The Most Important Dates For Freelancers and Small Businesses

Important Dates for Small Businesses & Freelancers to Remember

If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, it’s likely you’ll be juggling a heap of responsibilities as well as trying to keep on top of your finances and make sure you’re staying in the tax man’s good books!

We know how stressful it can be to make sure you’re always keeping up to date with your finances as a freelancer or small business owner. That’s why we’ve created this handy roundup of all of the most important dates you need to remember, all in one place. 

Sole traders and Company Directors

If you’re a freelancer or the director of a company it’s important to be aware of the following dates:

  • You must register for self-assessment by 5th of October in the tax year after you start trading.  For example, Start trading on the 25th of September 2020, – the end of the tax year is 5th of April 2021, so register by 5th of October 2021.
  • You must file your online tax return by the 31st of January that occurs after the tax year you’re paying.  Using the same example above: you would need to file your tax return by the 31st of January 2022.
  • If you want HMRC to attempt to collect the tax you owe from your wages or your pension, then you should submit your online tax return by the 30th of December of the following tax year (in our example: 30th of December 2021)
  • If you still submit a paper tax return, the filing deadline is the 31st of October of the following tax year (so using our example, that would be the 31st of October 2021).
  • You must also pay your tax plus your first payment on account of the current year by the 31st of January of the following tax year. (This would also be by the 31st of January 2022 from our example).
  • Your second payment on account for the current tax year is due on the 31st of July. (In our example this would be on the 31st of July 2022).

Limited Companies

Things work slightly differently for limited companies, who have to adhere to the following: 

  • Confirmation Statement Limited companies must file a confirmation statement at least once every 12 months. This is either 12 months from your incorporation date or 12 months from your last confirmation statement.
  • Your Company Tax Return is due 12 months after the end of your accounting period. Your accounting period is usually the same as your financial year end in Companies House. In your first year, your financial year will cover 13 months – and you will need to submit 2 tax returns as they can only cover 12 month periods.
  • You must pay your corporation tax 9 months and 1 day after the end of your accounting period.
  • You must file your company’s annual accounts with Companies House within 9 months of your company’s year-end.  If it is your company’s first year of trading, you have 21 months to file your first year’s accounts.

Companies running payroll using payroll software

If you have employers working for your company who are on payroll, you must do as follows:

  • You must send your Full Payment Summary (FPS) via payroll software before your employees’ pay day.
  • You must give your employees their payslips on or before their payday.
  • You must pay what you owe in PAYE and National Insurance to HMRC before the 22nd of the following month.
  • At the end of the tax year you have until the 31st of May to issue P60s to your employees.
  • If you provide benefits in kind to your employees, you need to report these by the 6th of July.
  • You should pay anything you owe from P11D benefits and expenses by the 22nd of July (or the 19th of July if you submit by paper).

VAT registered businesses

If you’re a VAT registered, it’s crucial that you keep the following important dates for VAT registered businesses in mind: 

  • You must register for VAT if your turnover exceeds £85,000 in any 12 month period OR if you expect your turnover to exceed £85,000 (or if you expect to surpass £85,000 in the next 30 day period).
  • VAT returns need to be filed every 3 months. HMRC will provide you with your filing deadlines. You will usually need to file and pay any VAT owing to HMRC within 1 month and 7 days of the end of your 3 month period. For example, if your VAT periods end in January, April, July & October, you will have to file and pay by 7th March, 7th of June, 7th of September and 7th of December respectively. 

We hope this guide to important dates for small businesses and freelancers will come in handy for you, and take some of the stress away from your process of keeping up-to-date with your finances. It may be a good idea to bookmark this page so you can come back to it whenever you like to check to see if there’s any important dates for your business coming up. 

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