Do I have to pay tax on Google Adsense commission?

pay tax on Google Adsense commission

Google Adsense is the most popular monetisation program on the internet today. It allows the owners of website, blogs, apps and other electronic media to earn money by placing adverts in strategic places. Every time an advert is clicked, Google pays a percentage commission to the affiliate. As a result, you’ll need to pay tax on Google Adsense commission.

I’ve previously written a successful article about paying tax from Amazon Associates earnings. Just like that program, if you live in the UK and are a UK taxpayer, and you earn money from Google Adsense, you’ll have a legal obligation to declare and pay tax on Google Adsense commission. This is regardless of how much (or how little) you earn from the program.

Commission – just like any other form of earnings income – it subject to Income Tax being paid where required.

I earn under my taxable income – do I still have to declare earnings from Google Adsense?

Yes. Even if you were to earn £20 in a year from Google, you’d still need to declare it to HMRC; even if you have earned under your annual taxable income.

The majority of people in the UK are currently provided the tax code 1100L, meaning that they can earn £11,000 before paying any income tax on their earnings (whether from PAYE or Self Assessment).

You might think £100 is not worth declaring, but you should always speak to HMRC if you are in any doubt. They may not require you to complete a tax return for a nominal amount but never assume.

I have a full time job that I’m paid monthly for. Do I still need to pay tax on Google Adsense commission?

Yes, you do. Just because you already pay PAYE or Self Assessment on a another job, doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from paying Income Tax on any other form of earnings.

How do I declare my earnings from Google Adsense?

You should keep a record of all earnings from any online programs that you earn money from. In my case I keep a simple Excel spreadsheet and record the date of the payment, from which company, and how much I received. I also keep a copy of the email confirmation which is sent from Google confirming how much I was paid.

If you are a Sole Trader, you’ll need to register as Self Employed with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and complete an annual tax return. If you are already a business, you’ll need to declare the earnings just like any other form of income.

You may wish to employ an accountant to complete your annual Tax Return for you. A good accountant will explain what you need to do and will usually charge between £100 and £200 per year to complete and submit your tax return.

What about National Insurance Contributions

Again, regardless of how much you earn, you may need to pay National Insurance Contributes (NIC).

However, some people may be exempt from paying NIC on small earnings. At the time of writing, the small earning threshold was £5965 [more info here].

The benefits of properly declaring and paying tax on your Google Adsense commission

There are a number of benefits of correctly declaring and paying the tax you owe. These include:

  • you are abiding by the law
  • you won’t be fined or prosecuted
  • you contribute to a fair society
  • you can claim any expenses relevant to your business, such as the cost of website hosting or software purchases required for you to go about your business

The penalties for failing to declare and pay tax on Google Adsense commission

There are penalties those who fail to declare and then pay tax on Google Adsense commission and you can be fined with interested added to any undeclared earnings. You could even be prosecuted or imprisoned.

HMRC employs many different methods to track down tax avoiders, including sophisticate software and checking of Googles accounts.

Learn more about Google Adsense

I recommend you read the book ‘How to make profit from Google Adsense‘ if you’re new to the program.

pay tax on Google Adsense commission
If you’re a UK taxpayer, you’ll need to declare and pay tax on Google Adsense commission you earn.

Do I have to pay Tax on Amazon Associates earnings?

Pay Tax Amazon Associates Earnings

If you’re a UK taxpayer and you earn money from Amazon Associates, you have a legal obligation to declare and pay tax on Amazon Associates earnings, regardless of how much you earn from the program.

Amazon Associates is an affiliate program which works by paying those who are subscribed to the program a commission for each referral they make i.e. if someone click on a link from a blog to the Amazon website and buys something, Amazon pays a small percentage to the blog owner in commission.

Commission – just like any other form of earnings – it subject to Income Tax.

But I earn under my taxable income – do I still have to declare earnings from Amazon?

Yes. Even if you earn £1 in a year from Amazon, you still need to declare it, even if you have earned under your annual taxable income.

For example, the majority of people in the UK are currently given the tax code 1100L. This means that they can earn £11,000 before paying any income tax.

You might think £100 is not worth declaring, but you should speak to HMRC if you are in any doubt.

I have a job that I’m paid monthly for. Do I still need to pay tax on Amazon Associates earnings?

Absolutely. Just because you already pay PAYE or Self Assessment on a ‘main’ job, doesn’t make you exempt from paying Income Tax on your additional earnings.

But Amazon pay me in vouchers – aren’t vouchers tax free?

No, they’re not as they have a cash value. If it was that simple many business owners would pay their staff with vouchers. In fact, you can opt in to be paid direct to your bank account with Amazon Associates but it can be expensive depending on how much you ear (you need an International Banking Number – IBAN – and your bank will charge you commission for using it).

How do I declare my earnings from Amazon Associates?

Just like any other Sole Trader or business, you should keep a record of all earnings from any online programs that you earn money from. I my case I keep a spreadsheet and record the date of the payment, who it is from and how much I was paid. I also keep a copy of the email confirmation which is sent from Amazon every time I reach the payment threshold.

If you are a Sole Trader, you’ll need to register as Self Employed with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and complete an annual tax return. If you are already a business, you’ll need to declare the earnings just like any other form of income.

You may wish to employ an accountant to complete your annual Tax Return for you. A good accountant will explain what you need to do and will usually charge between £100 and £200 per year to complete and submit your tax return.

What about National Insurance Contributions

Again, regardless of how much you earn, you may need to pay National Insurance Contributes (NIC).

However, some people may be exempt from paying NIC on small earnings. At the time of writing, the small earning threshold was £5965 [more info here].

The benefits of properly declaring and paying tax on your Amazon Associates earnings

Firstly (and probably most importantly) ensuring that you pay tax on Amazon Associates earnings means you’re abiding by the law. It also means you are fairly contributing to society in general.

Secondly, there are benefits to being registered as Self Employed. For example, you can claim expenses for certain items connected to your business, such as the cost of the domain name and hosting of your website or blog. If you pay for people to design you images for the website, or pay for Google Adwords, you can also claim these if directly associated with your business. This deductions can then be offset against your total tax liability so speak to an accountant for more advice.

The penalties for failing to declare and pay tax on Amazon Associates earnings

There are severe penalties for any who fails to declare and then pay tax on Amazon Associates earnings which is due. First of all, you’ll be fined for any income you failed to declare and you’ll have interest added. In more severe cases there is even the chance you could be prosecuted or imprisoned.

HMRC employs many different methods to track down tax dodgers, including sophisticate software.

I’ll only earn a few hundred pounds from my Amazon Associates earnings this year but will alway ensure that I include them with my Self Assessment declaration. After all, it’s really not worth risking it to avoid paying a bit of tax, is it?

Learn more about Amazon Associates

I recommend you read the book ‘Amazon Associates: a complete guide‘ if you’re new to the program. There is lots of information, hints and tips in the book.

MacBook Pro gets hot | How to keep your MacBook cool

MacBook Pro gets hot

My MacBook Pro gets hot at times, usually when I’m trying to do something which requires a lot of processing power. As I’m typing this article it’s perfectly fine, but as soon as I run iMovie or Garage Band and start doing something heavy, the Mac gets very hot, especially just above the F keys. I’ve also noticed that the black strip at the bottom of the screen also gets very warm (it’s directly in front of the air vents).

Why a MacBook Pro gets hot

Unless it’s a hardware issue, the MacBook Pro gets hot because it’s having to do a lot of things at the same time. This is a common issue with any computer equipment. In my case I know for certain that there is no hardware fault as I’ve taken the computer apart and checked.

How to prevent a MacBook Pro getting hot

Whilst you’re going to want to keep on using your Mac for producing great movies and music, you’re going to want to keep it as cool as possible. Presuming that you’ve ruled out any hardware problems, you might want to consider the following ideas for keep your MacBook cool:

  • don’t use your MacBook directly on your lap – the heat from your body will prevent it from cooling and clothing may block the air vents required for cooling
  • never use your MacBook on a duvet or bed clothes
  • use a laptop tray to place your Mac onto – you’ll also find this more comfortable when using your MacBook
  • consider buying a laptop cooling tray – they run little fans on USB power and are excellent at cooling down any laptop when it’s working hard (and they can be used as a stand)
  • make sure the air vents are clear of obstructions and dust to keep your MacBook cool
  • if you’re handy with a screwdriver, have a look at the internal fan and make sure it’s not blocked with dust as this can considerably reduce cooling capability (refer to your warranty before doing this as you may void it)
  • don’t charge the MacBook whilst carrying our processor intensive activities like watching a movie or exporting large files

The benefits of keeping your MacBook cool

Overheating computer components reduces their lifespan, so keeping you machine cool will help prolong it’s life. If you keep your MacBook cool you’ll find it lasts longer.

Cooling the components also help the processor to deal with information faster, and whilst you probably won’t notice a difference in general use, your MacBook will export videos and music much faster.

Best NAS of 2017 – Network Attached Storage comparisons

best NAS 2017

If you’re here it’s because you’ll already know the many benefits Network Attached Stoage (NAS) can bring to your home or small business, but choosing the best NAS can be a minefield. So what is the best NAS of 2017?

Editors note: to save you time you can go straight to what we believe to be the best NAS of 2017 – the Synology DS715 with 2x3TB Seagate hard drives. Not the cheapest, but the best network attached storage system pound-per-pound. It’s solid, with good firmware, excellent cloud and mobile apps and supports multiple backup methods out of the box.

How the NAS comparison works

There are many different factors to consider when buying a NAS, from storage capacity to firmware. It would be far to complicated for the majority of people if we were to go into every minute detail, so for the sake of this article, we’ve concentrated on the most common.

RAID? Cloud software? Maximum capacity Wireless capability? Works out-of-the box? Processor Read/Write speed Cost
Synology DS715

best NAS 2017

All versions Yes (including mobile apps, grouping, security and Dropbox sync) Unlimited Yes (with additional USB dongle, not supplied) Once hard disks are installed (not  included) 1.4GHz Quad Core 216.1 MB/s reading speed and 142.5 MB/s writing speed from £249
TerraMaster F2-220

RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, SINGLE No (but can be synchronised with Dropbox) 8TB No (ethernet only) Once hard disks are installed (not  included) Celeron 2.41GHz with 2GB RAM 100MB/sec from £159.99

WD My Cloud

Unknown (not advertised by manufacturer) Yes 8TB No (ethernet only) Yes Unknown Not advertised from £109
Buffalo LinkStation 200 0/1/JBOD No 4TB No (ethernet only) Yes 800MHz ARM with 236Mb RAM No clear information  provided from £95

Why we believe the DS715 is the best NAS of 2017

When comparing the NAS available it was clear that there way a huge difference in the software options available. The DS715 hosts a huge number of installable applications, including web server, media server, remote access, cloud access, databases, MySQL and PhpMyAdmin. All of these options, plus it’s dual ethernet sockets and USB 3.0 (making external hard drives another option) make it by far the best NAS of 2017 in our opinion. This is a NAS that can be used at home or for small businesses. In fact, there’s no reason a small business couldn’t completely ditch their old file server and use the DS715 as a full solution; it really is that good.

Runner up of the best NAS of 2017

The position of second best goes to the TerraMaster, which offers a lot of the options of the DS715 but on a budget. It’s reasonably fast and can be upgraded to 8TB as your data needs increase. It’s not the best NAS of 2017, but it’s definitely a runner up.

You get what you pay for

As a user of the DS715, we know how excellent the manufacturers, Synology, are at updating firmware. They are regularly releasing new security patched and updated the built-in antivirus software.

If you can afford it, go for the DS715. Unless you’re a homeowner, we recommend you avoid the Buffalo and LinStation options.

The Marmite Factor | Meaning, Origin & Example uses

The Marmite Factor

‘The Marmite Factor’ is a colloquial phrase used in the English language, mainly in the United Kingdom. It is used to explain someone or something which splits division firmly one way or the other with no middle ground.

Origin of the term ‘The Marmite Factor’

Marmite is a spread made from yeast extract (a by-product of beer brewing) which has a salty, bitter and very strong flavour. As a result, Marmite is a product which splits opinion. Most people either like or dislike Marmite; there are very few who find themselves in-between. In fact, the slogan for the product is “Love it or hate it”. It is due to this distinction that the phrase ‘The Marmite Factor’ exists.

The origin of the term is unknown, but it is a relatively modern phrase. It is believed to have been coined around the mid 1990s when Marmite launched an advertising campaign based on the love/hate perception.

Example use of ‘The Marmite Factor’

As the term is colloquial, it will often be used in conversations to describe a person. For example “Have you met the new salesman, John? He’s very Marmite”.

How to deal with cold calls in the workplace

Cold calls in the workplace can be annoying, and at worst can stop you answering the phone to genuine customers. Companies are using increasingly technical methods of getting through to the ‘right’ person, so how to deal with cold calls in the workplace?

How to deal with cold calls in the workplace

Most of the time the cold caller doesn’t actually know the name of the person they want to speak to. They’ll usually try and get the name of someone responsible for a particular role, because once they have the name, it’s much easier to get through to them in the future. Here are some scenarios and what you can do to prevent them.

“Can I speak to the person responsible for the companies energy bills please?”

We get at least one of these a day. They are almost always companies trying to get you to change your gas or electric tariff, or to get the next date of your switch so that they can hound you nearer the time.

Best way to get rid of these callers is to say “Sorry, it’s our company policy not to provide this information over the telephone”.

“Can I speak to the person responsible for the companies mobile telephones please?”

Just like the energy companies, anyone who calls you and asks this question is trying to get names and dates. Again, reply with the same response: “Sorry, it’s our company policy not to provide this information over the telephone”.

Sometimes you’ll get an aggressive seller who will ask you why not. Simply respond with “sorry, we don’t discuss that over the telephone. Feel free to write to us with any questions”.

“Before I say anything else, I just want to let you know I’m not selling anything”.

This is almost always a lie. When someone starts the call with this line, they are almost ALWAYS calling to sell you something. The moment you get any suspicion they are selling something just hang up – if they can be rude enough to lie to you about their intentions, you are entitled to repay their rudeness by handing up.

Business Telephone Surveys

These are some of the cheekiest of calls in my experience. A company calls you, want you to spend 10 to 20 minutes giving them loads of information which they will then use to sell to other companies.

If you’re not careful, your employees may give away important (sensitive) information about your organisation. Make it a policy not to answer telephone surveys and instead invite the caller to write to you.

Start a procurement system

Large organisations have a procurement system and starting your own is a great way of dealing with cold calls in the workplace.  By adding a procurement system to your new supplier processes you’ll weed the wheat from the chaff as decent companies will make the effort to fill out your forms and supply you with the information you require to consider them as a supplier. Poor quality companies will rarely bother with this process.

“But they’re only doing their job”

Of course this is true, and there’s nothing wrong with someone trying to earn money. But cold calling is a cheap and outdated method of getting  custom. It’s an old fashion version of spam email.

Decent companies invest in a long-term strategy for marketing. They invest in their sector and want to keep their customers happy. They gain new customers by recommendations and by building on quality service. Cold calling is not quality: it’s random, time-wasting and annoying.

That cold call might have just cost you money!

If you’re a small business or a sole trade, that cold caller may be holding up the telephone line from a genuine customer with money to spend. Learning to deal with cold calls in the workplace is vital to preventing you from losing money.

Thank you, Steve Hewlett – legendary present dies at 58

Steve Hewlett

I’ve just heard Eddie Mair announce to the nation’s Radio 4 listeners that Steve Hewlett died this morning at the young age of 58 after a short battle with cancer of the esophagus.

Those who listen to Radio 4’s PM program will be used to hearing Steve talk about his experience with presenter and friend Eddie Mair. It’s no secret that his treatment failed and for the last few weeks his voice has been audibly weaker.

Steve was diagnosed wih cancer around the same time at my father was diagnoised with throat cancer and learning of his death left me stunned. Luckily for me and my family, my dad looks as though he will recover in full. Sadly not the same for Steve Hewlitt’s family.

I never met Steve Hewlitt, but like thousands others I felt like I had. He had an ability to explain any situation perfectly, and elegantly. Steve Hewlett was an incredibly loved and authoritive journalist, who had a long standing career with the BBC and a great sense of humour.

“At no point did I feel the diagnoses crushing me” said Mr Hewitt during an interview with Eddie Mair when he first started to explain his journey with cancer. He hoped that his experience would help other people talk about cancer and how to deal with it. He certainly gave a very descriptive account of how he was treated which many cancer sufferers will related to.

Steve Hewlett’s voice was unmistakeable. He will be missed. His family has asked that any donations be made to the Royal Marsden Hospital, where Steve was treated.

Lima Cloud Storage Review | Could be much better

Lima Cloud

Lima cloud has been touted as the next best thing for those looking at a cloud solution on a budget. So is this new cloud solution really as good as it sounds?

The manufacturers of Lima, Lima Technology Inc., claim that Lima will “will protect your files and make them available to you on all your devices remotely”. The device was produced using a kickstarter campaign

However, after hundreds of reviews on Amazon, it appears Lima isn’t as straight forward to use as the manufacturers would have you believe. In fact, on the day of writing this post, 39% of reviews gave Lima just one star. Common complaints including the device failing to recognise drives, poor customer service from Lima and connection failures.

Advantages of Lima

  • one-off cost with no monthly subscription
  • your data is kept by you, so no chance of data mining
  • easy to upgrade storage capacity
  • Apple Air Play and Google Chromecast compatible
  • it’s small

Disadvantages of Lima

  • there is only one backup of your files (unlike more expensive cloud solutions which offer two hard-disks working as a RAID solution)
  • if the hard drive connected to your Lima is damaged, the files are unlikely to be irretrievable
  • No support for Linux

Suspicious advertising?

When I first looked into Lima cloud, the official website claimed that the waiting list was already 97% full and I needed to enter my email address quickly or risk losing the chance to sign up “due to high demand”. Meretriciously, the next day I received an email telling me I was one of the lucky people that had been selected to buy Lima. Two weeks on, the website still says the same. Mmmm……

I’m also concerned about some of the claims made by the manufacturers on the Amazon page. One selling point of the device claims “both your computer & smartphone can hold up several terabytes!”. Actually, that not true. Whilst your phone may have access to terabytes of data (subject to the size of the hard drive you attach) your phone doesn’t actually store the data; it just retrieves it.

Summary

At $99 Lima seems expensive, especially for the problems that many users have reported. The concept is good, but Lima doesn’t seem ready for prime time just yet.

To truly improve, the company will need to up its game in terms of customer service. An additional USB port to allow RAID would also be an improvement as would wifi capability.

My recommendation

Whilst more expensive, Synology offer some of the best NAS devices with cloud storage available. The hardware is quality, especially when combined with Western Digital Red hard drives. The apps are all very stable and the software provided is top quality.

Expensive, yes. But then when you consider the price of your data, how much is too much?

On a budget? Then check out the WD 3TB personal cloud solution.

Is your child a Gadget Gremlin?

Gadget Gremlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first experienced my child turning into a Gadget Gremlin when he was around 7 years old and wrote about why it is important to limit your child’s screen time. His grandparents had bought him a gift of a Nintendo DS for Christmas. My wife wasn’t too keen on the idea what with him being so young, but I thought it was important that he had some kind of experience with the technology which would surround him as he grew into a young adult. However, we quickly began to notice a pattern of bad behaviour when he was separated from it.

What is a Gadget Gremlin?

A Gadget Gremlin is a child or young person who usually displays good, placid behaviour, but who turns angry, violent or rude when removed from technology. Such as technology includes (but is not limited to) tablets, games consoles, cell or mobile phone or PC’s.

What causes a child to turn into a Gadget Gremlin?

The exact cause of bad behaviour as a result of technology withdrawal isn’t fully understood, but there are lots of studies which have show that the brain can experience similar withdrawal that to drugs.

One study found that students could experience “symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to go cold turkey” when turning off mobile phones, avoiding the internet and tuning out of the television. The doctor in charge of the study, Dr Gerodimos of Bournemouth University, believes that technology is changes the way our brains work and rely on it.

Technology may be damaging your child’s development

There’s no doubt that advancements in technology can be extremely useful, but can also have a detrimental effect on your child. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you may already have a Gadget Gremlin in your home:

  • does your child cry, scream or hit out after being removed from technology?
  • is it difficult to get your child to participate in exercise?
  • does your child often wake up during the night to play electronic games or watch online videos?
  • has your child ever wet/soiled themself before making it to the toilet whilst playing on a games consol or compute?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, you have already have a child addicted to technology

How you can avoid raising a Gadget Gremlin

There are a number of steps that you can take to prevent your child becoming a Gadget Gremlin. These include:

  • limiting your child’s use of technology, perhaps to 1 hour a day (there are many applications with can help with this including Microsoft Family and Norton Family)
  • banning your child from technology for at least 3 days if they display bad behaviour when withdrawn from it (following through with a punishment is vital)
  • ensuring that your child is only using content relevant to their age group (allowing a 10 year old to play 18 rated games is asking for trouble – they are rated for a reason)
  • ensuring that you know what your child is doing online at all times

Controlling your child’s use of technology will undoubtedly result in improvements in their behaviour. This is something that me and many friend have experienced with our own children.

Do you have any advice or tips to prevent Gadget Gremlins? They new sure to leave them in the comments below…and good luck!

Grain Brewery Slate review | Possibly the best porter ever produced

Grain Brewery Slate review

Last night my wife and I visited a new real ale pub for us, the Old New Inn in Colchester. It was a first time at that pub and our first time trying Grain Brewery beers. Introduce Grain Brewery Slate – which might just be the best porter ever produced.

I realise that’s quite a claim, especially given the competition from beers such as Old Growler, so beer with me here (yes, a deliberate typo).

Grain Brewery Slate has some serious things going on.

What the brewery say about Slate

I’m always a bit nervous about discussing brewery tasting notes. It kind of makes me feel like the brewery is telling you want you should taste, and lets be honest, taste is very subjective. There are a lot of people who will tell you they’re experts in real ale tasting, but fact is half of them are waffling.

Grain describe Slate as “A deep, dark and rich smoked porter, brewed with a complex blend of malts”.

What I say about Slate

Actually, the first thing I could taste was a subtle undertone of chocolate. If anything, the smokiness took a back seat. But the thing that struck me the most about Grain Brewery Slate was how smooth it was. I didn’t remember to get a photo of the pint (too busy raving about it!), but it had a very slight head to it which seemed to have appeared naturally, rather than because of how it was poured. Almost like the crema on a decent cup of coffee. Yes it had the malty flavours (what porter doesn’t) but this one was so complex with so many different flavours coming through; like no porter I’ve ever drunk before.

At 6% it might be a little be stronger than some might like, but with decent ABV comes great flavour. The pint was at the perfect temperature, too. Not too cold.

Grain Brewery Slate might just be the best porter ever produced

To me, this porter was perfection in a glass. It has everything I look for in a porter and more. I’m not a fan of smokey drinks, and this one was nthing to be scared of. I just can’t explained strongly enough how smooth this beer is. If you like the black stuff, you need to try this.