NOTHING flies by us quicker than a tax year.

We celebrate Christmas and New Year and all of a sudden, the time to pay the tax bill is upon us.

For many people, considerations like this are just another part of running an entrepreneurial business.

Indeed, filing a tax return has become something of a routine for many business owners and there is almost a collective sigh of relief once it is over.

When you have a business, a busy home life and various projects to run all at once, though, it can be easy to let your finances just tick over year after year.

Especially after changes were made to personal pension limits, it is understandable to feel that the potential for forward financial planning at the end of the tax year is somewhat limited.

Not so long ago tax relief could be claimed on pension contributions of up to £255,000 a year, making pensions a perfect way for small business owners to not only manage their tax bill but maximise their retirement savings too.

That limit was reduced to £50,000 in the 2011/12 tax year, however, and has sat at £40,000 since 2014/15.

For higher earners there are fewer reliefs available, with the allowance for those with incomes of more than £150,000 being tapered since 2016/17 so that it hits a floor of just £10,000 for those earning more than £210,000.

However, while there may be a limit to what a business owner can do via their pension, there are always other options open to you with the right financial planning.

Setting aside time between now and April 5 to both manage and comprehend your finances will inevitably make January 2020 seem like a more comfortable and less daunting deadline than it has been in previous years.

Putting in the time and effort now will dictate how the next tax year looks for you and will also give you a greater feeling of control and understanding over your personal finances.

Securing ownership and control of your finances does not only benefit you for the year ahead, it will also give you the kind of know-how that will help to shape the financial future you have envisioned for yourself and your family too.

Whether that involves travelling, securing your children’s future or even just planning for your retirement, managing your finances should be at the forefront of your plans.

Reassessing your approach to tax is a great place to start.

When it comes to planning for the tax year, there are a lot more options than may at first appear to be the case.

A more intentional, considered approach is worthwhile, especially over the coming months.

Taking action before April 5 will reframe the picture of your tax year for 2020. A little bit of work can take you a long way.

For entrepreneurs there is often a temptation to leave money in the business rather than taking it as income and paying tax on it.

The problem with that approach, as we see on a regular basis, is that the money ends up becoming part of the cashflow of the business.

On the other hand, as the end of the tax year draws closer, there is a window of opportunity for business owners to make the most of valuable allowances, reliefs and exemptions in order to help reduce their personal tax bill and create some opportunities to build up a significant personal balance sheet.

There are a number of options out there, but very often the issue is one of time and the subsequent knowledge to be able to take advantage of the best route for you.

Just like running a business, a one size fits all approach does not exist when it comes to financial planning – it all depends on your personal goals and ambitions.

Ultimately, of course, unless you are a financial adviser like me, it is unlikely you will ever find tax particularly compelling.

Once you see the positive impact that careful planning can have on your business and personal finances, though, you might just change your mind.

Adrian Murphy is chief executive of Murphy Group.