If you traded in the UK either as a self-employed individual, in a partnership or own a small business at any point between 6 April 2014 and 5 April 2015, you may need to complete a self assessment. If one is due, it is not too late to get your papers in order for the looming submission deadline of Jan 31 2016. Failure to file your return by the above deadline may result in hefty penalties.
If this is your first time, you can file your return online yourself or engage the services of an accountant – accountants’ fees are treated as business expenses so they can be fully deducted before tax is calculated.
If you decide to do your self assessment yourself, this HMRC link will help. You will need to register for the service first so leave enough time for it to be activated.
Self employed tax returns are pretty painless provided your papers are in order and you have figures relating to savings, pensions, expenses, other income (rents, capital gains, etc), expenses, gifts made to charities and tax allowances at hand.
To make life easier, you can choose to use any of the newly-introduced income tax schemes designed for small businesses; these are Cash Basis and Simplified Expenses. A useful guide we prepared earlier provides some information on these.
If doing your own self assessment, pay particular attention to situations affected by capital allowances, losses carried forward and lease or hire arrangements. If you get stuck, you can call the HMRC helpline on 0845 900 0444 but you might want to use the phone by either the drinks cabinet or teapot as there is usually a long wait – even longer at this time of year.
Should you decide to go with an accountant, we are just a click away.