The FreeAgent Blog

Share the self-employment love this Valentine’s Day!

Posted on 14 February 2018 by Fiona Hendrie - Jump to comments

Love it or loathe it, the divisive holiday that is St Valentine’s Day is upon us once more. Rather than convince you to treat your nearest and dearest to a petrol station bouquet or a Milk Tray, we’ve focused our efforts on celebrating something far more important - all the things there are to love about being self-employed.

Freelance life can have the occasional downside (the Self Assessment deadline might still be fresh in your memory), but there are still so many wonderful upsides to running your own business. Here are some of the best things about working for yourself - which one is your favourite?

Share what you love about working for yourself over on Twitter! Click or tap on any of these images to create a draft tweet, with the images already attached! #LoveMyBoss

I can work from anywhere

While your office-dwelling 9-5 counterparts wrestle with the daily commute, your workspace is completely flexible. Your living room, kitchen, office, local cafe, or even favourite country - work happens wherever you open your laptop.

I’m my own boss

When you work for yourself, you’re fully in charge of your own workload, growth and development. Putting in extra hours when the going gets tough is paid back by the flexibility to take extended holidays, and if you want to upskill, you don’t need to ask permission to take time out to learn something new. You’re the boss!

I can do what I want, when I want

We recently asked what your favourite things about self-employment are on Facebook, and some of the answers included: ‘Knowing I can give my clients my undivided attention, and that I can structure my day as I want to’, ‘Freedom and flexibility’ and ‘Sitting in my pants whilst I work’. When you work for yourself, you make the rules, you set the hours, and you decide the uniform (even if that uniform happens to be your pants).

If you'd like to win an A2 print of your favourite poster, head over to the FreeAgent Facebook page and tell us which one you'd like to put up in your home office. Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️

Introducing the Customer Sales Report

Posted on 1 February 2018 by Roan Lavery - Jump to comments

Some FreeAgent trophies for your best customers

Knowing your best (and worst!) customers is a key factor in deciding who to do business with in the future.

Today we’re making it easier to see who deserves the red carpet treatment and who gets the one-way ticket to Dumpsville.

The Customer Sales Report has been one of our most requested features, and allows you to see exactly how much income you’ve received from each of your different customers.

You can slice and dice this data to examine different time periods, compare previous months or years, and see exactly how much income you’ve received from different customers over different time periods.

You can also download this report as a CSV if you get your kicks from spreadsheet wrangling. It takes all sorts.

Find out more about the Customer Sales Report over on our Knowledge Base.

All the best,

Roan and the team at FreeAgent

Five stages of Self Assessment stress

Posted on 25 January 2018 by Victoria Shepherd - Jump to comments

From blissful denial to grim-jawed resolve, where are you at on the Self Assessment stress scale?

Denial

this is fine

Ages to go until 31 January Self Assessment deadline. Aaaaaages.

Bargaining

this is fine

If you at least make a start on your tax return, you can justifiably wind down with at least three hours of Netflix... right? 😱

Panic

this is fine

The receipts. WHERE ARE ALL THE RECEIPTS.

Anger

this is fine

You don’t normally envy your office-dwelling, tax-return-free friends, but just look at them with their ‘weekends’ and ‘free time’. Grrr.

Acceptance

this is fine

It’s time. Getting your Self Assessment tax return done might not be fun but a stiff upper lip is the only way to go. If you’re in need a helping hand, check out our handy Self Assessment SOS section. Now, go smash that tax return!

Know how long it will take your Self Assessment payment to reach HMRC

Posted on 22 January 2018 by Emily Coltman - Jump to comments

Wednesday 31st January isn’t just the date by which you have to submit your Self Assessment for the 2016/17 tax year to HMRC. It’s also the date by which you have to pay your tax bill - so it’s important to get organised and make sure that your payment reaches HMRC before the midnight deadline.

Here’s a handy rundown of the main payment options that HMRC accepts, how long each type of payment takes to process and how you can use each payment method.

Please note, you can no longer pay at the Post Office and personal credit cards are no longer accepted.

Payment type How long it takes for the payment to reach HMRC How you can pay
Online or telephone banking (Faster Payments) Same or next day, including weekends and public holidays By using the bank details listed on gov.uk
CHAPS Usually the same working day (if you pay within your bank’s processing times) By using the bank details listed on gov.uk
Debit card online HMRC will accept your payment on the date you make it, not the date it reaches their account - including on weekends and bank holidays By following the links from your HMRC online account.
Business credit card online (1.5% charge) HMRC will accept your payment on the date you make it, not the date it reaches their account - including on weekends and bank holidays By following the links from your HMRC online account.
At your bank or building society (only an option if you still get paper statements from HMRC and have the paying-in slip they sent to you in the post) Same day (Monday-Friday only) By paying cash or writing a cheque made payable to 'HM Revenue and Customs only' followed by your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) followed by the letter ‘K’.
Bacs Three working days By using the bank details listed on gov.uk
Cheque through the post Three working days By writing a cheque made payable to ‘HM Revenue and Customs only’ followed by your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. It should be posted along with your paying-in slip to HMRC, Direct, BX5 5BD – no street name, city name or PO Box is required.
Existing Direct Debit Three working days By setting up a Direct Debit from your HMRC online account. (Note that you have to set up a new direct debit every time you wish to make a payment).
New Direct Debit Five working days By setting up a Direct Debit from your HMRC online account.

Note: For payments where a reference is required you will need to use your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). Where a payment reference number is asked for you should use your UTR followed by the letter 'K'.

Whichever method you plan to use to pay your tax bill this year, if you’re planning to meet the deadline then make sure you file your Self Assessment with HMRC in enough time to allow your payment to reach them before the 31st January. Otherwise you will have to pay interest and may even face a penalty, even if you manage to file your tax return on time.

Don’t forget that online payment services may be slow during busy times - you can check online if there are any current problems or times they aren’t available.

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