Are you self employed? I’ve been self-employed for nearly four years now and the one thing I find the most daunting is dealing with taxes, self-assessments and also remembering all the important deadlines and dates you need to know for your tax return.
If you’re the same as me, then I hope you’ll find this post really helpful. In the following I’ll highlight the important tax dates you need to know for 2018 and I’ll share some of the common mistakes self-employed people make when its comes to their tax return.
Self Employed 101
In my previous employed job, I really took for granted some of the things my employers dealt with. Especially when it comes to setting up national insurance payments and ensuring I was paying the correct tax. There also wasn’t the added stress of having to do my own yearly self-assessment.
I have to admit, it took me submitting my self-assessment and tax return for two years in a row, for me to feel comfortable doing it. I’m now entering my fourth year of self-employment and I’ve learnt a thing of two about how important it is to make sure you stay on top of your tax and also that you submit everything you need to on time.
Do I Need To Register As Self-Employed?
If you’re already registered as self-employed, you can skip the next two sections.
I know quite a lot of Life Unexpected’s readers are Mums who have started their own businesses from home and a lot of them are also bloggers. Regardless of what you are doing to earn money, if money is exchanging hands in anyway (even if it’s a very tiny amount), then yes you do need to register as self-employed.
Don’t worry, if you aren’t earning much, you won’t need to pay tax anyway, but you’ll still need to declare your earnings for legal reasons.
If you’re new to being self-employed do check out my post ‘5 Legal Tips For New Freelancers’.
How Do I Register As Self-Employed?
Registering as self-employed is really easy. You simply go onto the HMRC website to register for self assessment and follow the on screen instructions which talk you through each step. It only takes moments to do.
During the registration, you’ll receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). This should come to you in the post within ten days. It’ll also give you confirmation that you have been set up for self assessment.
A few days later you’ll get your log in details. If you are doing your first ever tax return, make sure you register early, to allow for this information to come through to you. I’d also advice you to keep your UTR somewhere safe. You will need to refer to it again and again. I made the silly mistake of throwing the letter away. It took hours of waiting on the phone and more days to wait for it to come through again.
Important UK Tax Dates To Remember
Alexander & Co have very kindly created a really helpful infographic that shares all the important tax dates that you need to know in 2018, if you’re self employed. If you’re unsure of any dates, feel free to save this infographic, or bookmark this post, for reference at a later date.
It’s so important to keep on top of these dates when you are self-employed. Just remember, missing deadlines can incur fees and fines!
The Biggest Mistakes Made When Dealing With End Of Year Tax
The biggest mistakes made when dealing with your tax return are normally the easiest ones to prevent from happening. The most popular? Not submitting your tax return on time.
If you don’t submit your tax return on time, you may incur fines or late fees. Don’t learn this the hard way. I know several people who have been just one day late and had to pay a fine.
If you want to avoid a late fee make sure you pay amounts owed by the correct dates. Also, don’t forget to submit your self-assessment before the deadline. The deadline does vary for paper returns and online returns. I personally do mine online because I find it so much easier and quicker. But, if you’re registering for the first time, keep in mind it can take almost a fortnight for them to set you up on the system and send across your details.
Here are some other more common tax return mistakes to keep an eye on if you’re self-employed…
If you’re putting off dealing with your tax return because you’re unsure, it’s always advisable to seek help from an accountant. They are there to help you! Their advice and tips can be so valuable. They can also really help you with things like business expenses. They can clarify what is classed as a business expense and what it isn’t. Some of the things may even surprise you!
I hope this post was really helpful. For more posts on being self-employed check out my posts on being a freelancer and my posts for Mums in Business.
Are you self employed? Do you worry about forgetting important dates or filling in your tax return wrong? Let me know in the comments below.
*Collaborative – Alexander & Co kindly provided infographics, but all words are my own.