About to inherit a small seasonal business, but highly inexperienced in taxation

Sgt_Pepper

Registered User
Messages
20
Hi folks,

I'm a self-employed musician for years, tax-compliant and registered as a sole trader with revenue. When I first registered I hired an accountant to take care of things and do my returns, and after seeing what was involved, more specifically after seeing on paper how the accountant arrived at his calculations, in a sense kind of reverse engineering what the accountant did, my wife decided she'd like to take it on and do it instead. Like my father, she's a natural on that front and actually likes it. They're meticulous, I'm a complete disaster. My accountant's bill was usually around 600 a year, he said my bill was low because I only had about 160 invoices to process. 160 gigs per year. Incidentally, he was always asking me to send more musicians his way - I assume it was because our line of work made things easy for him as it's so simple. You're not dealing with assets, the invoices I had in quickbooks for each gig and I'd simply forward it to him every year. He'd then tell me what I owed revenue and when to pay it. Job done. Nor was I charging VAT, I simply couldn't compete with the vast majority of musicians out there if I was. The music world is a black-market, cash-based business.

About 5 years ago my father and I set up a small hire company. I don't want to identify the line of work as it would identify me, but there are maybe 20 of us in Ireland in this line of work. It's event-related. So needless to say as both a musician and co-founder of this business, we took a massive hammering last two years due to lockdown. I played my first gig in 18 months last week, second last night so the green shoots are appearing. Normally I'd book out as a musician one year in advance with my approx 40 regulars. Right now I have 3 bookings in for the rest of this year. The pubs/clubs/venues are naturally being highly cautious right now.

The original arrangement I made with my father when we set the business up was that we'd both work at the business without taking a wage (we didn't need it as I had music income, and he has pensions & property) and when my youngest child hit junior infants, I'd take over completely. Covid messed that up completely. The business barely did 10k each summer in the last 2 years, and much of that was government subsidy via the council. If not for it, we were toast. That, and we have no debt. That really helped. Over the last 6 moths some of our major customers, also in the event industry, have hit the wall leaving us owed thousands. They could have made it through one summer of lockdown, and did, but not two. I feel nothing but sympathy for them. They were good, honest hard-working people each and every one of them.

The business is in his name, not mine. As he was over 65 he wasn't entitled to get pandemic payment, but I did as I'm registered as a self-employed musician. I'm currently, and have been since last November paying revenue back at 50 a month in a phased payment agreement i came across on their site. I've been on the pandemic payment, still am, since mid-march approx, 2020. In that time my outgoings were dramatically more than my reducing PUP. So my savings are now gone (house deposit).

However, this month the business did more in September alone than it did in the previous 6 months so I'm feeling optimistic for the first time in 2 years, even though we will go into a seasonal lockdown within a month. I know now for the first time in almost 2 years we can survive into next season. The business can pay the warehouse rent, revenue, heat & light, and insurance until our season kicks off again circa mid-march.

Not sure about accountant's bill though - that's 3k for the business annually. I may need to step up to the plate but I'm a complete disaster on bookwork that isn't kept on a computer screen and without software that doesn't do pretty much every calculation for you. If anything will run the business into the ground it'll be my inability to keep the books in proper order, inexperience on that front, and stupidity.

My question: Would a bookkeeper make more sense and cost a lot less? My father is exhausted and in his 70's, my wife and I are another covid-casualty and she wants out of marriage now and so do I these last 18 months or so. So I feel as if I'm being thrown head-first into a world I know nothing about.

Can I declare my music income through the business rather than having 2 separate sets of accounts? If I do, will I have to charge VAT as a musician? That would price me out of a lot of places.
 

Thirsty

Registered User
Messages
3,498
Crumbs that was a long post!

Others will likely have advice on VAT and related subjects.

But here's my take on your situation.

Your former wife took care of all the financial work, it's not clear from your post if she was paid for this work, so I'm guessing not.

You say you don't have the motivation to learn how to do it, and there's no one else willing or able to take it on for free.

So it's a bit like childcare, it has to be done, someone has to do it and if its not to be you then you'll have to pay someone.
 

Paul O Mahoney

Registered User
Messages
1,134
Try and make things simple, I presume you can record cash coming in and going out. You said in your post you use Quickbooks to generate invoices, well if you can do that your 40% there.

Vat is simpler than you think, charge vat on the hire company activity and when paid put that vat into a seperate bank account physically. Deduct the vat on purchases that are for the business.....difference you owe.

Keep your activity gigs and the business activity separate and Quickbooks allows this.

Alternatively just write it down, unless you're doing big money it's easy and overtime you'll learn more. If you know the business is viable you must know why, the figures are just proof of that.

Replied to wrong post.
 

Sgt_Pepper

Registered User
Messages
20
Try and make things simple, I presume you can record cash coming in and going out. You said in your post you use Quickbooks to generate invoices, well if you can do that your 40% there.

Vat is simpler than you think, charge vat on the hire company activity and when paid put that vat into a seperate bank account physically. Deduct the vat on purchases that are for the business.....difference you owe.

Keep your activity gigs and the business activity separate and Quickbooks allows this.

Alternatively just write it down, unless you're doing big money it's easy and overtime you'll learn more. If you know the business is viable you must know why, the figures are just proof of that.

Replied to wrong post.
That's the info I was looking for. Thank you, Paul. Quick question: Why a separate account for VAT?

@cremeegg - I honestly thought a bookkeeper was an unqualified accountant who had experience and knowledge in keeping the books, but not the formal qualification? Sorry, it's a new world to me.
 

Paul O Mahoney

Registered User
Messages
1,134
That's the info I was looking for. Thank you, Paul. Quick question: Why a separate account for VAT?

@cremeegg - I honestly thought a bookkeeper was an unqualified accountant who had experience and knowledge in keeping the books, but not the formal qualification? Sorry, it's a new world to me.
Simply its not your money
 

Sgt_Pepper

Registered User
Messages
20
Sorry, Paul. I've no idea how I accidentally manged to post under you name! I was trying to reply to you! Not steal your identity!
 
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