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The online deadline for self-assessment tax returns is now just weeks away, and time is running out for self-employed and freelance workers to submit their documentation. Unlike last year, when the Government offered a sabbatical on late submission and payment fines, late return this year is likely to lead to penalties of £100 or more.

It can be a complicated process, particularly for new businesses just starting out, so here are our top tips for getting it right:

Start early

It’s never too soon to begin keeping track of your business expenses. Setting up a spreadsheet or using accounting software throughout the year will put you in a much better position when deadline day rolls around.  It may be too late for this year but start 2023 with good accounting habits and your future self will thank you!

Make a note of deadlines

Missing the self-assessment tax return deadline could be costly with a £100 immediate penalty for late return, increasing after three months. The deadline for paper returns is 31st October, earlier than the online returns of 31st January (which can be easier to complete and track); make a note of these dates and set reminders in advance to give yourself ample time to get prepared.

Check, and double-check

Mistakes happen, but an error on your tax return could lead to serious consequences if overlooked. There can be severe penalties for false claims, and even prosecution for failure to declare income.  It’s important to take your time when filling out your self-assessment, take care inputting your figures and double-check everything before hitting the submit button. If you do realise you’ve made a mistake, you often get twelve months from 31st January to the end of the tax year to rectify it.

Ask for help

Getting professional support may feel costly, but you will gain the confidence in knowing that everything has been done correctly, and nothing is missed – that support could be invaluable if you’re new to self-assessment or want to have that extra measure of comfort.

We understand that self-assessment tax returns can be complicated, and the financial implications of any subsequent investigation can be massive. Arc Legal offers Tax Protection, both as part our Family Legal Expenses Insurance solution, Tradesman offering, or as a stand-alone product.

This cover includes a dedicated Tax Helpline manned by a team of accountants who can help policyholders with their tax queries. We will also pay accountants fees and cover the customer’s legal fees if they are subject to investigative action by Inland Revenue & HM Customs and Excise investigations.

Richard Finan, Director of Strategic Development, Arc Legal Group

Find out more about Arc Legal’s Tax Protection cover here, or contact your Partnerships Manager or email

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