3 tips to help keep you on top of tax in 2016

Make your annual tax return a breeze with these golden rules.

3 golden rules for staying on top of tax

Make it an easier fill-out with these three golden rules

Being self employed comes with many a benefit; working from home, being your own boss, for example. But it also comes complete with some not-so-glamorous task, like annual tax returns.

The time has come again for you UK readers and whilst we're sure plenty of you have been organised enough to file it already, it might not have been the easiest job. Here are three golden rules to keep on top of your tax, ensuring a smoother ride when it comes to actually filling the thing out.

01. Tax by the job, not per month

This is a brilliant tip if you're just making the leap in to self-employment, and one that will make filing your end-of-year return far easier. Treat each job you've been contracted to do as a separate folder with all of the necessary payment info, expenses and invoicing details tied to a singular job.

02. Go paperless

We're told to keep every scrap of paper, receipt and piece of correspondence, but that’s not a legal necessity. In fact, it can make things more complicated. Instead, get into the habit of detailing all of the main numbers (the bits that HMRC are interested in after all) tied to a job, and keep a single spreadsheet where you can quickly look up all of this detail.

03. Get an accountant

Even if you expect your annual turnover to be less than £10,600 (the UK basic personal allowance for 2015/16) the help of an accountant is always worthwhile, and may not be as expensive as you’d expect. Even if you only have your end-of-year figures reviewed, a good accountant will not only check your sums, but also help you claim back in areas of your business you thought were destined to be added to your bill.

Words: Tom Dennis

Illustration: Becca Allen

This article first appeared inside Computer Arts issue 249, a special issue looking at how to power up your skills as a freelancer and more, on sale here.

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