It’s the time of year every freelancer dreads; Self Assessment season. Time to dig out all those old invoices and expenses, dust off those ancient bank statements and tell HMRC how much money you owe them.

For first-time freelancers, completing a Self Assessment tax return can be a daunting prospect. For many freelancing veterans, it’s part of the financial furniture.

To help out those worrisome first-timers (or just those who need to brush up on their tax return skills) we’ve put together a dead-simple 5-step guide to completing your Self Assessment. Something you’re not sure about? Leave a comment on the relevant article below and our awesome community of tax-savvy freelancers will do their best to help you out.

1. Registering with HMRC for Self Assessment

The first step to successful Self Assessment is to make sure you need to submit one, and then registering with HMRC to do so. Need to know what a UTR is, and how to get one? This is the section for you.

2. Keeping your records properly

The key to submitting an on-time and accurate Self Assessment is keeping proper financial records. In this section we’ll explain how and why you should record your income in certain ways, to ease your tax burden further down the line.

3. When should I complete my Self Assessment?

Timing is key – should you wait until the evening before the deadline to file your tax return (hint: no)? Here we explain why, much like the early metaphorical bird catches the worm, the early Self Assessor catches the financial benefit.

4. Completing your Self Assessment

With all your preparation behind you, here we explain the best way to actually complete the dreaded forms.

5. What will happen if I file my Self Assessment late?

If the worst should happen and you are late submitting your tax return, what will your punishment be?