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How to file your next Self Assessment

By Crunch - January 18, 2021

This is a guest blog article written by our friends at Crunch. All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of that of 123 Reg. Be sure to seek advice from a qualified expert if you need financial advice.

We all know how cathartic it can be to put off a chore for just a few more hours. That pile of washing up isn’t going anywhere, after all, so you hold off a little longer until eventually, the pile comes crashing down and you find yourself wishing you’d started back when it was just a few cups and plates.

Well, filing your Self Assessment is a lot like doing the washing up. The sooner you start, the more pain you’ll avoid when the moment of truth comes around.

At Crunch, we always recommend that sole traders and limited company directors file their Self Assessment well in advance of the 31st January deadline. With that mind, let’s discuss how to file a Self Assessment, what records you need to keep, and how to make this year’s filing the easiest yet.

How do I file a Self Assessment?

The first thing you’ll need to do is get yourself registered with HMRC’s Online Services; you need to register by 5th October after the end of the tax year where you’re required to file a tax return – for example, if you need to file for the 2020/21 tax year (the deadline for this would be 31st January 2022), you should register by 5th October 2021. We explain the entire sign-up process in our comprehensive “Self Assessment” guide.

Once you’re registered, you’ll need to sign into HMRC’s Online Services and your personal tax account. You’ll be able to submit your Self Assessment online by providing details about your income from employment and other sources (such as self-employment, dividends, and interest), and the tax relief you wish to claim (business expenses and personal contributions to a pension, for instance).

Inputting your tax records is the tricky part, however: knowing what records you need to keep, which expenses you can claim, and keeping a complete and accurate record of them all can be a messy business if you’re still cramming receipts into a dusty old shoebox. That leads us onto…

What records do I need to keep?

One of the most important things you’ll need to do to file an accurate Self Assessment is to keep comprehensive records. The sorts of things you’ll need to keep records of include, but are not limited to:

Self-employed income (including all your invoices and expenses)

Income from employment (a P60, or a P45 if you left a job within the tax year, and a P11D if appropriate)

Dividends you’ve received (if you run a limited company or own shares in another company)

Pension contributions

Details of any tax payment on account, if you’ve made any previously (this won’t apply if it’s your first Self Assessment)

And much, much more – read our detailed article for the full story!

When it comes to keeping records such as invoices and business expenses, online accounting software, like our free entry-level accounting software, Crunch Free, becomes an invaluable tool, especially since limited company owners are required to keep all of their business-related tax records for a minimum of six years.

With online accounting software, you can store your records in secure cloud software, safe in the knowledge you won’t be misplacing an expenses receipt or losing an invoice down the back of the sofa. You can also export all of your records whenever you need to.

An accountant will also be able to help you maintain your records and help you file your annual Self Assessment. If you think you’d benefit from accountancy support, Crunch offers a complete accountancy service with unlimited support for limited companies and sole traders.

Thanks to our exclusive joint offer with 123 Reg, you can enjoy a 10% discount on our Crunch limited company packages and a £5 per month discount on our sole trader packages for the first year! All you need to do is quote code CRUNCH123 when you speak to our friendly advisors.

You can find us @TeamCrunch on Twitter, and on Facebook! You can also join our free self-employed community, Crunch Chorus, or join our Crunch Chorus Facebook group.