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The Business Northumberland blog


If you are one of the over 10m people, including the self-employed and company directors, who need to complete a Self-Assessment Tax Return hopefully you have already submitted it well before the on-line filing deadline of 31st January!

If you haven’t filed yet and you do it yourself, the deadline is looming.

You need to make sure you can log on to access your HMRC account.

And if it’s down to your accountant, they are probably burning the midnight oil.

Missing the deadline will mean a fine unless you have a pretty good reason. HMRC annually publish a list of “excuses” used – my personal favourites from the last few years are:

“I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house”

“My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go to retrieve it”

Why do men always blame the wife!

Excuses aside, if you are self-employed, you must register your business with HMRC and you will be required to submit an annual self-assessment tax return (by 31st January for the previous tax year if filing on-line, or 31st October if submitting a paper version).

As the tax year runs to the 5th April it is easier for you to have business accounts that run from 1 April to 31 March as well. It’s important to remember that in the first year of self-employment any payment due is payable by the deadline of 31st January, which is over 9 months after the tax year end; it is therefore important to set aside enough money to be able to make the payment on the due date.

After your first full year of business you may be required to pay tax for the current year in two instalments, called 'payments on account.'

By pulling your accounts together early you should have more time to make sure they are accurate, and that you have claimed all the allowable expenses to minimise you your tax payable.

HMRC publish a great guide to help you and we have loads of useful info on our website, and workshops that can help you.

You can claim mileage allowances for business use of your own vehicle, you may be able to claim expenses for the use of your home for business, and there are other costs you may be able to claim. For more information go to: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-if-youre-self-employed

I did my own self-assessment tax return back in June – and had a very nice refund!

Ian Swain

Business Northumberland Finance Trainer

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