Every New Year carries the exciting prospect of change for many freelancers, contractors and small business owners. Change you instigate yourself is great, but change thrust upon you is sometimes less welcome. The Government’s constantly-changing tax and employment laws can muddy the business waters for the UK’s intrepid entrepreneurs, and poor access to credit and increasingly late payments from clients can make for anything but smooth sailing. So, what do you need to prepare for in 2014?

As we reported, George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was fairly lacking on the small business front, so not a huge amount will be changing straight away in the New Year – but with the 2014 Budget on the horizon more changes could be on the way shortly.

Personal tax

Without a doubt, the most pressing task (for those who haven’t done it yet) is to file your Self Assessment! HMRC are like an itch that doesn’t go away so forgetting about it will only make it worse.

In more positive news, the Government will finally achieve it’s much-promised £10,000 Personal Allowance at the start of the 2014/15 tax year.

Anti-avoidance

The ongoing debate over IR35 compliance is likely to continue well into the New Year – just last week the PCG and APSCo were before a House of Lords committee speaking about the subject. The Government looks likely to tighten rules on Personal Service Companies operating through agencies – more news on this as we get it.

Automatic Enrolment

Some employers will also need to start considering how they plan to implement Auto Enrolment pensions for employees towards the end of 2014. The Pensions Regulator recommends giving yourself six months to find a scheme and get it up and running before the date by which your company must comply. You can learn more about your “staging date” here.

Farewell Scotland?

Finally, business owners and investors alike might like to keep their ear to the ground with the upcoming referendum to decide the fate of Scotland’s unity and how this may impact their business in the long run.

Photo by Chris