How to Prepare For Your Self-Assessment

Mar 15, 2024

Getting your accounts in order can be tricky if you’re not a professional bookkeeper. But, when the tax year end rolls around and it’s time for your business self-assessment, knowing your numbers is a must. To make your accounting a little easier, our Sussex bookkeepers have put together professional advice to help you get ready. 

What is a Self-Assessment?

HMRC uses self-assessments (SA100) to collect tax from individuals who have untaxed income. Sole traders, for example, report their revenue through a self-assessment, as will anyone who has made an untaxed income through investments or dividends. 

Your self-assessment will report key financial information to HMRC, including:

  • Any profits or losses
  • Deductible expenses
  • Total revenue

If you find an error in your finances – like a mismatch between your invoices and total income – it’s up to you (or a bookkeeping services team) to hunt down the missing information and make sure your numbers add up.

From these details, you’re able to calculate your payable tax.

When is Your Self-Assessment Due?

Government taxation is carried out in yearly cycles. Unlike our social calendars, the tax year starts on 6th April and ends on the 5th April of the following year.

It’s good to note, though, that you don’t have to deliver your tax return immediately on the 5th of April – or even in April at all. Instead, if you’re submitting online you have until 31st January the following year to make sure your finances are in order and your tax return has been sent off. If you’re submitting your self-assessment on paper using the SA100 form, the deadline is the 31st October. 

So, for 2024, the new tax year starts on 6th April. You’ll have to submit an accurate tax return by either 31st October 2024 or 31st January 2025, depending on whether you opt for a digital or paper form.

What Happens if You Miss the Tax Deadline?

Be aware that if you miss deadlines, you’ll be liable to fines. This applies to both submitting your tax return by 31st January and paying any tax owed by the same date. To avoid being hit with an unwanted fine, our Sussex bookkeepers recommend you file your self-assessment as close to the 6th April as possible.

If you miss the tax deadlines by up to 3 months, you’ll be charged a late filing fee of £100. Past the 3-month deadline, you’ll see your fines start to increase.

Any late payments will incur interest, too, making it a must that you’re prepared to pay your tax bill. If you don’t pay on time, you’ll start collecting interest the day after your due date – February 1st. 

If you’re struggling to pay, it’s worth contacting our bookkeepers to talk you through setting up a payment plan. Though we can’t do this ourselves, we can give you guidance on how this works, whether it’s right for you, and the information you need to contact HMRC.

Preparing For Your Self-Assessment With Sussex Bookkeepers

To avoid those hefty fines, it’s smart to get your finances in order as soon as possible. In fact, our bookkeeping services continue all year long, maintaining neat and tidy records so that you can skip the end-of-year panic.

When working with us, we’ll help you prepare for the tax year-end. Some of the preparations involved include:

Keeping Track of Receipts and Invoices

It’s smart to organise your receipts and invoices throughout the year with a good record-keeping system. If that hasn’t been done, though, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to create a financial filing system. 

Whether digital or physical, we’ll make sure you have a copy of every invoice and receipt from the tax year in a marked folder. We’ll also record your income and expenses using bookkeeping software like Sage or Quickbooks, helping you track the flow coming in and out of your business.

Create a Closing Schedule

We’ll ensure you have plenty of time to hit self-assessment deadlines by creating a closing schedule. This will detail all of the tasks that need to be done – like finalising your revenue and tracking down receipts – and when they’ll be carried out, as well as a record of the important deadlines. 

Add your tax year-end tasks to your calendar to ensure you don’t miss any crucial dates. 

Know Your Expenses

Expenses can save you a lot of money on your self-assessment tax bill, but they have to be accurate. There’s a lot of information on what does and doesn’t count as a deductible expense, as well as information on how to calculate trickier expenses, like a portion of your utility bill when working from home.

With our expert knowledge of expenses, we’ll make it easy to know what you can deduct, potentially saving you money on your tax return. We’ll also be sure that you have all the evidence you need to prove your expenses if you’re ever audited, keeping your taxes stress-free.

Chase Unpaid Invoices

We’ll be sure to balance your books by chasing up any outstanding invoices. Our bookkeepers will check the final amounts against your records before submitting your accounts, too, and be sure to investigate any numbers that don’t add up. 

On the same line of thought, we’ll make sure you’ve paid any outstanding invoices, too. Your suppliers will thank you for it and it’ll make your expenses a lot easier to track.

Sussex Bookkeeping Services for the Tax Year-End

Preparing for a self-assessment is time-consuming work. It can be pretty complicated, too, and if you’re not used to balancing the books or tracking down invoices, you might find March to be a stressful month.

That’s where we come in. At Angel Bookkeeping, we provide bookkeeping services for small businesses, including helping you organise your finances for simpler self-assessments. We can calculate and file your tax return, too, taking all the responsibility from your shoulders.

To learn more or team up with our accountants in Sussex, get in touch with us today. When it comes to your bookkeeping, we’re always happy to chat!

Get In Touch

I can help with bookkeeping for start-up businesses If you’re in Worthing and surrounding areas and need help with your startup business, contact Angel Bookkeeping today on 07867 129210