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Simple guide to your financial accounts as a personal trainer

Guide to your financial accounts as a personal trainer

When your self employed getting your finances sorted early so they are clear and accurate is important and will save you a lot time and stress when you need to sort out your TAX.

It is simple to keep track of your income and expenditure and calculate how much TAX to pay.

Accountant

This is a simple guide for self employed personal trainers’, I am by no means an accountant though so I thoroughly recommend speaking to an accountant or TAX advisor.

Why is it so simple?

Tax is confusing right? Well no, they keep it simple so we are able to pay it easily. Having an accountant can be very useful and they can and will save you money but for personal trainers it really is a simple bit of calculation:

Money in – money spent = Profit

You only pay Tax on your profit.

Money in = any income in your business and interest in your bank on your income.

Money spent = any money your spend on your business, this includes fuel and car charges, branded clothing, Personal training equipment, promotional costs, website costs etc…

Getting started with your personal training accounts

4 simple things to do to keep track of your accounts and make them simple:

1. Open a business account

I recommend starting a business account with your local bank, as it makes it very easy to separate your income and work expenses from your personal life.

2. Keep your receipts

I also recommend getting a folder or box for all your expenses and also keeping a note of any business expense. You must keep receipts for all your expenses.  If you write these down as you go you will be able to easily write them up, you really won’t remember any minor expenses in 6 months time, and these quickly add up and can save you a lot of money.

3. Keep a clear and up to date diary

Make sure if you have a cancelation, you take this out of your diary, otherwise when you come to do your accounts you will be counting income for sessions you never received an income for.

4. Write up your accounts monthly

This is a big one, but it makes such a huge difference. If you write up your accounts on a monthly basis. It is a very small Job, maybe 1 hour a month. It makes it incredibly simple at the end of a financial year to compile your accounts. Also importantly you will know how much money you have earned, and be able to spot accurately if you need to work harder, or give yourself a pat on the back.

The financial year, and when to pay your tax?

I always forget this and for some strange reason it seems confusing.

The financial year starts on April the 6th to April the 5th the following year. You can however adopt any dates for your financial year, but that really does add an unnecessary complexity to things.

The relative confusing part for me is, when do I have to pay my tax?

Again it’s simple:

Lets use 2010 because it is a round number. If I start my business in June 2010, I need all my tax records from April 6th 2010, until April the 5th 2011. You now have until 31st of October 2011 for a paper tax return or 31st of January 2012 for an online tax return.

Expenses explained

Expenses can seem confusing but it is very simple. I will explain what I have been told on a course on this subject:

Expenses like fuel, your phone costs and a home office or computer can be used for personal use so you need to calculate the percentage used for your work.

I was recommended (by a free HMRC course) taking a month of each bill and calculating a percentage of use for your work, for example:

(100 / Total miles driven in a month) x  total work miles driven = percentage of work use for your car.

(100/ 50)* 40 = 80% work use.

So I would count 80% of my total car costs for the year as expenses, including Road tax, insurance, AA cover etc….

Direct business expenses like personal training equipment, and personal training clothing can also be claimed.  Clothing must however be branded so it is clearly a business expense. Check out our clothing shop if you are looking for some branded personal training clothing.   This can be found at;

http://www.ptgear.co.uk/pt_clothing/

So this is also a good excuse to by some cool personal training equipment.

Direct business costs can include, leaflets, business cards and stationary however, this  can seem like  a very grey area so I recommend if unsure about working it out consult a tax advisor.

Submitting your tax return

I am always massively relieved when I have completed this. It is also really simple.

This can be done either online or by paper.

It can be done online at:

https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/login?GAREASONCODE=-1&GARESOURCEID=SaAAll&GAURI=https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/self-assessment/&Reason=-1&APPID=SaAAll&URI=https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/self-assessment/

Or by post, you can pick up from the post office and also pay at the post office. However the government really does prefer the online method which I agree with, it’s very simple.

Useful links and information

The government is extremely helpful, read this page to answer any questions in more detail:

courseshttp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/saemployees/faq/faqsendtaxreturnback.shtml

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.l1=1073858808&r.s=tl&topicId=1073859209

Free courses; the business link provides a lot of free courses, I found there TAX course very useful:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/event?r.l1=1074400185&r.li=1084115528&r.pp=12&r.s=p

Important! This article is just advice and I can accept no responsibility for any of the advice given. Please make sure if you are unsure about anything TAX related to ask a qualified accountant, or tax advisor