When I first became self-employed I didn’t have a clue how taxes worked, I knew I had to register with HM Revenue and Customs but I wasn’t sure how to organise my taxes as it all seemed quite stressful and always saw people complaining about doing their taxes for the year. Over the years I’ve found a few things that have made filing my taxes a lot less stressful and there are a few things that help keep me organised and on top of everything.
- Find an Accounting System that Works for You
Some people like to use tax return books that you can buy in places such as WHSmith whereas others like to use spreadsheets. Personally I use Numbers on my Macbook, it’s a simple piece of software that is free but works so well for me as I can edit if I make any mistakes and it’s easy to update.
- Keep it Regularly Updated
This is so important if you don’t want a massive stress at the end of the tax year having to go through all your earnings and expenses. I update mine monthly so that I don’t have that massive headache that a lot of others I know have at the end of the tax year.
- Have a Folder Separated By the Months of the Year
I have a folder which has a separate pocket for each month of the year, I always put receipts for expenses in this as well as any invoices and notes of what I was paid, who by, on what date and where they were paid into. Just keeping on top of this makes it super easy at the end of the month to fill in your accounts and will save you a lot of time. As the Tax year runs from April to April this is how the years are in my folder.
- Put Money Aside Monthly for Your Taxes & National Insurance
Work out how much national insurance and tax you should be paying for that month and put it aside, you will have to pay this at the end of the tax year and if you don’t take this into account then you could have a very hefty bill to pay which could be troublesome. Remember that the current Personal Tax Allowance is £11,000 therefore you can earn this much within a tax year without paying any tax, however this is your total earnings for year so if you have another job you must take that into account too when working out your taxes. If you’re unsure on tax and national insurance rates have a look on the HM Revenue and Customs website.
- Note Down Important Dates
It’s really important to know the important dates of when everything is due, it’s also a good idea to have everything submitted in advance to make it less stressful and will make sure you don’t receive any fines. Incase you’re unsure I’ve included them below:
Paper Tax Returns: Midnight 31st October 2016
Online Tax Returns: Midnight 31st January 2017
Pay the Tax You Owe: Midnight 31st January 2017
I really hope this post helped some of you and will make filling in your tax returns a lot less stressful, when I first started I wasn’t as organised as all of these tips have helped me a lot when it has come to filling in my tax returns as I have everything I need all organised.