Self-employed? Here are some tips for taking on your Self Assessment

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If you’re about to start (or have already started) your Self Assessment, our friends over at Xero have helped us pull together their top tips to make filing your Self Assessment tax return a breeze.

If you’re a sole trader or a partner in a business partnership, the Self Assessment deadline is coming up – but there’s no need to panic. Before the 31st of January, sole traders who have earned more than £1,000 (before taking off anything eligible for tax relief) and business partners will need to fill out a Self Assessment tax return online. While this might sound imposing or time-consuming, it’s actually pretty straightforward!

Get going now to avoid a last-minute sprint

There’s nothing worse than the stress and caffeine-induced jitteriness of rushing to finish a task the night before the deadline. To spare yourself this trouble – not to mention the fee that HMRC charges for late filings – make sure all your records and information are up to date and complete well before the deadline, and then have an accountant check your work.

Be realistic about your schedule and try to carve out half an hour every day (ideally early in the day, so you aren’t tempted to push it to tomorrow!) to fill out your Self Assessment. If you’ve left things a little last minute this year, don’t worry - it’s not too late to get an accountant involved.

Illustration showing accountant at desk (Xero)

Pick a cloud platform to make life easier 

The government is currently rolling out Making Tax Digital and encouraging businesses to move their finances and record keeping online. This comes with a whole heap of benefits, including the ability to view your business's finances at the click of a button, making Self Assessment simpler. To really take advantage of these new features, you need to make sure that your business’s technology is also up to date and choose a provider which integrates with Making Tax Digital.

Adopting cloud software can help your business reduce errors and automatically detect and prevent potentially costly mistakes, as well as constantly updating in real-time to provide a detailed record of the business’s finances at the click of a button. Say goodbye forever to faffing with paper receipts!

Learn more about why you should use a cloud accounting software in Xero’s Zoom webinar.

Get an accountant – your finances will thank you

You didn’t set up your business to spend time filling out tax forms, so consider leaving the number-crunching to an accountant. They’re experts in taxes and filing, and they’ll be able to offer advice and support every step of the way. Today, accountants are more than just number crunchers; they’re invaluable financial advisors that help businesses manage their finances and adapt when circumstances change.

Illustration showing an accountant talking to a client.

In addition to helping with your taxes, an accountant will help you create more accurate forecasts and projections. These will be crucial for the coming months as the reality of Brexit becomes clearer, and the country weathers another wave of coronavirus cases. You can find an accountant or a bookkeeper here.

Make the most of the online resources 

Tax doesn’t need to be taxing, and neither does financial management. At Xero, we want you to be able to spend less time on finances and paperwork, and more time doing the things that inspired you to start your business in the first place.

That’s why we’ve launched our Education Month starting from 1st February 2021, a month full of live webinars, downloadable resources and expert panelists to make managing your business finances easier so you can spend more time doing what you love. Register online now, completely free.