If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably left your tax self-assessment return to the very last minute. Perhaps you’re even worse than me and didn’t realise the Self Assessment submission deadline is midnight on the 31st January! But it is fast upon us and most of us avoid it until we really have to face it; last year, 33,000 people filed in the final hour, while a staggering 840,000 people missed the deadline altogether. If it’s late, HMRC delivers a straight £100 fine; with even more penalties if it continues to be missed.
You get the idea. It’s a faff but it needs to be done. To avoid getting stressed, I’ve teamed up with SimpleTax to share lots of expert advice and tips on filling in your tax return properly as a blogger. Make sure you read to the bottom of the post so you can claim a 14 day completely free trial (bank details not needed) of SimpleTax to help you fill in your return with zero effort!
If you’ve earned a penny from your blog, then you need to register (do this here). However, you pay tax a year behind-so if you earned money from your blog between April 2016-April 2017 then you’ll need to submit a return. If you’ve started earning after April 2017, then still register but you’re off the hook until 2019 (although early birds can do this from April 2018) Come back and read this then or read on to be super-prepared!
-Explore which expenses you’re entitled to, as well as the forms you’ll have to fill in. Expenses for bloggers can include…
But be careful- you’ll need to be able to prove it’s led to you making money. So, no you can’t claim a Primark haul for a Youtube video, but if you’ve gone to a blogger event to meet brands, you can absolutely claim tickets to the event and travel, since it’s helped secure further work!
Keep a log of all your expenses to save on tax owed!
–Know what paperwork your income requires – whether it’s self-employed paperwork or you are also a landlord; it is going to save hours of potential panic. Make sure these are available in the software you’re using to file. If you have another job, you’ll need a P60 to input how much tax you paid for that (tip: if you can’t find it, HMRC can provide you with this info)
-Compile receipts and match them to bank statements, ensuring you have all the evidence you need to back up your expense claims. Don’t panic if you can’t find receipts, reasonable evidence (like a regular payment going out of your bank each month for something like Canva) should suffice. BUT each £100 receipt lost can mean an extra £29 of tax to pay-so be savvy!
– Use cloud software, , to eliminate the need for an accountant. Bloggers don’t often earn a full-time wage so this can help save an accountant’s fee (the average being £250). SimpleTax is such an easy to use piece of software that analyses what you owe, cross-reference against your information, identify eligible expenses and provide the relevant forms for Self Assessment, as well as checking your return for errors and sending it straight to HMRC, avoiding any stress!!
Finally, this is a question I see asked a lot. If you are specifically gifted an item in lieu of payment, then yes technically it needs to be declared. So if you are in agreement with a brand to write one blog post in exchange for £100 worth of clothes, you’ll need to add those to income. However, if you are gifted items or sent ‘blogger mail’ without any formal arrangement or promised coverage, then these count as gifts and don’t need to be declared.
SimpleTax is designed to make it really easy to complete your Self Assessment, even if you’re not an expert. Created by GoSimple Software and recognised by HMRC, it streamlines the Self Assessment process and provides all the forms you needed to declare your earnings, with helpful tips along the way on things like expenses you might not have claimed! All my readers can try a 14 day trial of SimpleTax so give it a go today (no bank details are needed to sign-up) and get your self-assessment submitted stress-free and on time.
This post is in collaboration with SimpleTax
ENJOYED THIS POST?
Keep updated with The Bloglancer’s latest posts, get FREE blogging resources-including a 30-day blogging challenge AND a guide to getting overdue invoices paid-along with opportunities to work with brands and tons of blogging tips. Sign up here.