Self-employment comes with a whole load of perks, including the freedom to choose your hours and your jobs. And, let’s be honest – not having a boss breathing down your neck is pretty nice, too! But, the grass isn’t always greener, and for self-employed individuals, January each year brings the much-dreaded tax return. In the UK tax returns (self-assessment) must be completed and paid by January 31st. And, if you’re new to the world of self-employment, or simply struggle to get your head around the numbers, then it can be a pretty stressful time.
Unfortunately, we can’t remove the worry of self-assessments altogether. They’re just part and parcel of being self-employed. However, there are some surprisingly simple steps that can make self-assessments slightly less stressful. And, we’re going to consider them here!
Table of Contents – UK tax return tips to help you
Step 1: Always file early
While self-assessment deadlines land at the end of January, you can file your self-assessment anytime from April the year before. With tax systems inevitably overloaded and slow in January, and with your payments already due by then, filing at the last minute is rarely a good idea. Instead, filing as early as April, or even the summer before if it suits, allows you to sail through the online form at a much faster rate. More importantly, getting your return in early means that you’ll have much more time before your first payment is due, allowing you to get a headstart on saving for an amount that’s set in stone.
Step 2: Use an accounting app
There are now plenty of accounting apps online, and they allow you to easily store everything you need to fill out your tax return. By scanning all of your receipts throughout the tax year, and using something like this free invoice template to ensure clearly laid-out annual invoices that you can send right over, you’ll save yourself all the stress of sifting through endless piles of paperwork with a calculator come your return. Instead, your app will tell you exactly which expense and profit figures you should be entering into your return.
Step 3: Consider professional help
While it’s rarely cost-effective at the start of your self-employment journey, a successful freelance career could benefit from taking the benefits of apps even further with the help of a hired professional. When you outsource bookkeeping and your general accounting and for your UK tax return, you quite literally take the task of self-assessments off your business plate. Instead, you can send your invoices and expense receipts straight to somebody who knows every element of a tax return, and also how to ensure that you’re never paying more than you rightly need to.
Self-assessments are daunting, and they can be a worry considering that one wrongly entered field could leave you feeling the wrath of the taxman, and even fines that you may struggle to cover. Simplifying the task for your UK tax return can take a whole load of stress out of your self-employed journey, so start employing these simple techniques today to enjoy a new lease of tax life tomorrow.