Self-employed tax guidance


Each new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start, and many of us find ourselves with a renewed sense of ambition and motivation. However, for many self-employed people it is also a time of year where they find themselves stressing about the upcoming Self Assessment deadline and tax year end.

Instead of juggling receipts and frantically calculating car mileage, IPSE encourages all self-employed people to be as informed as possible about their finances and create good habits throughout the year to make any tax deadlines go that much smoother. We understand that is often easier said than done, which is why we've compiled all of our tax guidance on this page so that you can find the support you need all in one place. 

Have a question about tax? Call the helpline.

If you're an IPSE member, you have access to all the guidance required to ease the burden of tax, delivered by knowledgeable and friendly taxation experts at Markel Tax. Call the helpline for guidance around any contact from HMRC that isn't clear, tax-related questions, and UK VAT issues.

Need an accountant? Source one from the IPSE Marketplace.

IPSE highly recommends using an accountant if you're self-employed. Check out the IPSE Marketplace where you can find exclusive deals and discounts from our partners, to help save you and your business both time and money.

Watch our latest webinars on tax

IPSE hosts an extensive range of webinars throughout the year. IPSE members can access past webinar recordings, including all of our latest webinars on tax. Watch back to learn more about Making Tax Digital, Self Assessment, and more.

Being tax efficient

Being tax efficient

Every year accountants are met with the mad rush of tax return deadlines with frustrated clients who can’t find the right information. Sadly this can mean that they sometimes miss deadlines and end up having to pay the resulting penalties. The articles below will help offer guidance on how to get ahead of your accounts and the tax benefits of following these simple tips.

How can I be one step ahead of my finances this year?

Integro Accounting share their top tips on the small changes you can make throughout the year to save yourself a lot of time and worry when it comes to meeting your tax return deadlines.

How to trim tax with your pension

In this blog, our friends at Penfold reveal how your pension can help you trim your tax and keep more of your hard-earned money.


Are training courses tax deductible if you're self-employed?

If you’re contracting, consulting, or freelancing, the main concerns about any course or qualification will be the cost, time commitment, and potential benefit to your career. But in many cases, you’ll be able to claim allowable business expenses to offset investing in your skills and knowledge.

Self Assessment

Self Assessment

More than 12m people file a Self Assessment tax return each year, which is almost a fifth of the UK population. They include people of all occupations, trades and backgrounds who work for themselves. 

The start of a new year can be stressful for the self-employed, as they try to complete their tax returns and pay their taxes before the usual submission and payment deadlines of 31st January. Pulling together all of your invoices and receipts from the year can often be challenging when you would much rather be focusing on other aspects of your business. From helping you source an accountant to providing advice on how to be one step ahead of your finances, IPSE is here to make sure you have the information and support you need to ensure that filing your return is as pain-free as possible.

For queries about the paperwork, what to include and exclude, or the implications of the deadline extension, IPSE membership also provides you with free access to our Tax and Contract helpline, staffed with tax experts ready to assist you, just a phone call away.

Do I need to file a Self Assessment tax return?

Many sole traders need to fill out and file a Self Assessment tax return to report taxable income. This guide provides an overview of who must file a Self Assessment tax return and how to register for Self Assessment.

What expenses can I claim working from home?

Now home working has become the new norm for many of us, it is important to be aware of the expenses you might be able to claim for. From utility bills to extras for your home office, here’s a quick guide to what is allowable and how to calculate your costs.

How to claim mileage allowance when you’re self-employed

Whether to pick up supplies, drop off deliveries, see customers or make site visits to quote for jobs, each year many self-employed people rack up thousands of miles on UK roads while running their business. Here's how to claim your mileage allowance.

Is leasing a car tax-deductable when you’re a contractor, freelancer or sole trader?

This guide answers key questions regarding reporting and paying tax when you lease a vehicle for work if you’re a self-employed contractor, freelancer or sole trader.


Tax year end

Tax year end

There are a number of key dates in the tax year for freelancers and contractors. From the self-assessment deadline to your company’s annual Corporation Tax payment and even quarterly VAT returns, a tax obligation is always just around the corner if you work for yourself. 

But one important event in the tax diary that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves is the tax year end. This falls on 5th April every year and is the date on which the UK personal tax year ends, with the new tax year kicking off the following day on 6th April.

Six expert tips for a successful tax year end

With the tax year end coming up on 5th April, here are six tips for a successful tax year end, along with seizing any opportunities that may arise from it.

Tax year end matters – compliantly minimising your tax bill

In this blog, Chris James from JSA outlines how you can compliantly minimise your tax bill as you approach a tax year end, with varying income and expenditure.

Tax year end online


Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the biggest overhaul of the tax filing regime in generations. From 2026, any business, sole trader or landlord with income of over £50,000 will have to file under the Making Tax Digital Rules.

To learn more about Making Tax Digital and digital record keeping, read the blog from our Director of Policy, Andy Chamberlain, and check out our latest webinar with them below. 

Why there's still unanswered questions surrounding MTD

IPSE's Director of Policy, Andy Chamberlain, highlights the unanswered questions surrounding the long-delayed rollout of Making Tax Digital for self assessment.

Read IPSE's Timely Payment Report

This report examines the views of the self-employed in relation to the current payment timings, the proposal of more frequent payment of tax and the proposal of moving from retrospective to in-year tax. It will also assess the benefits and challenges of the current system and how freelancers envisage the proposed reforms will affect their self-employed businesses.

Webinar: Making Tax Digital – the real life implications

In this webinar, Lucy Cohen from Mazuma shares: how to keep digital records, what HMRC will accept under the new MTD rules, and any penalties for non-compliance.


Where next?

Looking for more support?

IPSE Community

Reach out to the IPSE Community for support

Being part of the UK’s largest community of freelancers and self-employed professionals means you have access to a group of likeminded individuals who can provide you with support and advice based on their own experiences. 

There are loads of ways to interact with other members and freelancers - join our LinkedIn and Facebook groups, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and join in at the Community Forum.

IPSE Community Forum

General Self-employed advice

If you're looking for self-employed advice topics other than Tax, we can help.

We have a dedicated advice page to help you navigate directly to specific sections including brexit, coronavirus, business insurances, and ways of working. 

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