Now that you’re back in the swing of things following the August holidays, you and your business partners doubtless want to get your shoulder to the wheel – to make winning new business and servicing your clients your main focus. The last thing you want to do is spend hours going through receipts from 2011. Well, tough luck.

If you’re a sole trader or partnership, or receiving non-PAYE income, you’re obliged to file an annual tax return. This, along with the payment of preliminary tax for 2012, is due on October 31 – or November 15 if you’re using the Revenue’s excellent Revenue Online Service (ROS).

For far-sighted entrepreneurs, getting ready for this should not present any great drama: these businesspeople supply a copy of their records to their accountant as soon as possible after the year ends. They do this for a few reasons: first of all, it allows an accountant to give advance warning of their tax liability, which helps prepare for this. Moreover, it gives a businessperson and his or her accountant ample time to resolve any potential issues.

So, what records should you be supplying to your accountant? Firstly, start with a full list of sales and purchase invoices for the trading period – this list should also include any credit notes (including discounts and/or returns to and from customers and suppliers) that were received in the same period. Any invoices must be in the trading name of the company or sole trader as registered with the Revenue Commissioners.

You should supply details of all lodgements to the company’s bank account for the trading period as well as customer receipts, details of bank loans and refunds. To allow for this, you should keep a record of all business bank statements for the period outlined including all credit card statements, along with all payments to suppliers including payments to trade suppliers, payments on loans, insurance, pensions and life assurance. Copies of all debtor and creditor statements showing balances due and owing from both customers and suppliers should be accessible if needed.

It’s a daunting list, but essential to containing your tax liability legitimately. It will also be important if you are selected for a Revenue audit. The Revenue Commissioners will want to see hard copy records to confirm all the information that you have in your accounting software.

At DCA accountants, we prefer to be in contact with our clients throughout the year, ensuring that they fully understand the records that have to be maintained, and making sure that they submit these records on time. We also offer a book-keeping service that enables constant communication with clients and swift resolution of issues. For that reason, our clients can look forward to a drama-free tax deadline day.

This way of working also enables us to ‘hop in’ during this hectic time and help individuals and companies that have yet to prepare their annual return. So, if you’re in this position, don’t hesitate to contact us for an initial meeting. We can help you prepare for the big deadline with a minimum of fuss, and let you get back to running your business.