Tax for the self-employed Tax returns and paperwork for the self-employed
There’s plenty of paperwork if you’re self-employed, and it’s important to keep your records straight.
If you've been in business for a while, you'll be sent them; if not, as with all supplementary pages, you should apply for them – contact HM Revenue & Customs (0845 9000 404) or download them from the HMRC website.
Keeping good records is vital
Information you give on your tax return must be based on your accounts and other records of your business dealings.
You must keep these accounts and records for at least five years from 31 January following the relevant tax year in case HMRC wishes to inspect them and query your return.
The 2012-13 tax year
So for the 2012-13 tax year, this means you must keep records until 31 January 2019. Failure to do this could cost you a £3,000 fine. And you might want to keep them for 20 years, given that this is the time limit for an HMRC investigation if it suspects fraud.
HMRC has the powers to visit your premises and inspect your books at any time, so it is vital to keep good records.
For more information, get the following HMRC leaflets:
- SA/BK4: Self-assessment – a general guide to keeping records
- HS222: How to calculate your taxable profit
- HS227: Losses
- SE1: Are you thinking of working for yourself?
- SA103S: Self-employment supplementary pages (short)
- SA103F: Self-employment supplementary pages (full)