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Posted on 31 July 2015 by 0 Comments

FreeAgent is crowdfunding

Following our successful round of crowdfunding on Seedrs, I'm really proud to welcome the 700 FreeAgent shareholders who have collectively invested over £1m to help us further accelerate our growth and product development!

We originally chose to raise investment through crowdfunding because we really wanted to give our customers and other non-traditional investors the opportunity to own a part of FreeAgent. We know that a lot of our new shareholders use FreeAgent and we’re thrilled that they’ve decided to join us on our mission to “Democratise Accounting”.

We've already got lots of exciting work going on here, and this new investment will really help us dial things up. So let me say a big thank you to all the new members of the FreeAgent family who have chosen to come on board for the next phase of our journey.

Onwards and upwards!

Pie chart

A whopping 95% of all businesses in the UK are micro-businesses (i.e. they have zero to nine employees)*. but when it comes to learning how these smallest businesses feel about their finances, research usually includes them as part of the much larger “SME” category, which consists of businesses up to 250 employees.

So to find out how micro-businesses really think and feel about their finances, we commissioned YouGov to ask over 500 micro-businesses owners how they manage their business bookkeeping and accounts, including how long they have to wait for payment, how easy it is to access their financial information, and how they work with their accountant.

Take our quick quiz to find out how you compare to others UK micro-business owners - if you’d like to read the full survey results, you can check them out here.

Take the quiz

*Source: ‘Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2014’, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 2014.

In the team: Jennie’s epic abseil for the MS Society

Posted on 24 July 2015 by FreeAgent Guest Blog – 0 Comments

Jennie Stamp

We’re a pretty active bunch here at FreeAgent. When we’re not hard at work, we can often be found doing all kinds of weird and wonderful activities, often for a good cause. Dangling 165 feet above the Firth of Forth isn’t our Outreach Manager Jennie’s idea of a typical Sunday morning, but a few weeks ago, that’s just what she did! Here’s her story.

The Forth Rail Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scotland so when I saw an opportunity to abseil off it to raise money for the MS Society I jumped at the chance (pun intended!).

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) probably affects more than 100,000 people in the UK and around 10,000 people in Scotland alone. I was diagnosed not long after I moved to Edinburgh back in 2006. Living with MS is a daily battle, so I was keen to challenge myself and complete my first ever abseil to raise money for the MS Society. The charity fights to improve treatment and care to help people with MS take control of their lives. And with support from fundraising, the MS Society funds research into the disease with the aim of one day beating MS for good.

As I spread the word about what I was doing, I soon found out just how many people actually know someone with MS and want to support the work of the MS Society. Before long, I was receiving donations and well wishes from family, friends, friends of friends, and even virtual strangers from all over the world! I really wasn’t prepared for how incredibly supportive and generous everyone was going to be.

Collage of photos from Jennie's abseil

On the day of the abseil I was completely relaxed - right up until I started to climb up on top of the bridge and looked down at the 165ft drop I was about to dangle over! Luckily it wasn’t raining or too windy. It was however very chilly - good old Scottish summer! The team of people who were organising the day were all so helpful and great at making everyone feel at ease. Before I knew it I was suspended in mid air and making my way down to the beach below and my crowd of supporting friends and family.

In the end I raised over £3,000 for the MS Society and I couldn’t be happier - I’m really glad I took the plunge and completed the challenge!

31st July, one of the key payment dates for making ‘payments on account’ is fast approaching. If you were told by HMRC that you have to make payments on account in respect of your 2014/15 tax bill, here’s what you need to know.

What are payments on account?

Each tax year, HMRC requires certain business owners to make payments towards the following year’s income tax and class 4 National Insurance in two instalments known as ‘payments on account’.

If you are required to make payments on account, the amount you have to pay each time is half of your previous year's tax and class 4 NI bill. So if your tax bill for 2013/14 was £1,500, then each payment on account you’d need to make in respect of your 2014/15 tax bill would be £750.

Who has to make payments on account?

Payments on account can apply to you if you’re a sole trader, a director of a limited company or a partner in partnership. You will have to make payments on account if:

  • you are a UK taxpayer
  • your previous year's tax bill was £1,000 or more
  • less than 80% of your income tax is paid at source (this means the tax is deducted from your income before you receive it)

When do I have to make each payment?

Payments on account are due twice each year, on the following dates:

  • 31st January
  • 31st July

Our glossary entry provides a full explanation of how the payment dates work and how payments on account are calculated.

How do I make the payments?

There are several ways you can make payments on account to HMRC - the options are listed here. Whichever payment method you choose, you need to make sure that the money is with HMRC by the 31st July deadline.

What do I have to pay by 31st July?

If you are required to make payments on account in respect of the 2014/15 tax year, you should already have made one such payment by the 31st January deadline. You will owe the same amount on account by 31st July.

If you’re unsure how much you owe, you can find out by logging in to your online HMRC account and viewing your Self Assessment statement. Select ‘view statements’ to see how much you’ve already paid on account and how much you need to pay by 31st July.

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