To file your Self Assessment, you first need to register with HMRC to tell them you need to submit a tax return. You can register by going to https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment . You can register either online, by phone or by post (by completing form SA1)
Do I need to complete a Self Assessment?
Self Assessments are for anyone who receives income that is not taxed “at source”. In the case of a sole trader, the income you receive via your invoices does not have National Insurance contributions or Income Tax subtracted from it, so you must tell HMRC about that income on your Self Assessment so they can calculate what, if any, tax you owe.
Other example of income not taxed “at source” includes rental income from any property you may own or income from abroad.
If you are the director of a limited company you must complete a Self Assessment. Freelancers who have incorporated must file too!
When do I have to register?
The registration deadline is October 5th following the tax year for which you wish to submit a return.
For example, if you went freelance and set up your own business in June 2014, you would need to submit a Self Assessment for that tax year, which runs from 6th April 2014 until 5th April 2015. To submit that Self Assessment, you would need to register by October 5th 2015,
When you come to submit your financial information through the Self Assessment Online portal, having an organised stack of paperwork (or better yet a swanky online accounting system) can save your heaps of time and stress.
Before you start, here is a small selection of the financial records you should have to hand when you go to complete your Self Assessment. Many of these will not apply depending on the complexities of your finances; and this is not an exhaustive list (just a selection of the most common items).
If you are a sole trader, this means all your invoices & business related expenses.If you are a sole trader, this means all your invoices & business related expenses.
If you are running your own limited company and draw money from your business with a salary / dividend split, this will apply. You will need all the vouchers for dividends issued in the relevant tax year.
Details of any income your received through a Partnership.
Information on interest on things like loans and credit cards is needed, so get the relevant statements from your provider.
Own rental property? You’ll need details of all the income you’ve made through it in the previous tax year. Extra points if you receive your rental income into a separate bank account for ease of organisation.
Receiving any income from overseas? Keep the details handy
What does Payment on Account means?
This means payments towards your next year’s tax bill – these will count against your income current tax year.
P11Ds are to inform HMRC of any benefits claimed by employees. If you have one for the last tax year, you’ll need it!
If you’ve made any profits disposing of things like rental property or shares, have these details handy too.
If in doubt, speak to a specialist
If you have a complicated financial setup, it can be well worth the money to engage a specialist to complete your Self Assessment rather than risk messing it up and paying higher taxes! It might be time to find yourself a good accountant.