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Guidance Note: Completing your Self-Assessment

Completing your Self-Assessment

Yes, it’s that time of year again! If you’re self-employed, maybe you freelance or run a business, it’s likely that you will have to
complete a Self-Assessment tax return each year.

Whilst this process can be daunting, The Self-Assessment process can seem complicated at first, especially as the government often
make changes to it, so we’ve broken down what you need to know for a stress free tax return.

When to file your tax return What information do you need?

31st January (every year!) For the self-employed, the key information is likely to be your
income and expenditure details, so you should have all your
It’s important to file your tax return before the deadline, or you invoices and receipts to hand.
risk a fine. Bear in mind that the deadline for paper tax returns
is 31st October - so filing online does give you more time, but Make sure to leave time for gathering information from third
don’t leave it until 30th January! parties; employers and previous employers (if in the same tax
year) or your bank.
The sooner you do so, the better as you are less likely to make
mistakes rushing, you can contact HMRC with any questions you In order to complete your self-assessment tax return you will
have and leaves plenty of time to pull all your information likely need:
together.  Your 10 digit Unique taxpayer Reference (UTR) and
registration for online submissions
 Employment income (P60, if you’re also employed)
Guidance Note: Completing your Self-Assessment

 P11D (for other employment benefits) Before you file your tax return online
 Details of other income – Dividends, Partnership income,
Interest, Pension Income Remember that you do need to register for Self-Assessment at
 Rental Income (from any property owned and rented out) the website so you can log in, if you haven’t sent a return
 Pensions contributions
online before. You’ll get sent an activation code in the post,
 Gift Aid
 Payment on account which can take 10 days. If you need to do this, make sure you
 Redundancy lump payment or unemployment benefit leave plenty of time to receive it before the 31 January
 Capital gains deadline.
 Records of expenses from self-employment

It is critical that you keep good records throughout the year so

to make this process as painless as possible and ensures that
you will have all the documentation needed if HMRC checks
your tax return.

If you struggle with this, you might want to consider hiring an

accountant or bookkeeper and HMRC provides a list of
accounting software available that can make record keeping
Guidance Note: Completing your Self-Assessment

How to fill in your tax return: step-by-step Report on what you’ve earned – this is where you need your
sales invoices to hand. Remember that you might also need to
You’ve gathered all the information you need, you’ve logged in enter other income, like property income or gains on
to the website, and you’re ready to fill in your tax return. investments.

If you have extra income to declare from self-employment, Add your tax deductible expenses – use your expense receipts
property or capital gains, you will need to fill in a supplementary when filling in this section. A great Simply Business guide to
page. If you’re: what you can claim as self-employed tax deductible expenses
has more details.
 self-employed you need to complete SA103
 reporting property income, fill in SA105 Double check your return – you can take your time and come
 declaring capital gains, complete SA108. back to the return later after saving it. This can be useful if you
want to check your numbers.
The good news is that as long as if you’ve kept good records, the
process isn’t difficult. HMRC’s system reacts to your details as
you enter them and gives you reminders on where to find
information if you get stuck. The key steps are:

Check your personal details – HMRC should be kept up-to-date

with any changes to your address or your name, for example.
You can check and update them during the Self-Assessment

Fill in the sections that apply to you – HMRC’s system reacts to

your details as you enter them. This means that as you fill in the
form, you can remove sections if they’re not relevant.
Guidance Note: Completing your Self-Assessment

Submitting your return Further support

On submission you will get a confirmation message and a
reference number. HMRC will calculate the tax you owe, as well
Self-Assessment helpline on (0300) 2003310
as the National Insurance Contributions you need to pay.
Make sure to leave plenty of time as these lines are very busy before the
The deadline for paying your tax return is the same day as the deadline.

deadline for filing – 31 January. Money Advice Service

NOTE - If you file your tax return late, you’ll get a £100 penalty NI Business Info
(it it’s up to three months late, and more if it’s later).

Remember that most self-employed people usually need to

make a payment on account too, which can catch newly self-
employed people out – you should make sure you have enough
set aside.