The Life Hack That Can Actually Save You Thousands In Income Tax

If you’re reading this article then you probably already realise that the world of working has changed dramatically in the last 24 months. The Great Resignation and other similar trends all stem from the principle that individuals want greater freedom and flexibility. One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is through remote working.

When the Internet first came into existence, few could have accurately predicted the impact it would have on work. Today, just as business is carried out globally, so too is employment. A company can be based in Malta whilst employing or engaging with remote workers in India, Australia, the US, and all other parts of the globe.

The possibility and acceptance of remote working in today’s economies have made work more efficient than ever before. The goal is no longer to fill up eight hours of work, but rather to complete a task effectively within as little time as possible. This change in mentality, coupled with increased automation and changing priorities, is the reason why an estimated 80% of jobs in 2030 did not exist as recently as 2017.

If you’re a freelancer or remote worker you need to think like a business

The global pandemic has given rise to an exceptional number of new self-employed persons. These can be described using a number of popular terms, including freelancers and digital nomads. Their roles include software development, data analysis, consultancy, influencing, and a whole host of other primarily online-based activities.

If you are one such individual, then it is vital that you realise that you are running a fully-fledged business. You might not have employees or an office, however, you do have rights and obligations that apply to all businesses. One of these obligations is, of course, paying taxes.

What’s the most efficient way to pay less tax?

Depending on where you reside, you may or may not have heard of Malta’s attractive tax rate for qualifying business entities. By fulfilling a number of criteria, your business will be able to take advantage of a flat, 5% tax rate on its annual profits. You will also have the opportunity to apply for the Malta Digital Nomad Visa.

NM Group has designed special packages that cater to individual and small businesses that are looking for advantageous tax structures. As a licensed corporate service provider (CSP), we can handle all the necessary administration necessary to register a suitable corporate structure in Malta, allowing you to benefit from one of the world’s lowest corporate tax rates.

Get in touch with one of our representatives to learn more about how Malta is welcoming digital nomads and freelancers from all corners of the world.

The 2022 Budget: How will it affect your business?

The newly announced measures for Malta’s 2022 budget introduce a number of new incentives, as well as grant extensions to existing schemes for businesses.

Here’s a breakdown of the most salient 2022 Budget incentives:

New Business Initiatives

  • Part-time workers’ tax rate will be reduced to 10% tax rate from 15%. 
  • In terms of capital investment, a rental subsidy incentive will be extended to a larger number of businesses, while other incentives will be offered to attract enterprise investment through the Change to Grow and Smart & Sustainable Investment schemes.
  • Companies with unused capital allowances for 2020 or 2021 due to pandemic-induced losses will be eligible for a tax reduction benefit.
  • Malta Enterprise will be working with the Malta Residency Agency to offer the Start-Up Residence Permit to offer a visa package for Non-EU start-up entrepreneurs.

VAT interest

  • Interest on unpaid VAT is set at 7.2% rate, and on exception will only be waived in line with the law.

Stamp duty

  • Anyone passing on a family business to a relative will only pay 1.5% in stamp duty on the transfer, reduced from 5%.

Extension of business schemes

  • The SME Tailored Facility by the Malta Development Bank will be extended to include green and sustainable projects. SMEs will be provided aid when diversifying into more green practices.

Assistance for the arts industry

  • As of 2022, individuals working in the arts, culture and entertainment sectors shall benefit from a income tax rate of 7.5%,  calculated on a 3-year average period.
  • A €1 million guarantee fund will be set up for artistic events so that producers and promoters can recover their costs when unexpected restrictions are introduced.

Tax rebate cheque

  • Following the success of the previous year’s handout, the Government will be once again gifting workers on the lowest incomes with a €140 cheque (previously €95), while those in the top category, earning up to €60,000 will get a refund of €60.

Cost of living allowance increase

  • A €1.75 weekly wage increase will be given as a cost of living adjustment. This also applies to pensioners in full and pro-rata to students.

Want to learn more about how a particular development will be affecting your business? Get in touch today to speak to one of our advisors!

A Simple Guide To Filling Your TA-22 Form

Filing your taxes can be one of the most intimidating aspects of running your own business, whether you’re full-time or part-time self-employed.

For the 2020 tax year, the deadline of submission of the TA-22 form is 30th April 2021.

Not sure about where to start? No need to panic – we’re breaking down each section of the form to help you fill it out.

Part 1: The Basics

The form starts out easy enough! Here you can fill in your basic details.

When filling out this section, keep in mind that:

  • Your address should be the same as the one on your I.D.
  • Type of business refers to the service you offer, e.g. retail, legal services, business consultancy
  • The PE (Permission to Employ) number applies to individuals who employ others within their business. If you work alone, you can leave this field blank.
  • Part-time and full-time self-employed individuals cannot operate a business without being VAT registered. VAT registration is easy, get in touch with our advisors for more information.

Part 2: Profit and Loss

This is the section that often causes the most distress for individuals filling out the TA 22 form.

As a part-time self-employed individual you are due to pay 15% tax on the net profit brought in within that tax year.

This means that you have to take the total turnover of the relevant tax year (in this case it’s 2019), and deduct your 2019 expenses to find your net profit. There are three steps to finding out your net profit:

Step 1: Calculating your gross profit

This step can have two processes, depending on the type of business you run; it is a 1-step process for service businesses or a 2-step process for businesses dealing with stock (e.g. retail, manufacturing, construction).

So, if your business involves buying stock, this is where you take your total turnover and deduct costs related to stock purchasing; this will leave you with your gross profit.

This section can be confusing for service-based businesses that do not incur any expenses related to stock. If you run a service-based business and do not incur expenses related to stock, then all you need to do is put down your annual turnover in box 1, cross out boxes 2-6, and put down your annual turnover as your gross profits in box 7.

Pro tip: When entering your turnover, ensure that the amount is the same as the turnover reported to the VAT department in your VAT return.

Step 2: Calculating your expenses

The expenses are self-explanatory, but do keep in mind that expenses related to trading activity may include:

  • Stationery and office supplies
  • Depreciation of your car
  • Work travel
  • Advertising and promotion
  • and much more!

This part may seem straightforward, however there are probably a number of incurred expenses that you may not be aware of. Our advisors are available to help you identify tax-deductible expenses and ensure that you are paying the least tax possible while remaining completely compliant.

You’ve probably heard about people saving receipts for tax purposes, and this process is exactly why! It’s at this point that you have to gather all your receipts and sort them according to the above categories to help you calculate your expenses.

Part 3: Signing Off

Once you’ve confirmed that your calculations are correct and accurate, this last section requires your signature and an indication of how you will be submitting your tax payment.

Payment can be done by:

Do you require further assistance with your TA 22 form? Get in touch today and our advisors will ensure you get your payment in time by 30th April 2021!

Start-ups: here’s why your accountant is your new best friend

When you’re an entrepreneur burning the midnight oil to turn your dream into a business reality, you’ve got a lot on your mind. You’re busy sorting the legal side of things, filling out that TA-22 form and getting all your paperwork in order, finding the talent you need to get things up and running, getting your marketing plan together to get the word out – the list goes on. Hiring an accountant can wait until you reach the SME stage, right?

Well, not quite. In my 15 years working in Malta’s accounting sector, I can’t begin to tell you how many promising start-ups I’ve seen take quite a costly tumble because they’ve tried to handle all their own accounting without the know-how. While most recover, there is a very real risk of not only stunting your company’s growth but stopping it completely. Outsourcing your accounting early on can save you money and stress in the short term, while helping you carve out fresh opportunities that’ll carry you forward long term. Let’s take a closer look at why your accountant is actually far more than that. 

Find funding opportunities

Your accountant will have their fingers firmly on the pulse of any local and EU funding opportunities that you can take advantage of, and that kind of cash injection early on can be what propels your start-up into success. They won’t just know about all the latest funding initiatives out there – they’ll have the industry knowledge you need to expertly navigate all the bureaucracy and sail through to approval. Minimal stress for you, maximum results for your business. 

Take the Business Consultancy Services Grant Scheme, for instance. While it’s not difficult to understand what it’s all about, you need someone in the know to guide you through the specifics. Are you eligible? Do you have everything you need to apply for it? When’s the next submission deadline? And so on and so forth. Having a trusted accountant by your side to guide you through the jargon jungle can be a lifesaver. 

Solid business strategy

I think I can speak for all the certified professionals at NM Group when I say that when it comes to the business world, we’ve seen and done it all, and that’s an experience we can share that goes beyond facts and figures. It’s a real boon to have someone on hand to offer insights on your overall strategy, especially when you’re still laying the foundations for your business. You can’t plan for the future without knowing your finances inside and out, and you can’t do that properly without an accountant by your side to tell you what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past.

When your weekly calendar is bursting with meetings, to-dos, high-priority asks and ten Zoom calls on top of that, it can be hard to find time to sit down and think about your long-term vision and what steps you need to take to get there. The last thing anyone wants to do at the end of a long day is go through an ocean of facts and figures – but then, that’s what your accountant is there for! They’ll take all that daunting data and give you a top-level view of it all that you can use to inform your business decisions going forward. You can even go to your accountant for advice on what you need to do financially to get where you need to be, and how long it’ll take to get there. 

Make sure you’re compliant

Rule number one of a successful start-up: make sure you’re compliant from day one. This is perhaps the most crucial part of the process that a qualified accountant can help you with because it can have long-lasting repercussions on your finances – and your reputation. You need to know what kind of company you should register as, do the mountains of due diligence required, sort out your VAT registration, carry out audits, and all this while you’re sorting out payroll and monthly expenses. 

The bottom line is this: failing to comply with compliance can lead to a crippling fine – and in some cases, jail time. Don’t skimp on it!

So here’s my advice to the get-up-and-go entrepreneurs out there: buddy up with an accountant and work together hand in glove to plan for the future of your start-up. Simply put, your business is your baby, and it’s worth considering your money-minded friend as the Mary Poppins of the nanny world. Outsourcing your accounting needs is cost-effective and can give you the inside track on what’s happening in the world of funding and finance.

To find out more about how a qualified accountant can help your start-up really take off, get in touch on [email protected] – let’s chat!

The 2021 Budget: How will it affect your business?

The newly announced measures for Malta’s 2021 budget introduce a number of new incentives, as well as grant extensions to existing schemes for businesses.

Here’s a breakdown of the most salient 2021 Budget incentives:

Covid-19 Business Support Measures

⁃ The wage supplement has been extended until March 2021 (same form maintained until the end of the year), will then be revised in 2021.

⁃ Another round of €100 vouchers will be available from Jan 2021, in denominations of €10 and €15. Share to be used in retail shops has been increased to €40.

Increase on VAT-exemption threshold

The threshold for VAT exempt businesses will go up to €30,000 from €20,000

Extension of business schemes

Extension and continuation of Malta Enterprise Schemes such as Micro Invest, Business Development and Continuity Scheme, Research & Development 2020 Scheme, the R&D Feasibility Study Scheme and the Business Start Scheme will be extended.

Innovation Projects Scheme to be launched

Malta Enterprise will be launching a scheme to support innovation projects by companies employing less than 50 employees, whereby they can claim up to 50% of their expenditure (with a maximum of €200,000).

Assistance for start-ups & tourism industry

The government will be introducing schemes to help business start-ups, to encourage online business, and to help firms attract new foreign investment.  Assistance will also be given in the tourism sector for marketing.

Extra day of leave

All workers in Malta will now be entitled to an extra day of leave, bringing the total leave time to 28 days per annum.

Grants for agriculture

Government grants will be awarded to farmers and fisherman, equivalent to what they pay in tax on sales at the vegetable and fish markets.  

Extension of tax concession on transfer of business

1.5% tax concession on transfer of business has been extended for another year.

First-time buyers scheme & Property donations

The first time buyers scheme for reduced tax on property value has been extended from €175,000 to €200,000. Taxes on property donations are now tax exempt now on the first €250,000.

New saving bonds

The government is also planning to issue new savings bonds with favourable interest rates, specifically targeting savers aged over 62.

Tax rebate cheque

Following the success of the previous year’s handout, the Government will be once again gifting workers on the lowest incomes with a €95 cheque (previously €68), while those in the top category, earning up to €60,000 will get a refund of €45.

Cost of living allowance increase

A €1.75 weekly wage increase will be given as a cost of living adjustment. This also applies to pensioners in full and pro-rata to students.

Want to learn more about how a particular development will be affecting your business? Get in touch today to speak to one of our advisors!

6 Things You Couldn’t Do Before Cloud Accounting

It’s difficult to comprehend just how much cloud accounting has revolutionised the finance sector and empowered businesses to take control of their profits and losses.

Accounting is no longer all data entry, spreadsheets, and chasing debtors. With smooth integrations, user permissions and process automation, cloud accounting allows you to manage your finances securely and with ease.

Here are six essential things enabled by cloud accounting that previously, or with outdated software and processes, would prove extremely challenging.

Automate invoices, reporting, and communication

Accountants and finance staff are skilled employees, but half of their time can be spent manually gathering data from disparate systems, putting together invoices, and sending friendly (and sadly, sometimes unfriendly) reminders to debtors.

Cloud accounting allows you to set up simple process flows and automations to ensure all the essential data is being gathered, documented, and reported on. That could be anything from an invoice being generated and sent, to a bill being paid. And once you’ve set it up, that process is in place permanently going forward. It can save hours out of a week, which is a huge resource boost.

What’s more, you can even integrate your software with different systems, such as payroll and HR, to ensure all your payslips and tax documents are generated automatically and with data from the source. The margin for error is lower, and it takes a fraction of the time.

Access essential data any time, any place

It’s now more important than ever to have remote access to essential systems and data. We’ve seen that storing files in on-premise software, or in your local computer drive, can really slow you down when you need to access that information on the go, or when working from home.

If the name didn’t make it clear, cloud accountancy works in the cloud, meaning all you need is a username and login (and perhaps a whitelisted IP address for security) to access all the tools and data you’d have in the office.

Have full visibility on security and data change

A common misconception is that cloud services carry greater security risks. This makes some sense, as in theory all you need to access extra-sensitive financial information in the cloud is a username and password. 

The reality is that cloud services give you better visibility on security and any changes to data, as everything is happening up there in the cloud.

With on-site systems, there’s usually a crossover between the system and locally stored files, meaning data can be manipulated, copied, or exported without the system even knowing. Cloud services see every login with a timestamp and location, what the user is doing, and any changes they make. You can even restrict access to specific times and locations, and exclude a user if they take certain actions.

Dictate user permissions

Just because you want someone to be able to access your finances doesn’t mean you want them to see everything. Cloud accounting sets you up with user permissions, so you can determine just how much autonomy you want a user to have. 

They could be a fully-fledged user, able to import, export, and make whatever changes they wish. They could be a technical user, looking to set up integrations and workflows but with no business seeing the financials. Or they could be a report-only user, who sees the information that’s been added to their dashboard but nothing else. These user permissions add an extra layer to your security and make sure people can only work with what’s relevant to their role.

Collaborate with third parties

If you’re working with a third-party such as an accountancy firm, you want them to have all the information they need but nothing more. The information needs to be read-only, and presented in a way that allows them to do their job efficiently and without margin for error.

Cloud accounting allows you to give access to nominated third parties, who can either log in to your system via a web portal, or be granted authorisation for your data to automatically integrate with their system. The benefit is that this process is happening automatically and gradually; there isn’t a scramble to get your accounts together on time, as they’re being built consistently, cleanly, and compliantly throughout the year.

Pay as a subscription

One of the challenges when approaching any software implementation is the cost, particularly with on-premise systems, which often require a large initial outlay to get the product up and running.

The benefit of cloud accounting is that these are often SaaS (software as a service) products, subscription services that allow you to ramp your functionality and costs up and down based on your needs. You could be a one-person business with a need for only one license, or a large outfit with a team of finance staff; you only pay for what you use, and that’s billed monthly. This lack of initial outlay makes it much easier to get a budget, as well as buy-in from your senior management team.

Cloud accounting streamlines and centralises all your accounting processes into one easy-to-use web service, making it easy to control access, reporting, and security of all your sensitive financial data. To learn more about cloud accounting and how it could transform your business, contact NM Group.

Cloud Accounting: The Way Forward In Covid Times

Change is inevitable. We need to embrace it.

If there’s one thing Covid has taught us, it’s that. And though all there is to say about Covid has been said, this particular lesson stands out more than anything.

So, what are we going to do about it? And, by we, I don’t just mean NM. 

Entrepreneurs, business people, employees, clients, accountants – how are we going to deal with this seemingly everlasting change?

The first step, while obvious, is perhaps the hardest. Acceptance.

Things are changing in the working world and we need to embrace that. How? Let’s start with remote working.

This has been a massive pain point with many local businesses. How can you track progress if you can’t keep an eye on your team? How will you maintain a positive relationship with your clients if you can’t chat over an espresso before a meeting?

Before we tackle those questions, let’s look back at the challenges we faced a few short years ago.

How did you cope with dial-up internet, or having to order a taxi by telephone? You painstakingly went through the motions, until a better solution came along.

Well, that solution is here, and it’s called cloud accounting.

Why is cloud accounting important?

You may be wondering how cloud accounting and remote working are related. Especially if you’re not an accountant. Well, every business needs accounting, and as we all start to move toward working remotely, having the ability to manage your finances remotely is crucial.

Remote working is not just about working away from the office – it’s about being able to work effectively in a team from anywhere. Thanks to software like Google Drive, Zoom, and Xero, remote work is more accessible than ever.

Every business owner worth their salt knows that there is power in numbers, and the more information you have about those numbers, the more you can achieve.

What happens when you don’t embrace change

The worst has already happened – a global pandemic has completely disrupted our lives, the economy and our work. So let’s take a look at our new normal.

Scenario A:

In spite of everything, John is still going into the office every day – an empty office nonetheless as employees are working from home. John is reviewing a now defunct business strategy and needs an analysis of the company’s profit and loss for the past six months.

John reaches out to his accounts clerk, hoping to get a reply within the hour. Except that the accounts clerk is currently in a 2 hour long queue waiting for a swab test after finding out that a child at his daughter’s school has been diagnosed with covid. John then reaches out to his accountant for some rough figures. His accountant has 4 clients requesting the same information – John will have to wait 3 days to get the information he needs.

John is officially stuck. Sucks to be John.

This next scenario will be much shorter. 

Scenario B:

Francesca is in her home studio running a stocktake. While orders are doing well, she’s aware that cash flow could be under threat in a flash and wants to ensure she spends wisely over the next few months. 

With a swipe and a quick tap, Francesca opens the Xero app on her device and reviews her upcoming orders, the profit and loss of the past year, and checks her pending invoices and billing to predict her cashflow for the next couple of weeks.

Having a clear idea of her financial standing, Francesca works out a calculation, shoots an email to her accountant to ensure it’s correct, and goes onto the next task on her to-do list.

Francesca may be at home, but her business is on the move.

Cloud accounting is perfect for small businesses

Effective financial planning and accounting underpins the growth and profitability of all small businesses. In fact, cloud accounting is based on the principle that small businesses are highly sensitive to shifts in their balance sheet and cash flow. Having the ability to monitor financial performance in real-time and plan ahead is crucial. 

So not only do your accounts become instantly accessible, but Xero also automates certain steps of the accounting process, eliminating human error while giving you a fantastic insight into your business.

This insight is invaluable, and it could be at your fingertips in no time.

NM Group is a Xero Champion partner. For more information drop us a line.

How To Recover VAT on Foreign Expenses In 3 Steps

How often have you let VAT go unclaimed when making purchases through foreign vendors? It’s no secret that collecting foreign VAT can become a real chore that isn’t entirely worth your time.

That said, why should you lose out on precious money that you have a right to claim back just because the system is flawed?

This is where we come in. We’ve implemented an online system which automates this process of claiming money which was previously lost.

Using the most advanced technology to maximise your VAT recovery while operating internationally, this helps to collect VAT incurred most often for Travel Expenses and Supplier Invoices.

So in case of travel expenses, if you visited a conference or had meetings abroad in 2019, you’re entitled to claim back VAT on expenses related to accommodation, conference tickets, transportation and entertainment.

All you have to do to benefit from this service is

  1. Register your interest with us
  2. Gather and submit all your receipts to us
  3. Let us know where you’d like to receive your refund.

And then we’ll do all the rest! The best part is that there’s no fixed fee for this – we simply charge a small commission on the amount recovered.

Contact us today to register for an information session with us

The 2020 Budget: How will it affect your business?

Now that we know what’s in store for Malta’s 2020 budget, the core question many business owners are wondering is, ‘how will these new proposals and developments affect my business?’

In this blog post we will be reviewing the top new government incentives that will have an impact on your business and how it’s run.

Extra day of leave

All workers in Malta will now be entitled to an extra day of leave, bringing the total leave time to 216 hours per annum.

Tax rebate cheque

Following the success of last year’s handout, the Government will be once again gifting anyone earning under €60,000 with a tax rebate cheque – with the amount being proportionate to the gross income.

Separate tax returns for married couples

Sure to affect business owners and employees alike, married couples will now be able to file tax returns independently.

Intra-family business share transfers

Originally introduced in 2017, the reduced intra-family transfer duty rate of 1.5% has been extended to last through 2020.

Reduced tax rate of 15% on overtime

Employees will be taxed 15% on the first 100 hours of overtime, provided they are on €20,000 basic salary and do not hold a managerial position.

Cost of living allowance increase

A €3.49 weekly wage increase will be given as a cost of living adjustment. This also applies to pensioners in full and pro-rata to students.

€3.51 per week increase in pensions

A weekly increase of €3.51 will apply to pensioners as of 2020.

Want to learn more about how a particular development will be affecting your business? Get in touch today to speak to one of our advisors!