Top tips for freelancers about to self-assess

It’s time to dust off those old invoices, bank statements and expenses receipts. That’s right – the season of self-assessing with HM Revenue & Customs is upon us, writes Derek Kelly of ClearSky Accounting , an accountant specialising in freelancers’ tax affairs.

With HMRC tightening its grip on tax avoidance, and with its increasingly draconian approach to tax debts, not to mention charging late-filers £100 even if no tax is due, it has never been more worthwhile to self-assess correctly and on time.

Following these top tips should ensure that you treat the Jan 31st tax deadline with the respect it deserves, and can help minimise your exposure to any nasty, costly surprises.

  • Dig out all the relevant financial information and organise paperwork into date order.
  • Don’t underestimate the complexity of a self-assessment tax return. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time prior to the deadline (Jan 31st) and don’t file your return late.
  • Accuracy is crucial, as careless mistakes in your tax return can potentially cost you dearly in penalties and interest repayments.
  • Where exact financial figures aren’t available then enter estimates. Ensure these are as accurate as possible and don’t forget to state that these are ‘ provisional figures’. Exact figures must be submitted to HMRC at a later date.
  • If in doubt during the process, seek expert advice from an accountant specialising in the self-employed, especially if you want help ensuring that you’ve paid the lowest amount of tax possible, such as by claiming all relevant expenses and utilising any appropriate tax reliefs.

Editor’s Note: Further Reading

When there’s no penalty for an incorrect tax return

Freelancers’ Questions: How to fill in tax return if payment was staggered?

Freelancers’ Questions: Can I just declare freelance earnings as ‘other income’?



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