As the Self Assessment deadline of the 31st January 2020 is fast-approaching, here are our top tips to stay organised and submit your personal tax return on time.
Six steps to last minute tax returns
1. Collect your tax information early
For all communication with HMRC you will need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). You should have received this when you first registered for self assessment and you will often find it on any communication from the tax office. If this is your first year of Self Assessment or you can’t find your UTR contact HMRC today – it can often take up to two weeks to receive your UTR through the post.
2. Find your paperwork and keep it safe
To complete your personal tax return (or pass it on to an accountants like us to submit) you will need some key data and information. This is likely to differ for every person, but some of the things you may need are:
- Employment – you will need your turnover, costs and profit from your self employed income. This will come from your bank statements, sales invoices, receipts for any expenses and other information relevant to your business. If you have actually been employed you will also need your P60 or P45.
- Rental Income – if you have a property you let and the income is above £1000, this needs to be declared to HMRC (even if you don’t make a profit). You will want all of your income, expenditure and agreements to hand.
- Savings – If you have any savings, pensions and dividends you will need any proof, certificates and information for these as well.
- Other – If you received any other taxable benefits such as private medical insurance, you need your P11d.
3. Know the rules, make the claims
Without the proper knowledge on what you can and can’t claim on your personal tax return you could end up paying much more tax than you have to.
Did you know you can claim expenses for working from home (even if you just raise invoices or do paperwork there) and other costs such as mileage?
4. Log your expenses
You will be surprised how many people forget about, or do not claim certain business costs which could reduce their personal tax bill. You will be spending this money anyway, so why not claim it against your business.
Depending on your industry there will be a large number of different costs which you can claim and ultimately anything which you need to run your business is often a deductible expense in one way or another. This may include; stationery, postage, phone calls, travel, advertising or marketing, legal and even accountancy fees.
If you log all of these from the start and continue to do so it will be much easier to track when it comes to your self assessment tax return. If you’re unsure if something may be counted as an expense, please ask us or you can contact the HMRC self-assessment helpline.
5. Submit your tax return
Once you have all of the information and you are happy with the figures you have inputted you will need to submit your personal tax return. You will do this through the HMRC website and you will need your Government Gateway login to hand.
Alternatively – keep it simple and pass us the figures and we will file on their behalf.
6. Don’t forget to pay
Perhaps the most important part, but often the hardest – paying your tax bill if any is due. Whilst your return must be submitted by the 31st January, your payment must have also reached HMRC by that day. If you pay by a debit card this is usually instant however it is often wise to allow an extra day. If you pay by BACS or direct debit, this can can take up to three days (or five days if this is the first time you have paid HMRC by direct debit). Once you have paid, it will take between three and six days to see your payment on the electronic HMRC system.
Depending on the amount payable, we may be able to lower the payments on accounts required for next year, and if under £3,000 possibly elect for HMRC to take this from over a period of time via your tax code rather than pay the cost now upfront.
What if you are due a tax rebate?
If you believe you have paid too much tax, the best way to start the claim process is to request online at https://www.gov.uk/claim-tax-refund. Whilst the HMRC system should pick this up automatically, it is always best to give them a little nudge by using the above form.
That is it, 6 tips for making your tax returns as simple as possible. Of course, the easiest way of them all is to contact us and we can do all the hard work for you. But we understand that is not always an option. If you would like to talk through your tax return you can contact us on 01603 617361 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.