United Kingdom flag

Running your own business as a sole trader is an exciting venture, but it comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it’s time to deal with taxes. In the UK, understanding and filing sole trader returns can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it can become a straightforward task. This article aims to demystify the process of filing returns for sole traders, ensuring you’re well-informed and prepared. Plus, discover how Contend, your AI legal assistant, can simplify this process even further.

Understanding Sole Trader Status in the UK

Before diving into the specifics of sole trader returns, it’s crucial to grasp what being a sole trader entails. In the UK, a sole trader is someone who runs their own business as an individual. It’s the simplest form of business structure, but it comes with full responsibility for debts and financial obligations.

The Basics of Sole Trader Returns

Sole trader returns refer to the annual self-assessment tax return that individuals must file with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This process involves reporting your business’s income, expenses, and ultimately calculating the tax you owe.

Need help filing your sole trader tax return? Chat with an expert now!

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Your Returns

Filing your sole trader returns doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth process:

  1. Register with HMRC: If you haven’t already, you need to register as self-employed with HMRC. This will get you into the system and ready to file your returns.
  2. Keep Accurate Records: Throughout the financial year, maintain detailed records of your income and expenses. This is crucial for accurate tax calculations.
  3. Understand Your Allowable Expenses: Not all business expenses can be deducted from your income. Familiarize yourself with what’s allowable to ensure you’re claiming correctly.
  4. Complete Your Self-Assessment Tax Return: Using your records, fill out your tax return. This can be done online via the HMRC website, which is the most efficient method.
  5. Calculate Your Tax Bill: After submitting your return, HMRC will calculate how much tax and National Insurance you owe. Ensure you have funds set aside to cover this.

Key Deadlines and Penalties

It’s vital to be aware of the key deadlines for filing your returns and making payments. The tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th, and you have until January 31st the following year to submit your return and pay your tax bill. Missing these deadlines can result in penalties, so it’s important to stay on top of these dates.

Need help understanding what expenses you can claim?
Consumer: sole trader returns

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Many sole traders find certain aspects of filing their returns challenging. Here are some common issues and tips on how to tackle them:

  • Understanding Taxable Income: It can be tricky to determine what counts as taxable income. Consider consulting with a tax advisor or using resources like Contend to get clear answers.
  • Calculating Expenses: Keeping track of all your expenses and knowing what you can claim is essential. Use accounting software or apps to simplify this process.
  • Meeting Deadlines: Life can get busy, and it’s easy to lose track of deadlines. Set reminders for yourself or use a calendar specifically for your business tasks.
Need help figuring out what counts as taxable income for your business? Chat with an expert now!

How Contend Can Help

At Contend, we understand that dealing with legal and tax matters can be overwhelming for sole traders. That’s where our AI legal assistant comes in. Contend provides personalized guidance, helping you navigate the complexities of sole trader returns with ease. Chat with our AI legal expert, and get clear, reliable answers to your tax questions in minutes.

The Future of Legal Assistance

Contend is revolutionizing the way sole traders access legal and tax information. Our platform is designed to simplify the process, providing you with the knowledge and confidence to handle your returns accurately and efficiently.

How can I simplify my sole trader tax returns with Contend?


Filing sole trader returns is a crucial aspect of running your business in the UK. By understanding the process, keeping accurate records, and utilizing resources like Contend, you can tackle this task with confidence. Remember, staying informed and seeking guidance when needed can make all the difference in managing your taxes effectively.

Ready to Simplify Your Tax Returns?

Don’t let the thought of filing your sole trader returns overwhelm you. Contend is here to provide the support and guidance you need. Chat now with our AI legal expert and take the first step towards hassle-free tax filing.

For more info, check out some of our related articles:

Check if Contend can help you with your issue

Solve your legal question quickly
and easily with Contend.

This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.