Getting to grips with your accounting can be tricky at the best of times, especially when it comes to staying on top of your tax obligations.
To help put your mind at ease, we’ve put together a timeline of the most important accounting dates in a standard year for the average small business owner or freelancer in the UK. Some dates will change a little from year to year but the deadlines always broadly fall at the same time.
We’d also strongly recommend staying up to date with the latest developments in the government’s rollout of Making Tax Digital (MTD), its initiative to implement a fully digital tax system in the UK. Find out how MTD affects you and the timeline for all the upcoming changes.
Calendar of a typical small business tax year in the UK
Here’s how an average tax year for a UK-based small business might look. It’s important to bear in mind that the tax deadlines you have for your own business are unique to your circumstances, and your obligations to HMRC will depend on many factors. These include whether you have any employees or if you’re running your business as a ‘side hustle’ while in full-time employment.
For extra clarity on your tax obligations, we recommend working with an accountant if you’re not doing so already.
1st - Corporation Tax payment deadline (if you have a limited company with an accounting year end of 31st March)
31st - Self Assessment online tax return filing deadline
31st - Corporation Tax return filing deadline (if you have a limited company with an accounting year end of 31st March)
6th - New tax year! The Chancellor’s planned updates to any tax rates, wage rates and minimum pension contributions (among other things) will come into effect today
31st - Deadline for issuing any employees with their annual P60s
6th - Deadline for filing P11D and P11D(b) forms (if applicable)
22nd - Deadline for paying Class 1A National Insurance Contributions (you’ll only pay this on benefits you give to your employees, such as private medical insurance)
31st - Second Income Tax and National Insurance payment on account deadline
31st - Self Assessment paper tax return filing deadline
31st - The deadline for filing your company’s annual accounts if you have a limited company with an accounting year end of 31st March (the most common year-end date)
A note on VAT return deadlines
The vast majority of small businesses will file a VAT return four times a year. Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT legislation requires all VAT-registered businesses to do this through MTD-compliant software like FreeAgent. The most common set of quarterly VAT return dates is:
- 1st January - 31st March
- 1st April - 30th June
- 1st July - 30th September
- 1st October - 31st December
Each VAT return is due for filing one month and seven days after the end of one of these quarterly periods. So for example, the VAT return that covers 1st January - 31st March needs to be filed to HMRC by 7th May.
A note on payments on account
If less than 80% of your income is paid at source and your tax bill is over £1,000, you’ll need to make payments on account. These are advance payments on your next year’s Self Assessment tax bill. Your payments on account are calculated by dividing the amount of Income Tax and Class 4 National Insurance from your most recent Self Assessment tax return bill by two. You need to make the first payment by 31st January and the second payment by 31st July.
Download key dates directly to your calendar
Do you want reminders of every important tax date? Download our free accounting calendar, ready to import to your favourite calendar app.
FreeAgent’s Tax Timeline to the rescue
If you use FreeAgent, you’ll notice that the deadlines that apply to you appear in the Tax Timeline on your Overview screen.
Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.