When you are self-employed, it can sometimes be overwhelming. There is so much that you have to do solo to ensure that business keeps moving. And sometimes the focus can be too much on securing the next job; that you end up missing important dates. When you are self-employed, you take on the onus and responsibility to tick certain boxes when it comes to bookkeeping and legality. And it is vital that you are aware of these dates. That’s why today we are highlighting important calendar dates that you should be aware of. And hopefully; making it clear and concise, will aid you in knowing when your next task is and will help you organise yourself. This is also in the hope that they don’t creep up on you out of anywhere leaving you little time to prepare.
And so without further ado, starting from the start of the year, what important calendar dates do you need to know?
From the start.
Well, firstly, if you aren’t aware already, that financial year differs from a calendar year. By this we mean for example this year, the financial year would begin on the 6th of April 2023, and end on the 5th of April 2024. This means the current financial year will end on the 5th of April this year. Next, you need to know all about self-assessment. If you are self-employed and earn over £1,000 per year, you need to complete a self-assessment.
This is basically a tax return. But before you can do this you need to register for the self-assessment system, which is where you will file the return. And so if you haven’t already, you need to register by the 5th of October in your second year of trading. We advise doing this before this date just so it isn’t missed. After you have registered, you will be sent a UTR (unique taxpayer reference) in the post. Make sure that this is kept safe as you will need this going forward.
Important calendar dates for self-assessments
Now you have a bit of background on self-assessments and we will assume now you are registered, what dates do you need to know? Well, there are two ways to file your tax return. You can do this digitally or by post. By far the most popular and convenient option is digital. However, either due to personal choice or technological restrictions, some prefer to do it by post. Depending on which you choose, the dates will differ. You need to file your return by the 31st of October if you choose to do it by post, or by the 31st of January if you are doing it online. Again, we advise you to do them way in advance of these dates so that you don’t put any undue pressure on yourself by doing it last minute.
Payments on account
When it comes to being self-employed, you need to make two ‘payments on account’. Essentially, these are advance payments toward the following year’s tax bill. And you will be expected by HMRC to make two of these payments each year. These are made on two dates throughout the year, and these are the 31st of January and the 31st of May. The amount that you will be expected to pay is the value of the previous year’s tax bill split in half. With half being made on each payment. This is important to know so you can ensure that the funds are readily available to make these payments on account.
Need to make changes?
If you have made a mistake on your self-assessment there is no need to panic. You do however need to know how to correct the mistake and when to submit any amendments. Firstly, your priority is to let HMRC know. And you need to do this by the 31st of January of the following financial year. And again, whether you do it digitally or by post will dictate what date you need to submit the changes.
If you are doing it online, you have 12 calendar months from the 31st of January deadline. Whereas if you do it by post, you have 15 months from the 31st of October deadline. But again, we reiterate that these are dates that they need to be done by; you should make any changes as far in advance as you can.
Keeping on top of your finances
We appreciate that being self-employed can sometimes seem like you’re constantly swimming against the current. Having to focus on many different areas of your business and ensuring that work keeps coming in. And so you should consider if you should outsource your bookkeeping. Outsourcing your bookkeeping not only means that you are relying on someone who has expertise in that industry, but at the same time, it allows you to focus on other areas of your business.
Here at D&K Accounting, we do just that for businesses and for the self-employed. We have many years of experience in helping businesses focus on what really matters; by making sure that their books are in order and they are on top of their finances. Our profit-first approach also helps grow your business and ensures that profits are being invested in the correct areas of your business.
If you’re self-employed and want a chat today, why not get in touch? We adapt our plan and services to your specific business and its needs. We also take a look at the bigger picture; to see if there are any areas for improvement or any causes for concern that we can help alleviate.