Business Formation 2 – Partnerships

In Part I we looked at the option of starting up a business as a Sole Trader. In this second of three articles we now look at Partnerships and whether this may be the most attractive form of Self-Employment for Start-up businesses.

A Partnership is formed when two or more people join together to engage in an economic enterprise. It can be seen as a number of Sole Traders joining together to start a business. It is usually defined by a partnership agreement that sets out such items as the number of partners, the percentage of the partnership owned by each person and various other rules by which the partners should abide. We would recommend that you find a solicitor who can draw up a Partnership Agreement for you as it is a very important document. It should be stressed that a Partnership is NOT a Limited Company and each partner is jointly and severally liable for the debts of the Partnership. In other words, if a partner accumulates debts on behalf of the partnership and is unable to repay them, then all other partners are liable for these debts.

The main advantage of a Partnership is that it removes the fear of “going it alone” that worries many would be entrepreneurs. For example, if you are a mechanic and would like to set up in conjunction with a friend/ former work colleague, Partnership could be a structure to allow you to start up a business together. You would register the partnership with both the CRO and the Revenue (using a TR1 form, similar to a Sole Trader) The administration costs are lower than for a Limited Company and there are less regulatory requirements. However these lower costs need to be balanced against the greater risk to which a partner will be exposed. We would advise that you speak to a professional adviser to ensure that you understand both sides of the debate and can make an informed decision.

In Part III we will look at the final option available to business start-ups, the formation of a Limited Company. In the meantime if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.

Business Formation Part 1 – Sole Traders

Contrary to what many people might think, there are still significant numbers of people setting up new business ventures. For example, in the week ending March 30th, CRO statistics show that 335 Limited Companies were formed and 254 Business Names were registered. Whilst this is much less than was the case in, say 2007, it nonetheless indicates that there are many people out there who are either making the leap to self-employment or that there are self-employed people setting up new ventures.

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2010 Self Assessment Income Tax

If you are Self Employed, you may have noticed recently that there has been some debate as to whether the October 31st deadline for the submission of 2010 Self Assessment Income Tax Returns (Form 11, Form 11E and Form 12) should be brought forward to September 30th 2011.

In the end the idea was scrapped, but not before it had worried a lot of people. Whilst it would have been good news for accountants and tax advisers such as ourselves who haven’t enjoyed a break during the October Bank Holiday weekend since God knows when, it would have been bad news for everyone else as they would have had a month less to get their 2010 Self Assessment Tax Returns completed and submitted to the Revenue Commissioners! They would also have a month less to find the money required to pay this bill. Hence, the proposal caused much worry before it was eventually shelved.

As the old saying goes, “Forewarned is Forearmed”. By having your 2010 Self Assessment tax Return completed earlier this year, you will ensure that you meet the revised deadline and thus avoid any penalties for the late submission of returns. From a cash flow perspective it will also allow you to budget for the amount you will be required to pay. For example, if you have your return completed now and find that you will be required to pay €4,000 to the Revenue Commissioners in October 2011, you can put away €500 per month for the 8 months between March and October inclusive and avoid the last minute scramble that most Self Assessment taxpayers are familiar with to find the money required to pay their tax bill.

If you would like to stay in control of your personal tax requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact the office to discuss your 2010 Self Assessment Income Tax Returns (Form 11, Form 11E and Form 12). We offer a professional, friendly reliable service and all staff are fully qualified accountants. We do not employ any unqualified or part-qualified accountants so you can be confident that the person who produces your Income Tax Return is fully qualified to do so. Our fee structure is fully transparent and agreed upfront with each individual client so there will be no surprises. By taking this approach, we believe that we can generate long term relationships with our clients and that they will not hesitate to refer new clients to us.

Payroll for Employers

If you are one of the many people who had problems with your payroll in 2010 and wrestled with the calculation and submission of your 2010 P35, the good news is that the start of the Tax Year is the time to ensure that these problems do not reoccur in 2011. By putting a proper system in place at the start of the Tax Year, you will ensure that you avoid any of the problems associated with payroll as the year progresses. If on the other hand, you wish to enrage even the most timid of Employees you should make some mistakes in the calculation of their payslip. This is a sure-fire way to cause friction with your Employees. An Employee who thinks that he/she is being ‘done’ on their salary will not be a happy and productive part of your team.

The good news is that there are 2 possible solutions that we would recommend to this problem:

  1. Purchase some Payroll Software and learn how to use it properly. If you contact the office, we will be glad to recommend our preferred product. It is not expensive and does everything you will require from a payroll system. We also recommend that you take a training course in using the Payroll Software, regardless of which product you purchase. If you are new to payroll and purchase software without taking a training course, you may as well buy a printer and refuse to buy ink for it. It won’t work properly and will lead to both problems and frustration.
  2. Outsource your Payroll Services: As accountants, we believe that self-employed people should focus their energies on what they do best and find others to provide whatever other skills are required to run their business efficiently. At Robert King & Co we can offer a professional, cost-efficient payroll service to all Employers, regardless of size. We deal with all aspects of payroll from the calculation of payments to employees and the issue of payslips, to the submission of all Employers filing obligations with the Revenue Commissioners. Payslips can be issued in paper or in electronic format. We will also deal with the documentation of Employees who join or leave during the year. For a quotation, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.

Regardless of which option you choose, we cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of using a proper system for your payroll. It will also ensure that your submissions to the Revenue are correct and will satisfy the requirements of any checks or audits you may be subjected to. Payroll is an essential component of the financial management of your business and without a great investment of time or money, it can run smoothly and without any headaches. Businesses have enough to worry about at the moment without adding to the list.