Along with the smell of jingle bells and Christmas cake on the horizon, it’s time a lot of people start thinking about the paperwork of self-employment. The paper deadline has already passed – that was 31st October – and now the online deadline of 31st January will loom up faster than you realise once the tinsel and wrapping paper are all cleared up. Know what you need to do and line it up as soon as you can!

Do You Need To Fill Out A Tax Return?

If you’re already on the self-assessment system, you’ll have received a reminder from HMRC – if you’re stumped on how to proceed just get a tax return quote from us and we can help you with filling it out.

If you haven’t received a reminder or just aren’t sure, HMRC has a handy tool that can help walk you through whether or not you need one. The most common reasons to need to fill out a tax return are

  • You earned more than £1,000 from self-employment in the last year. If it was less than that (a one-off cheeky bit of freelance work, for example) then it comes under something called your trading allowance and isn’t taxable.
  • You made more than £1,000 from selling, including on marketplaces like eBay or Etsy. Yep, if you’re fantastically good at shifting second-hand socks or your online artisanal artichoke soap business has taken off, you need to do a tax return!
  • You made money from renting property (or just a room in your house)! People who rent out rooms will need to fill out a tax return to declare income and pay tax – it isn’t just a consideration for full-blown “professional landlords.”
  • You lived abroad but still earned UK income – expats included! It depends how much money and how long you were abroad vs in the UK. You might even be entitled to a tax rebate if you overpaid or double-paid, so that’s worth checking too.

As a special note, if you’re in the construction industry and self–employed you might actually want to consider setting up a limited company for the new tax year. When your earnings reach around £35k a year, sorting your own company could actually be the best way to make sure you bring as much as possible home without the taxman getting his hands on it. In some cases you could be keeping 18% more of your earnings in your pocket. Not too shabby!

You could go and ask a normal accountancy firm but – especially if you’ve claimed with RIFT in the past – you might want to speak to our accounting guys first instead so you don’t get blinded by jargon. They can help you get it all sorted, too, and they’re super nice. We promise.

Whether you’re thinking about the headache of filling out a tax return or trying to claw some of your hard-earned cash back from the taxman with a tax refund, someone at RIFT can help. We speak in plain English, not Accountancy Jargon, so we’re here to make your life – and finances – easier.