If you’re self-employed and earn variable income, you’ll need to submit a Self Assessment tax return. This system helps you report your earnings to determine how much you owe in income tax. 

Still, there are advantages and disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system. It’s important to be aware of these flaws and strengths so you can approach your Self Assessment tax return like a pro.  

This guide will discuss the Self Assessment tax system, including: 

  • The advantages of the Self Assessment tax system
  • The disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system
  • How to prepare your finances to make the most of it

The advantages of the Self Assessment tax system

The Self Assessment system allows you to report your income to the HMRC with a straightforward process. It offers some valuable advantages that help you manage your tax reporting. 

It’s convenient and accessible 

Filing a Self Assessment tax return is easy and convenient to do online as it lets you save your progress and return to it. The form will calculate your taxes based on the income you report. So, you only need accurate financial records. You can fill out the form online, use software, or submit paper forms. 

Overall the Self Assessment process is accessible for all self-employed persons, whether you submit it online or through the mail. In addition, the system speeds up your tax reporting process and helps you along the way. 

The HMRC will tell you what you owe as soon as you submit. It will also let you know if you are due a tax return. Plus, you can choose to pay your tax expenses using direct debit, so you don’t forget to make a payment. 

You only need to register for Self Assessment beforehand, which you can do here

It’s safe and secure 

In addition to ease and convenience, the Self Assessment tax system is safe and secure. Your private information and financial data is held securely through the HMRC. As a result, you don’t have to worry about sharing your information with untrustworthy eyes. 

You’re in control 

When submitting a Self Assessment tax return, you’re in control of your reporting. As long as you maintain accurate financial records and track your income and expenses, you can do yours correctly. 

This independence means you don’t need to use an accountant to file with the Self Assessment tax system. You can complete the process entirely yourself, which can save you money during the tax process.   

The disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system

Though there are advantages, there are also disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system, which are useful to know about. With these disadvantages in mind, you can plan for a smooth tax reporting process. 

Can make mistakes and inaccuracies 

Though the Self Assessment form can be convenient, you can still make mistakes or report inaccuracies. If you’re not a natural in financial accounting, maintaining clear records can be challenging. With that said, you could record the wrong income or submit minor errors, leading to significant problems. 

The HMRC can spot these mistakes, which can lead to more taxes and penalty fees, so you should try to be accurate and correct in your reporting. 

Can miss deductions 

You could also miss valuable information that can reduce your taxes. For example, you could miss tax-deductible business expenses. If you forget these expenses, or fail to keep proof of them, you will have to pay more, which can hurt your finances. 

Can be challenging to do it yourself 

Overall, doing your own Self Assessment tax return is a big responsibility. You’ll need to prioritise your tax reporting year-round to promote accuracy. Plus, hiring an accountant will help you better understand the process and do it properly. Relying on a professional can help you avoid overpaying or facing penalties. Ultimately, the right preparations can set you up for a successful tax reporting experience. 

How to prepare your finances to make the most of it

Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system, you can plan for success. 

Accurate reporting 

To file your Self Assessment tax return correctly, you need transparent and updated finances. With strong management, you can remain aware of how much you spend and earn for your business. As a result, you’ll report accurate income and track tax-deductible expenses. So, try to prioritise financial organisation into your daily timetable, and set aside time each week for strong financial accounting.

Business current account 

A great way to improve your financial organisation is by opening a business current account, which is just like a regular bank account, except for your business. Using a business current account for your finances will help you separate them from your personal ones. As a result, you can avoid confusing these transactions for more accurate records. 

Accounting software

On top of a business current account, the right accounting software can help you manage your finances. Unlike most software, the Countingup app combines a business account with accounting software. It’s the trusted financial app for over 40,000 business owners, and it allows you to manage your finances in one place. 

With Countingup, you can simplify your record-keeping and tax process. With automatic expense categorisation, the app will label your payments with HMRC approved categories. This feature helps you find tax-deductible expenses. On top of this, the app generates cash flow insights to help track your earnings.

The Countingup app also offers ongoing tax estimates, so you won’t be surprised when it’s time to file. The app is also Making Tax Digital compliant, helping to digitise the tax process. It automatically calculates VAT on your transactions. Plus, you can share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Simplify your tax reporting process and more with Countingup

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the Self Assessment tax system will help you prepare for accurate tax reporting. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Rated ‘Excellent’ on TrustPilot, Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.