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How to Fill in Your UK Self Assessment Tax Return

Updated on May 22, 2017
Sara Millis profile image

Sara works at My Indie Life Blog where she helps makers and creatives turn their hobby into business.


Don't feel daunted!

Completing your tax forms can be daunting as a sole trader and tax legislation can vary widely from country to country, but the basic annual, or monthly preparations for small businesses and sole traders are the same the world over... it's all in your organisation!

I'm going to focus on preparing for a UK tax season today.

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Your first Self Assessment Tax Return

This video...

Will walk you through completing your first tax return, with information on who can use the service, inputting your personal details and submitting your return. It also gives guidance on checking if you need to complete a tax return, signing into your online account and checking & filing your tax return.

So How Do I Plan for My Tax Return?

Planning for your tax return is something you can do every day, week and month of the financial year and it’s actually pretty simple. It comes down to having simple systems in place.

Systems can record income and expenses.

These same systems can also help you to create; budgets, business plans and forward sales projections, all of which are essential even for the smallest of businesses.

Planning now will help you avoid late tax returns and make better choices for your business going forward.

Let’s look at my checklist of tools;


Accounting Preparation Checklist

  • Carry with you a journal and pen: Make no mistake this simple system will help you keep all of those important 'notes to self' about meetings, expenses and so on in one handy place. You can use this to match up receipts and explain costs for your accountant (if you have one).
  • Wall Charts and Calendar Alerts: Wherever you work, find a small space ideally at eye level to put up a wall chart calendar. Highlight key dates for accounting when you are planning your work schedule. You will be reliant on this when your workload grows, as important dates have a way of creeping up on you!
  • Good Filing: It never ceases to amaze me how many people still keep their receipts in a shoe box and just hope that everything will be easy to work out when it comes to file! Make sure that you up your game and start a filing system that is split into expenses and income, then by supplier and income stream. This will help you to find invoices quickly if you need them and uncover exactly how much you are spending annually with key providers and suppliers.
  • Collecting Receipts: How many times did you fill up your car and forget to ask for the receipt, or pay cash in hand for food when working a trade show? Don’t worry you aren’t alone, we have all done it. However, these costs mount up and should be accounted for in your tax return. Remember to collect those receipts, even if you have to ask the supplier to write your payment on the back of their business card!
  • The Power of a Good Spread Sheet Set Up: I use Excel, because it is quick and easy to set up, but there are a number of other options out there. Recording all of your income and expense data will help you with tax filling and planning for budgets.

Don't forget!

Don’t forget if you are UK based then the HMRC offers courses and learning support at

You can also call the tax office if you need help, I have found them to be very helpful when I have needed clarification.

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© 2017 Sara Millis


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