Self-employed accounting guide

Being self-employed means that you run a business of one, so HMRC expects you to make sure that your personal finances don't get mixed with your business costs and revenue.

What you need to do:

1. Register as a sole trader

Here's a step-by-step guide to registering as self-employed.

You might also want to read the most common questions related to setting up as a sole trader here.

2. Choose an accounting method

When you register as self-employed, you are given the option between cash basis and traditional accounting.

We recommend just ticking "cash basis" as it's the easiest: you simply track what goes in and out of your bank account.

3. Set up a business bank account

It makes bookkeeping much easier, and you also need it if you ever want to take a business loan.

4. Record income and expenses correctly

You don’t need to show documents when you file your tax return, but HMRC will ask for them if they ever audit you.

You must keep records for 5 years (for each year).

5. Look into registering for VAT

You should register only if:

  • You're planning on making over £85,000 (the VAT threshold), and
  • You want to reclaim VAT on eligible expenses.

6. Submit your tax return before January 31st each year

For example: the tax year is April 6th 2017 to April 5th 2018, so you have until January 31st 2019 to submit your tax return.

You must also pay by the same deadline and you might have to pay up to 150% the first time - read more about Payments on Account here.

Need help with your tax return?

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How TaxScouts works

Simple online tax assessment

1. Simple online tax assessment

Our online tax-bot will go over your tax situation and will make sure you won’t overpay your taxes.

Chat to human advisors

2. Chat to human advisors

You can talk to one of our tax assistants at any time during the process when you have any questions.

We’ll sort your documents online

3. We’ll sort your documents online

We’ll tell you exactly what documents you need and sort them for you online. You just upload them or snap a picture with your phone.

Everything gets prepared for you

4. Everything gets prepared for you

Your certified accountant will go over your details & prepare your tax return for you to review. It will be filed on your behalf once you approve it.

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Who our service is for

First time tax filers

We have a simple online service that guides you through the entire process. Regardless of your reasons for doing your tax return we'll help you get it done right.

Construction workers

We'll prepare your self assessment and help to maximise your CIS tax refund. We have the lowest fees in the industry and you don't have to pay up front if you're eligible for a refund.

People living overseas

Our service allows people living abroad to prepare their income tax return online. We are able to process all returns regardless of your current country of residence.

Company directors

UK company directors are required to file their self assessment annually. TaxScouts handles this through a simple online process.


Long Lets, Airbnb, Capital Gains. TaxScouts will sort out your self assessment and take away the worry of tracking all the recent tax changes.


TaxScouts ensures the self employed don't overpay on their taxes. We'll help you benefit from all the tax breaks and deductions that can be applied to your return.

And for everyone else who needs to do their self assessment

At TaxScouts we appreciate that tax returns are highly individual. Before you get assigned an accountant we make sure to understand your circumstances and help you build your optimal tax profile.

Let's start by creating your account

What happens next

  • We'll ask you a couple of short questions
  • Then we'll tell you what documents we need
  • Finally one of our qualified accountants will file your tax return
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