Self Employment Registration And The Self Assessment Tax Return Form
By: Terry Cartwright
There is no strict definition of self employment as opposed to not being self employed however the basic rule is if you have income other than is taxed under the paye system then you may be self employed. If this income is irregular and not part of an ongoing business then you are probably not self employed as such. An alternative to registering as self employed would be to request the Inland Revenue to issue a tax return and declare the additional untaxed income under the category of any other income.
The first action by anyone self employed in business in regard to his self assessment tax return is to register that self employment with the Inland Revenue. Self employment must be registered within three months of starting business to avoid a late registration penalty fine of 100 pounds. Not all income outside the paye system is considered to be self employment.
If the income is received on a regular basis or is income from a recognisable business or repeated activity then it is likely that business would be classed as self employed. And being self employed you do need to register for self employment within three months as a consequence of which you would receive an inland revenue self assessment tax return to complete each year. If you have any doubts about the status of the income being taxable as any other income or under the self assessment tax return then you should contact the Inland Revenue helpline for further advice.
Completing the self assessment tax return is not difficult although many people who are self employed prefer to leave the task to a tax accountant. While many items on the self assessment tax return involve details of income and expenses which require little knowledge of accounting there are areas which require some understanding of the tax system.
The inland revenue self assessment tax return can be completed if the accompanying notes are read thoroughly and those notes that are sent out each year with the tax return are understood and changes from the previous year noted. Most of the notes are quite straight forward although to anyone inexperienced in tax matters the sections on capital tax allowances can appear daunting.
The self assessment tax return form consists of 4 supplementary pages which are attached to the main annual tax return. The return is broken down into various sections of business details, capital allowances, income and expenditure, tax adjustments and finally a balance sheet section which is optional.
The business details section of the self assessment tax return form is quite straight forward registering the name, address, description of the business and the relevant accounting dates. It is recommended that new start up businesses submit their first accounts from the date of commencement to the end of the tax year being 5 April.
If you are self employed then you can choose not to adopt the standard financial tax year of 6 April to 5 April although this is not recommended. By choosing a different tax year to the standard financial year the accounts will cross over more than one tax year and in doing so if the tax rules have changed which they do frequently then more than one set of tax rules could be applicable. And if more than one set of tax rules is applicable then individual entries in the accounts become time sensitive.
Terry Cartwright, qualified accountant and CEO at DIY Accounting, designs accounting software that automates the Self Assessment Tax Return http://www.diyaccounting.co.uk/selfemployed.htm producing an excel copy of the Tax Return at http://www.diyaccounting.co.uk/Selfemployed/selfassessment.htm
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