Adventures in micro-business: Company cars provide fuel for thought

Each month Professor Russell Smith answers your queries, and profiles a small business facing a big challenge


Q My small business provides me with a company car. Is it advantageous for me to have all fuel paid for by the business as well?

A From 6 April 2008, the cost of providing fuel free of charge for company cars goes up by more than 17 per cent. However, you should speak with your accountant about what would be best, since that advice must take into account you as the employee together with you as the business owner.

Q I started my own business last year. When do I need to start thinking about pension schemes?

A Immediately! Start by learning more about pension schemes and benefits from the Government's Pension Service website (http://www.thepensionservice.gov.uk">www.thepensionservice.gov.uk). Then speak with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) – your accountant will be able to suggest one local to you. IFAs are not linked to schemes from one supplier and can therefore recommend the right one for your specific needs. It would also be sensible to look at insurance options at the same time. Many small business owners are under-insured: remember that an accident or an illness could prevent you from working and hence generating revenue from your business. In addition, "Key Person" insurance could provide money for your business if you were unable to work – money that could be used to hire a temporary replacement for you. Your accountant will be able to advise on these issues and recommend a good insurance broker.

Q I have just turned 50 and have always wanted to run my own business. Have I left it too late?

A Absolutely not. An increasing number of people in your age group are starting businesses, partly for lifestyle reasons and partly to generate additional income to supplement pensions. PRIME is a registered charity that runs a national scheme designed to help anyone over 50 to start a business. Download the "Working for yourself" booklet from their website as a good starting point (www.primeinitiative.org.uk). In addition, visit their business club website (www.primebusinessclub.com) for more information about how people in the same situation as you have started businesses. PRIME also runs seminars around the country that are well worth attending – call their helpline number (0800 783 1904) for further details.



Q I work as a part-time employee in my daughter's business but my son would like me to become a director of his new company. Can I be an employee and a director at the same time?

A There is nothing to stop you holding both positions. Assuming that your son intends to pay you as a director then you will need to decide which employer – your daughter or your son – represents your "main source" of employment and let your tax office know. It would be sensible to have this dealt with by the accountant acting for your daughter's business since she is your current employer.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor