Streamline Self-Assessment with Tide accounting categories

Working for yourself brings many freedoms, as well as its fair share of responsibilities too. One of these is the requirement to register for Self-Assessment. Whether you’re a self-employed self trader or running your own limited company, you are obligated to file Self Assessment tax return forms annually to HMRC. These can prove complicated to complete with the risk of penalties if you miss the filing deadline. More information on how to avoid penalties with your self-assessment can be found in our Small Business Tips blog.

But, it doesn’t need to be this way and this is why we’re making changes to one of our free Tide features.

As part of our mission to support those who work for themselves, our team is always looking for ways to make your finance admin easier. And so, we’ve made changes to our accounting categories to make it even simpler for our members to label their income and expenditure. You’ll also be able to identify what is and isn’t tax-related.

In this post, we’ll explain what our new categories look like, why we’re changing them and how they will help save our members time with completing Self-Assessment returns.

Table of contents

What are Tide accounting categories and why are we changing them?

One of the great free features within the Tide app is the facility to tag your income and expenditure in order to manage your finances and classify your income and expenditure. This helps you stay in control and see at a glance exactly where your business spend is going. Up until now, we’ve made a list of different labels available in the Tide app and also given members the facility to create their own tags.

While flexibility is always handy, it can also mean that, when it comes to classifying expenditure for reporting purposes – and notably the HMRC Self-Assessment forms, it may actually cause more work than it solves. The categories you’ve created for your income and expenditure may not necessarily translate well into the categories used by HMRC. Consequently, you may spend more time calculating your figures than you need to, not to mention working out what is taxable. This can take up valuable time that could be spent on running your business.

To help streamline Self-Assessment tax return calculations for our members, we’ve decided to give our accounting categories a makeover. 

What do the new accounting categories look like?

Working in collaboration with our accounting partner Sage, we’ve created 26 brand new expense categories. Not only do these contain simple descriptions applicable to all types of income and expenditure to meet the needs of those running their own businesses, but they align with the exact field descriptions listed on the SA103F Self-Assessment form. Details of all the new tags can be found in the table below.

Category name Description SA103F Box No
Income Sales or Turnover 15
Other income Different to normal line of work 16
Hotels and accommodation During business trips 20
Professional fees Accounting, legal and professional fees 28
Bank fees Fees for banking services 26
Bank interest paid Interest paid on an overdraft 25
Operational equipment Purchase or hire of necessary items to carry out your business 17
Fuel Petrol, diesel, gas 20
Insurance Business-related insurance 21
Marketing Advertising and marketing promotion costs 24
Meals Sustenance while on business 20
Office supplies Stationery and printing 23
Phone and internet Office and mobile connections 23
Shipping and postage Postage, freight, couriers 23
Software and IT costs Purchases and subscriptions 23
Staff costs Employee salaries, agency fees and pensions 19
Stock Goods bought to sell 17
Payment to subcontractors Support services 18
Other expenses Any other business expenses, such as memberships and recurring 30
Travel Planes, trains, taxis, bike hire 20
Vehicle maintenance Ongoing upkeep and upkeep of business vehicle 22
Utilities and work premises Rent, rates, power and insurance costs 21

For everything non tax-related we’ve introduced tags. These will allow you to keep your transactions organised and also add trackable information, such as project names and job numbers. Tags are replacing our custom category function, making it easier for you to identify what is and isn’t tax-related.

How will these changes affect our members?

As a Tide member, one of the main advantages you’ll see are that it will be even easier to tag your income and expenditure within the Tide app. You’ll be able to view at a glance exactly where your business expenditure is going. Your transactions can be kept organised by adding trackable information too, such as job numbers and project names.

If you’re one of our thousands of members who utilise our accounting integrations feature to connect to your accounting software for reporting purposes, then this will also make your life easier. Our new categories will align with leading accounting softwares too.

But, the main benefit will be when it comes to Self-Assessment deadline time. Whether you choose to complete your HMRC Self-Assessment form online or by post, the fact that your income and expenditure will already be tagged and classified using the very same category names used by HMRC will save you valuable time.  All allowing you to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love.

Our Small Business Tips blog is packed full of useful information for those who work for themselves, including everything you need to know about the Self-Assessment process and what expenses you can claim for.

Have your say

If you have questions about using accounting categories, send us a message via your Tide app.

Is there an improvement to expense tags you can’t see listed here? We’re always keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Caroline Wire

Caroline Wire

Senior Small Business Copywriter

Subscribe to our FREE business tips newsletter

    I am a:

    By subscribing you agree to receive marketing communications from Tide.
    You can unsubscribe anytime using the link in the footer of any of our emails.
    See our privacy policy.

    Thanks for signing up.

    Related Articles

    Image of Tide card

    A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love.

    Tide is about doing what you love. That’s why we’re trusted by 575,000+ sole traders, freelancers and limited companies throughout the UK.

    Open an account
    Image of App Store 4.7, 27k
    Image of Google Play 4.6, 3.7k