There are roughly two million people on the UK freelancing scene. This figure has grown by 46% since 2008, and freelancers and the self-employed netted the UK purse £271 billion in 2017.
That’s why it’s great to see a day in the calendar that celebrates independent professionals. National Freelancers Day (NFD) is on the 28th of June. Founded by IPSE, it is a nationwide push for more awareness on all aspects of freelancing, with an event that offers some of the best advice, lessons and personal reflections in the sector and culminates in the Freelancer of the Year Award.
If you’re keen to explore what other people have to say about working solo, NFD is certainly a chance to learn about the challenges and opportunities that come with freelancing. But one subject is the most crucial of all: finance, and how to manage it well.
Prepare for the big questions
Freelancers want to talk about money. But financial conversations go far beyond pricing and invoice-chasing. Tax is a huge issue for the self-employed. HMRC want to know precisely what you earn, where it’s coming from, and which expenses are permissible.
So while National Freelancers Day is going to throw up some questions and answers, there are some you can ask yourself, or resolve before entering a tax discussion. Remember – this is a chance to gain wisdom from those like you. In terms of tax, it could be on any of the following subjects:
- What expenses are allowable? If you operate as a sole trader, your Self Assessment tax return should include expenses you believe to be eligible. Acceptance is conditional; often, it can be hard to separate what’s allowable from what’s not, such as calculating the portion of your phone bill for professional calls.
- Is becoming a limited company worth it? You can divide income between a salary and dividends if you’re the director of your company. This can lower your tax bill, paving the way for higher take-home pay.
- When is Making Tax Digital going to affect you? If you haven’t seen the upcoming changes to how we declare income, now is the time to school yourself on the basics of online tax returns. Freelancers will be more than happy to talk about this because it affects everyone, whatever their trade.
Take the preliminary step to success
Alongside the panel discussions and presentations on finance at NFD, it’s worth seeing how SimpleTax can allay some of your concerns.
SimpleTax is a mobile app that calculates your tax bill as you go through the year. Updated in real time, you’ll get a swift, accurate view of your income, expenditure and tax liabilities to make saving for and submitting your Self Assessment simple. But it also suggests where you can cut costs, and the expenses you may be missing.
We’ve seen SimpleTax swell in popularity since its inception. Back in the 2014/15 tax year, the software processed 1,230 Self Assessment returns; two years later, and that number was 6,043, as more people embrace self-employment and digital tax software.
So while you’re getting involved in the conversation around National Freelancers Day, take the time to give your financial plans a workout. And don’t be afraid to explore what tax-friendly resources are already out there.
If you’re a freelancer working through a limited company, SimpleTax can help you file your personal Self Assessment tax return to HMRC. For those that are operating as sole traders, the cloud-based software can help submit your accounts to HMRC, streamlining the process and providing helpful hints and tips as to possible tax savings along the way.