While there really is nothing that can replace the benefits of having personal tax advice from an experienced dental accountant, Geoff Long Dental Accountant explains that it also makes sense to try and get some sound tax advice online.
Tax is a complex subject, and it can often seem incredibly opaque to many people running their own business. It is one of those things that too often is pushed down the priority list, or at best, left to a professional accountant. And while I am a professional, experienced dental accountant – and so welcome the business that my clients put my way – I also firmly believe that the more individuals take some level of personal responsibility for their tax situation, the better.
Knowledge is power
Why? Well, because so much of the quality of service that my firm Long & Co. can offer clients comes down the degree to which my clients are able to have informed conversations about their tax liabilities and obligations. It helps me, in my role as a professional dental accountant, if my clients are informed and up to speed with their finances – and it helps me to be able to help them make better financial decisions for their practice.
So, as well as engaging the services of a specialist dental accountant, how else can you as a dental professional, find out more about tax? Well, unsurprisingly, one of the best places to start is on online. I really recommend that anyone who wants to learn more about how taxation works, and their own personal liabilities, should start at the HM Revenue & Customs’ own website. HMRC, as the government body responsible for collecting tax in the UK, have a huge amount of information available online, much of it broken down in to handy guides.
Mastering the basics
A great example is their dedicated online guide to tax for dentists. The e-learning guide takes you through the basics of understanding your tax, how National Insurance contributions work, as well information on charging VAT. It also offers help for the newly-qualified, advice on your obligations around employing staff, help with keeping accurate business records and recording and claiming business expenses. It also offers a straightforward guide to completing your tax returns, and information on how to pay HMRC what you owe.
Once again, I firmly believe that none of this online advice is a substitute for sitting down with an experienced, specialist dental accountant and discussing your own personal situation. Tax is a specialism in which it is possible to give a lot of good general advice – but the real advantages for you as a dental professional will come when a specialist accountant is able to go through your individual situation and identify those specific areas where you can make savings on your tax bill. In my experience, everyone’s practice is different, with their own individual challenges and opportunities.
But giving yourself a solid grounding in what is expected of you as an employer and as a tax payer is an absolutely crucial part of this process and should directly improve the level of service you get from your accountant.
So, go online, and arm yourself with all of the information you need to start having some tough, searching conversations the next time you meet with your accountant. If they’re good at their job, they should relish the challenge of helping you out.
Geoff Long is a specialist dental accountant based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He advises on a wide range of dental tax issues and regularly writes for the dental press. Geoff has over 20 years’ experience with dentist’s accounts and is recognised for his proactive approach to dental taxation and business problems.
Geoff can be contacted on 01438 722224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org