The FreeAgent Blog
Posted on 20 July 2017 by Adrian Mather - Jump to comments
There are a lot of perks to being self-employed, from flexible hours and being your own boss, to the privilege of working from home in your pants. There are some definitely some drawbacks to freelance life though, and one of these can be the annual filing of the Self Assessment tax return.
Unless numbers are your jam, chances are that bookkeeping is not the highlight of your working week (unless you use FreeAgent, of course). Keeping your accounts in order is vital for the smooth running of a business though, and leaving them to the last minute can be a recipe for disaster. So this year, tackle your books on time, and experience the pure bliss that is filing your tax return early.
1. Money in the bank
If you leave your Self Assessment until just before the January 31st deadline, then you run the risk of receiving an unexpectedly high tax bill, with not enough savings put aside to comfortably pay it. Aside from being out of pocket, you’ll be liable for a £100 fine if you’re even a day late. The earlier you deal with your taxes, the more time you’ll have to budget for them. January can often be a month where the purse strings are especially tight, so do your sanity (and your bank account) a favour, and get that return filed ASAP.
2. All the time in the world
Completing your tax return requires you to get an awful lot of figures, reports and certificates together. Leaving this to the last minute runs the risk of you not being able to find some of these important documents, and potentially having to file late. On top of this, HMRC registration can take up to 10 days to provide you with your UTR confirmation code, so it’s in your interest to get that paperwork ready nice and early. This way, there will be no last minute scrabbling for files, and you can get things done in your own sweet time.
3. The joy of being organised
As the best-selling book by Marie Kondo testifies, there is joy to be found in being utterly and completely organised. If you can check Self Assessment off your list sooner, rather than later, it will be a huge weight off your shoulders. No longer will you spend the year dreading digging out those old documents, as it will be already done and dusted. Along with the feeling of sweet relief, you will now have freedom to fully focus on what’s really important - your business.
4. Freedom to enjoy the festive season
No-one wants taxes to be looming in the back of their mind while they’re tucking into turkey. The annual January 31st deadline for Self Assessment submission leaves a lot of freelancers fretting over the Christmas holiday. Get your taxes sorted well before winter, and you’ll be free to focus on much more important things, like eating your body weight in chocolate.
5. Time to find a great accountant (if you don’t have one already)
While you don’t legally require an accountant to help you file your Self Assessment, it can often be a good idea to let an accountant check over your work. Although FreeAgent automatically populates a lot of your tax return for you, by letting a pro take a look you can make sure that you haven’t missed anything out. Accountants are notoriously busy in the run-up to the Self Assessment deadline, so find one you like now, before everyone else books them up.
6. Self Assessment smugness
The final - and most important - reason of all to file your Self Assessment now, is the complete and utter smugness you can radiate from the moment you’ve filed. While your self-employed pals are complaining that they’re going to be bogged down in their books for the next few months, you can hit them with a ‘Self Assessment? Oh, I filed that months ago…’.
You can now file your 2016/17 Self Assessment return to HMRC, well ahead of the January 31st deadline.
You may be tempted to put it off for now, but getting your Self Assessment return out of the way will mean avoiding that lurching feel of guilt and existential despair that usually sets in around January.
It’s basically like getting back to the gym, but with the added bonus of not going to jail.
For our part, we promise to make the whole thing as painless as possible. FreeAgent builds much of your return from the data you enter over the year. When it comes to filing, you just need to check it over and add any other details we don’t know about.
Then file in one click and bask in the moral superiority that you’re a fundamentally better human being.
Until next time,
Roan and the team at FreeAgent
The government has announced that its plans for Making Tax Digital (MTD) - the initiative to transform the UK’s tax system and end the tax return - are to be delayed until at least 2020. Here’s what’s changing:
- Only businesses with turnover over the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to keep their records digitally, and then only for VAT.
- They will only have to do this from April 2019.
- Businesses will not be asked to keep digital records, or to update HMRC quarterly, for other taxes until at least 2020.
This news means that there will be at least a one-year delay for everyone, since MTD was originally due to start in April 2018 for businesses with turnover over £85,000.
Here at FreeAgent we’re keeping a close eye out for any further updates from the government regarding Making Tax Digital. We expect these to be included in the upcoming Finance Bill, now scheduled for publication in September 2017.
Posted on 10 July 2017 by Roan Lavery - Jump to comments
Our goal with FreeAgent Mobile is to help you nail those day-to-day admin tasks when you’re on the move, and we’ve just made that easier with new support for bills and estimates.
Mo bills, less problems
Unsurprisingly, you’ll find Bills in the Money Out section of the app where you can now view, create and manage the incurred costs you haven’t paid yet.
Oh and while I’ve got you, if you’re unsure about when to use Bills (don’t worry, people often are) then check out our article on bills, expenses & bank payments. It should clear things up nicely.
If you find yourself with a potential customer and need whip up an estimate quick smart to win a job or project, then you’ll appreciate this one.
A new Estimates section has been added to the (shock horror) Money In section, where you can create, send and track estimates, right through to approval.
If you aren’t yet using FreeAgent Mobile then you can download that bad boy from the App Store of your choice:
Until next time,
Roan and the team at FreeAgent
Page 1 of 159
- 6 reasons to file Self Assessment right now
- Self Assessment filing for 2016/17 is live
- Making Tax Digital to be delayed
- FreeAgent Mobile - now with Bills and Estimates
- What’s it like to work at FreeAgent?