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Self-Assessment Deadline is Looming

File your personal tax online? Well, just in case you’d forgotten, January 31 is fast approaching, and so without further ado, it’s time to get your tax return done.

If you’re smart, you already use one of our amazing recommended accountants who has already completed your return for you, or has given you the data you need to submit your personal return, while for others less savvy, now is the time to start ploughing through those receipts and invoices and trying to make head or tail of what you can claim for and what you owe.

Before you start, make sure you have up to date information on allowable expenses – these include:

Office expenses – including stationery, postage, printing, software and business equipment (although these may fall under capital allowances in some circumstances).

Business expenses – rent, maintenance, repair, utility bills and insurance fees. This can include part of your home if you’re a home worker. You can use HMRC’s simplified claim process to claim a fixed amount for the year, rather than having to work it all out yourself. They have some handy guides online for what to do and how much you can claim this way.

Marketing – any costs from marketing, such as social media advertising, print ads, mailshots etc., can all be claimed back. 

Travel – these include business-related car or van costs, including fuel, repairs, servicing and insurance, train or air travel, hotel accommodation and meals. Travelling to and from your place of work does not count, even if you are self-employed, although travel for business meetings does. As with business expenses, there is a simplified expenses method to claim for these costs. 

Stock and materials – a bit of a no brainer, but don’t forget to claim for the costs of doing your business, like equipment, materials and any production costs. 

Legal and financial – yes, you can claim against the fees charged by your wonderful contractor accountant. One of the reasons that so many savvy self-employed use an accountant is not only that they spare you the nightmare of paperwork, but that they can often identify a number of things you can claim for that will ensure they are saving you more than they cost you to retain. 

Membership and subscriptions – if you need to be a member of a trade body to do your work, you can claim back against the costs, as you can for any relevant trade journal subscription fees. 

So there you have it. If you aren’t sure, pick up the phone and ask your accountant for advice (better now than the end of the month, when they will be on everyone’s speed dial). Otherwise, check the HMRC website, which thankfully is much better than it has been in previous years and actually contains some useful information you can use.

Happy filing!

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