5 things the self-employed need to know for 2017

The last 12 months have been eventful for the self-employed, but it’s now time to start looking towards the year ahead.

From funding and employment changes to the latest in technology, 2017 could prove to be a big year for UK small business.

We’ve taken a look at five need-to-know things for the year ahead.

1. Sorting your taxes

Unfortunately, one of the first things you need to think about in 2017 is tax. 31 January is the deadline for filing your income tax return for 2015/16 and paying your tax bill.

Your payment will need to include the first instalment for the 2016/17 tax year if you’re on the ‘payment on account’ system. The second instalment will need to be paid by 31 July.

Note that as of April 2017, the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500.

2. Your self-assessment

As well as paying tax, you need to make sure you’re registered for self-assessment and ready to file your tax return.

If you filled in a self-assessment tax return for 2016, then you won’t need to re-register. However, if 2016 was your first year, or if you didn’t fill one in for whatever reason - if you ceased trading for a period of time, for example - then you will need to register by 5 October.

The deadline for filing your tax return will then be 31 October for paper tax returns, or 31 January 2018 if you file your tax return online.

3. Tech changes that could help your business

Developments in technology - and specifically those that could boost your business - continue to expand, and 2017 looks set to provide the self-employed with all sorts of interesting avenues to explore.

Whether your business model could jump on board with the Internet of Things, benefit from marketing in AR and VR, or if distributed working is just going to make things that bit easier, check out our list of technology trends for 2017 that will change your business to get a better idea of what you can expect in the coming year.

Will you be turning your attention to any of the latest tech?

4. Universal Credit - are you eligible?

When Universal Credit was rolled out, it was billed as a way of helping the self-employed supplement their income while getting set up.

There are some drawbacks, however, in that you must provide extensive documentation in order to qualify, otherwise you may be required to seek alternative employment if you want to receive Universal Credit.

If you’re considering going down this route you may want to check what criteria you need to meet and perhaps pick up part-time work instead while your business is in its infancy.

Universal Credit is being rolled out in phases, so it’s worth noting that at the start of 2017, you will only be eligible for Universal Credit as self-employed if you live in:

  • Bath
  • Bridgwater
  • Croydon
  • Frome
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Hammersmith
  • Harrogate
  • Hounslow
  • Inverness
  • Lancaster
  • Lowestoft
  • Morecambe
  • Musselburgh
  • Newcastle
  • Purley
  • Richmond
  • Runcorn
  • Rugby
  • Ryedale
  • Southwark
  • Sutton
  • Thornton Heath
  • Wells
  • Widnes

5. Get access to funding

In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond said he planned to invest £400 million in the British Business Bank in order to give small companies the chance to grow - but how can the self-employed actually access that?

Well, as it turns out, lending to small businesses is currently at an all-time high, so you may find that going through the traditional route for business funding might not be as difficult as recent economic changes might suggest.

On top of that, the Treasury announced a scheme earlier this year that would allow small business owners who’ve been turned down for a loan to secure alternative finance through one of three platforms.

If you want to know more about securing small business funding through the British Business Bank then check out their website for what they have on offer.

What are your business plans for 2017? Let us know in the comments

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