Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder Dock Novitiate

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    Default trading name

    hi ! im registered as a self-employed. my question is : how can i change my trading name. i want to trade as name. currently i have another name for my "business" than my own name. thank u !!!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: trading name

    Hello Dock!

    If you are Self-Employed, you may as well just keep the one main set of Accounts in whatever name you are now using, and then add a Trading Name to that.

    But changing Business name to your own name is no problem, just tell your bank and HMRC Tax and HMRC VAT (if Registered), and they'll just change their details. It is as simple as that for the Self-Employed.

    So, if you are currently Boring Builders, and want to be your own name, let's assume that is Bill Dock, then just change the name and tell the above people.

    Adding other Trading Names to that is fine, HMRC-Tax and HMRC-VAT don't care, so long as they know about the core Business Name.

    IOW, you can add Dock Developments if you wanted:

    Bill Dock T/A Dock Developments

    You can just as easily add another one if you also sell Rocks, i.e. add it to whatever Trading Name you want to use, i.e.:

    Bill Dock T/A Dock Rocks

    Just tell your bank that you may get cheques made out to Dock Developments and Dock Rocks and most will have no problem accepting them.

    The main issue is to keep track of all activities in your Accounts, and if what you do in one area is substantially different than the other, then just take care as HMRC may want you to run two or more sets of Accounts, even though you are just one person and Self-Employed.

    What they don't want you to do is have one area that makes no money, supported by another area that makes lots of money. Put together you break even and pay little Tax. To stop you doing that, what they would want is for you to show the Profit & Loss for each side, so they can stiff you for as much Tax as possible.

    Many rich people used to Buy Farms a while ago just to offet the Farming Losses against their other Income. HMRC called that Hobby Farming, and put a stop to that little game to make sure people could not then evade Tax by running a loss making Farm.

    But, with a good Accountant and some awareness of the pitfalls, there's no reason why Bill Docks cannot have many Trading Names, if it makes sense for you to do that.

    For example, if you're a Builder that also wants to start selling frilly knickers, this is not really the same thing as Bricks and Cement (well, last time I checked anyway)! So, whilst there's nothing to stop you from running:

    Bill Dock T/A Dock Developments
    and
    Bill Dock T/A Dock Frilly Knickers


    It's likely that HMRC would want you to keep two sets of books, although you would still be Self-Employed (Bill Dock) with one Bank Account (Bill Dock).

    One way to do both would be if, say, you just ran Web Sites and sold widgets via mail order, in which case you could argue that Cement, Hammers and Frilly Knickers are just stuff you Buy in and Sell. If so, you could indeed keep one set of Self-Employed Accounts and have as many Trading Names as you needed for each Widget Line that you sold, i.e.:

    Bill Dock T/A Dock Frilly Knickers
    Bill Dock T/A Dock Hammers
    Bill Dock T/A Dock Cement

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    BRW


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder Dock Novitiate

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    Default Re: trading name

    thanx BRW. the thing is i dont have a bank account on my business name and i cannot be paid on my personal account. so i just want to change my business name. or i can open a bank account on my business name, but i dont want to do that. so i think i should call the hmrc or someone related to it and tell them, but i dont know who to call...anyway..thanx again !!!!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: trading name

    Hi,

    Many businesses - including sole traders, partnerships and companies - use trading names that are different from the business' legal name. Some have several different trading names.
    If you're a contractor or a subcontractor under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), it's important to know which name to use when you operate the scheme. No matter how many trading names you use, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will only register your legal name and one trading name

    Please note that although my advice is offered, you should consult your legal representative before taking ANY action.


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: trading name

    Hello Dock!

    If you are a Sole Trader, I think the simplest plan is to make sure your primary Business Name is the same as your real name.

    Your bank should not have a problem changing the Account name from whatever it is, to your own Name, provided you are a Sole Trader.

    I can't see a problem in any event if you ask people to write Cheques out in your real name, and then just Pay them into your Private Bank Account, provided you keep a record of every such Deposit.

    To square that in your Books, use a 2nd Cash Account to track the flow of Funds. Call that Virtual Cash, as no actual real money (as in Pounds and Coins) are involved.

    You can call these Transfers Virtual Cash, and no Tax Inspector or VAT Inspector should have a problem with this, provided it is an accurate logging of how the Payments went.

    For example, if you raised an Invoice (001) for 100.00 last week (09/10/2008 ), and someone Pays for that Today via Cheque in your name that you then Pay into your Private AC. Then that is effectively Drawings you have taken out of the Business. So, you need to reflect that in your Accounts. I would Track this as follows:

    Invoice Account:

    09/10/2008 100.00 Invoice 001 Raised

    Virtual Cash Account:

    16/10/2008 100.00 Virtual Cash Paid In for Invoice 001 (to match Cheque paid into Private Account)

    16/10/2008 100.00 Virtual Cash Drawings taken Out (to match Cheque paid into Private AC).

    The net effect is therefore Zero and so accurate, as the Business has been Paid 100.00 via Virtual Cash for Invoice 001, and then you have marked that Virtual Cash as Drawings you then took out of the Business.

    This is Business Money, so the Business just needs to know that it came in and went straight out again, so calling that Virtual Cash is quite acceptable.

    Drawings/Cash-Injections are something a Sole Trader and a Partnership can use, whereas you can't if a Limited Company. They are a very handy way to track any Funds that go To/From Private Funds.

    Drawings = Business Money Taken out of the Business that then becomes Private Money.

    Cash Injection = Private Money Paid into the Business that then becomes Business Money.

    Money that you take out and inject in, has no effect on your Tax Income or on the Profits of the Business. You are Taxed on what Profit the Business makes, and Drawings/Cash-Injections do not affect that.

    Take too much Cash out, and all you will do is make it harder for the Business to function and pay Bills. But there is nothing to stop you doing this provided all Transactions are recorded and the Business Accounts show an accurate summary of what it is doing.

    If you then wanted to use that 100 of what is now Private Cash in the Business, then you just need to enter it into Petty Cash as a Cash Injection from Private Funds. Indeed, if you went to your Private Bank and obtained a 100 Bag of Money, this would then be put into your Cash Box, so you would enter that into the Business via Petty Cash (100.00 bag of money Paid In from Private Funds, so a Cash Injection into Petty Cash).

    The key advantage of being Self-Employed is that you are not so tied down by rules as you would be if a Limited Company.

    Indeed, you do not even need a Business Bank Account, unless you need things like Credit Card Facilities. The banks will say you do, but they cannot force you other than by saying No.

    My advice is to get everything in your own Name, i.e. Business and Business Bank Account if you have one, and once that is settled, then you can add a Trading Name to that.

    i.e. Mr X Dock T/A for both Business and Business Bank AC.

    Then, if people pay you via Cheque in your own name, you can Pay those Cheques anywhere you want, i.e. Business AC or Private AC.

    Just make sure these Payments are tracked in the Business, and it's then all above board.

    What the Taxman/VATMan won't accept, is stray Deposits into your Private AC that cannot be explained by matching records in the Business.

    So, it's wise to keep a Private record of any Payments you get that are non-Business, so these can be explained. Say, you sell your TV and get paid 200, just keep a Record of that, what was Sold, who bought it, and then if the Taxman wants to know, you can say what it relates to.

    Likewise, going back to Invoice 001 above, if they want to know what that 100 going into your Private AC was all about, you can reconcile that easily by saying it was a Cheque Payment for Invoice 001, that was correctly logged as a Virtual Cash Payment and then matching Drawings to reflect that those funds flowed in/out of the Business as Virtual Cash because they went into your Private AC.

    All above board, and quite safe.

    If you can, I would get something like Microsoft Money, and run a Copy of that for your Home Accounts. Apart from anything else, it keeps your Home Cash Flow accurate, and gives you a good record of any funds that went To/From or From/To the Business.

    When you are Self-Employed, it is wise to run your Home Accounts well, to protect you from any Inland Revenue Tax Investigation.

    We had a big one a few Years ago, and they were stunned to find that every single penny was accounted for in both Business and Private Accounts. They called off the Investigation! Had we not kept such good records, they would've tied us up for Months and would've guessed at hidden Income if we could not explain all funds that went in/out of Private Accounts. They would've been wrong, but we would've paid for this just by not keeping a tally. We did, so were OK.

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    BRW


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder Dock Novitiate

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    Default Re: trading name

    brw...i just want to know where should i go or who should i call to change my trading name..thats all....u gave me to much information...when i registered as a self-employed under the CIS i didnt leave my own name as my trading name like i should've done. i worked for someone for a couple of weeks and when he wanted to pay me he said he cant write me a cheque on my personal name because its illegal. now i want to trade as name, i want to put my own name and i want to know how should i do that. thank u both !!!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: trading name

    Hello Dock!

    i worked for someone for a couple of weeks and when he wanted to pay me he said he cant write me a cheque on my personal name because its illegal.
    If you are Self-Employed and a Sole Trader, it is not illegal to have a Cheque written out in your own name. I suspect the chap had some other motive for saying that.

    Best thing to do is contact HM Revenue and Customs, and ask them what name you are currently listed as (it could be your own for all you know), and if it is not your name, then ask them if you can change it to your own name.

    Then tell your Bank (assuming you have a Business AC), and say you want to change the name and have new Cheque Books/Cards to reflect that. If you are a Sole Trader/Self-Employed, it's just an adminicon issue for them, you'll keep the same Account Number and Sort Code.

    That's about it...if your Turn Over goes over a set figure, I think it's around 60k but don't quote me on that, then you'll need to be VAT Registered.

    If T/O is below the VAT Threshold, then the above is all you need to do...unless you have Business Premises, in which case you may need to tell the Council.

    Likewise, tell anyone who you Trade with, that's if you have any Trading Accounts or Customers who Pay you via Cheque in the old Business Name. But even then, you can keep the Old Business Name as a Trading Name of the Business.

    I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    BRW


  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder Dock Novitiate

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    Default Re: trading name

    no i dont have a BA...i could've solve this payment problem very fast. the guy told me he called hmrc and they said im listed with that name, not my own....ok..so i will call hmrc and see if i can change it...thanx a lot !!!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: trading name

    BRW I can't agree more about keeping full records. I had a client a few years ago who had four or five bank accounts. The Revenue insisted on adding up all the deposits into each account and calling that her income, where the vast majority of them were simply transfers between the various accounts. The man was not the brightest I have met but it made me realise how important it is to have proof when the time comes!!

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: trading name

    Hello Goldlady!

    BRW I can't agree more about keeping full records.
    Absolutely. I think anyone who is Self-Employed must keep their Private Accounts as up to date as their Business Accounts.

    The powers that be just don't like the Self-Employed, in their ideal world, everyone would be Employed as most of their work would be done for them via the Payroll Data they get from Company Accountants!

    So, if Self-Employed, it's a sad fact of life that the boundary between Business and Private is just not there...it's one and the same thing.

    It saved our bacon some time ago, because we kept perfect Home Accounts so there was nothing for HMRC to pick holes in.

    But it is hard work, and adds yet another layer of bumf to an already busy life.

    I dream of being Employed sometimes...no I don't, only kidding!

    Mind you, the bloke I work for is a complete nightmare.



    Cheers,
    BRW



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