Having been self-employed for many years, I can tell you that the most stressful time for me is the weeks approaching the 31st January deadline to submit my tax return. That is....until I hired an accountant to do the job for me! However, let's rewind a few years back, and lets see how I coped (or didn't!) doing a tax return on my own.
First off, I didn't even bother to research just how a Self Assessment tax return "works" - what it entails, and how it is paid. And so, upon completing my first tax return and seeing the caclulation of the money I owed to the taxman, I was thoroughly confused. It looked like they had got it wrong. I seemed to be paying far too much tax. You might guess my mistake: I didn't realise that there is also future tax that is paid to cover the following year (really, it's the current year that I am working, but the next tax return has that money paid toward it). So...much confusion and stress caused by my ignorance.
Anyway, I persevered for another year. About three months after I paid my second year's tax return, I got a letter from the HMRC. According to the letter, they had found a strange anomaly in my previous tax return: I had claimed I was exempt from paying NIC class 4 contributions. I was also confused! I knew I had to pay those, so why did I receive this letter? Having looked at my last tax return, I had inadvertently ticked the box saying I was exempt from paying the class 4 contributions. I quickly called the HMRC and clarified I was NOT exempt from this contributions and paid over the phone. Again, this just lead me to feelings of stress and doubt - had I missed anything else?
Finally, I relented and found a local accountant to do my returns for me. Not only did I feel a lot less stressed about my returns, but my accountant gave me some great advice on how to collate my income and outgoings, actually saving me days of time each year.
My advice is - leave it to the experts. Even if you have perfect knowledge of the SA tax return online forms, they are always changing and it's hard to keep on top of the changes. One mistake, and you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Article kindly provided by johnshackleton.net