAT-registered businesses with taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold will have to keep VAT records in digital form and file their VAT returns using compatible software.

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The software that businesses use must be capable of keeping records, preparing VAT returns and communicating with HMRC digitally via its Application Programming Interface (API) platform.

The HMRC guidance says: "If your digital records are up to date, software will be able to collate and prepare your return for you. It will then show the return to you and ask you to declare that it is correct and confirm that you want to submit it to HMRC. Once you have submitted your return you will receive confirmation through your software that it has been received."

Only businesses with taxable turnover that has never exceeded the VAT registration threshold (currently £85,000) will be exempt from Making Tax Digital. If the taxable turnover of a business subsequently falls below the threshold it will need to continue to follow the Making Tax Digital rules, unless it deregisters from VAT or meets other exemption criteria.

All VAT-registered businesses must keep and preserve certain records and accounts. Under Making Tax Digital, some of these records must be kept digitally within "functional compatible software". However, there are still some records that by law must be preserved in their original form for VAT or other tax purposes- such as a C79 import VAT certificate.

HMRC says that functional compatible software is a software program or programs, products or applications, that must be able to:

  • Record and preserve digital records;
  • Give HMRC information and returns from data held in those digital records using the API platform;
  • Receive information from HMRC via the API platform.

Transferring data manually or by using "cut and paste" is not acceptable under Making Tax Digital.

Businesses can authorise HMRC to receive data from (and send data to) an agent, such as an accountant, on their behalf. If they have previously authorised HMRC to receive their VAT return from an agent they can still do this.

HMRC will allow a period of time - what it is calling the "soft landing period" - for businesses to set up digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. HMRC says it expects "most businesses to use API-enabled commercial software packages both to keep digital records and file their VAT returns".

There are guides covering all aspects of managing VAT under the new system on the Government website. Business owners can also contact the VAT helpline.

Are you ready to file your first digital VAT return? Get the latest on MTD in the Making Tax Digital Hub.

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