Self Assessment: Have you registered yet?

If you're self employed, a sole trader or a partner in a partnership you need to let HRMC know. The deadline for informing them is October 5, so rather than leaving it to the last minute and dashing around like an Apprentice contestant looking for a tie, you should get it in early. Why? Because if you miss the date you could face a hefty fine.

So here's our handy bullet point guide to why you should fill it in and what you need to do.

Why register for self-assessment?

  • If you don't you'll get fined.
  • Before you complete a tax return for the first time, you must register for Self Assessment to give HMRC the information they need to set up the right records for you. This helps to ensure you pay the right amount of tax and national insurance.
  • You need to register as self-employed so that HMRC can send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference number. You'll need this so you can fill in a Self Assessment tax return each year.
  • If you've already completed a tax return and you become self-employed (as a sole trader or partner) you can use the same registration forms to tell HMRC so they can update your tax and National Insurance records.

  • The tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next.  This means if you have tax to pay on profits from your business for the 2010-11 tax year, then you need to let HMRC know by 5 October 2011.

What you need before you register

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your contact details of your address and your businesses
  • Your Unique Taxpayer Reference number
  • The date you became self employed

Where you need to go to register

Registration is just the first step. Once registered, you will need to complete a tax return. You must keep proper records of your business transactions for HMRC: keeping on top of your books is essential in order to keep on top of your taxes.

You can make the record-keeping process even easier using financial management software such as QuickBooks where you can file your self-assessment tax return online direct with HMRC in just a few clicks.

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