Practical tips for contractors and freelancers preparing for the end of the tax year

Practical Tips for Contractors

We know it doesn’t seem like much time has passed between the end of the last tax year and the end of this one, but we’re almost there already.

While there’s no need for you to submit your tax return immediately on 6 April, many contractors and freelancers don’t like to hang around. After all, there’s not much sense in waiting until the October and January deadlines to rush everything in.

Furthermore, if you operate on a cash in, cash out basis then your books are probably more or less good to go. So, what can contractors and freelancers do to prep for the end of the tax year and ensure submitting their 2017/2018 Self-Assessment is a breeze?

Make sure you have your HMRC login

Given that it’s so much easier to file your tax return online, a key way to get prepared is to make sure you have your login ready. Most people only use their login once or twice a year so it’s easy to forget it. You’ll either have a Government Gateway login, or a Gov.UK Verify login so make sure you have your username and password.

Of course, if this is your first year as a self-employed person, you should also make sure that you’re registered for Self-Assessment. Try to ensure you do this in plenty of time as you’ll need to be registered in order to get a login.

Ensure your accounts are up to date

This may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many contractors and freelancers let their accounts lapse over the course of the year, forgetting to add payments and expenses so nothing makes sense. Take some time to double check your accounts and make sure everything is as it should be. It’ll make completing your Self-Assessment much easier.

Get paperwork organised

If HMRC decides they want to take a look at your accounts, they’ll need your paperwork. So, make sure all of your invoices, receipts and any other essential documents are in order before the tax year ends. Hopefully, you’ve been filing it over the course of the year but, if not, take an hour or two to sort through it and make sure it’s all checked, double checked and in the right order.

Check what you can and can’t claim 

If you’ve been keeping track of your accounts throughout the year, you’ve probably been keeping track of your expenses too. However, you should still make sure you can claim for everything you’re planning on claiming for. For instance, if you fall under IR35, you can claim for a lot less than someone who operates outside it. Similarly, if you provide your services via an umbrella company, you will find the rules are different again. Be sure to check this when going over your accounts to make sure you don’t fall foul of HMRC regulations.

The team at Kingsbridge has a wealth of experience working with all types of contractors and freelancers. If you’d like to discuss your insurance needs, call us on 01242 808740, or check out our Knowledge Hub.

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