Basis of assessment ― opening years

By Tolley
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The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Basis of assessment ― opening years
  • When has the trade commenced?
  • The first year
  • The second year
  • Computing the amounts to tax
  • The third year

When has the trade commenced?

A trade commences when the main trading activity starts. There may have been earlier activity in preparation to trade, but this is pre-commencement work. For example, a new trader may hire some staff, acquire some premises and set up supplier and customer contracts before the actual manufacturing activity commences. The commencement date for tax purposes of this trade is the date that the actual activity began, ie the date that the manufacturing started. This rule was given in the case of the Birmingham and District Cattle By-Product Company.

ITTOIA 2005, s 199; Birmingham and District Cattle By-Product Company [1919] 12 TC 92 (subscription sensitive)

In determining when somebody starts trading, you must look for the main activity. For example, a shopkeeper will start to trade on the day he first opens his doors to the public, or an accountant may start to trade when he is first available to accept work. The actual commencement date will depend on the facts in each individual case. For HMRC guidance on commencement, see BIM80505 onwards.

The rules for basis periods apply equally to businesses using the simplified cash basis. See the Simplified cash basis for small businesses guidance note.

See also Simon’s Taxes B1.602–B1.604 (subscription sensitive).

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