If you intend to submit a self-assessment tax return but haven’t done so yet, you need to get your skates on – the deadline is the 31st of January. You’re already too late to file a paper tax return, but follow our simple guide to get to grips with the online submission.
According to HMRC, you’ll need to send a tax return if, in the last tax year if:
Certain other people may need to send a return (for example religious ministers or Lloyd’s underwriters) – you can check whether you need to. You usually won’t need to send a return if your only income is from your wages or pension.
Most of you will already have an online account with the HMRC. If not, you really need to set one up as soon as possible because it can take up to a week to receive your activation code. Leave yourself time to complete your submission – it takes longer than you might think – but remember you can save an unfinished submission and come back to it if necessary.
Before you start your return, you will need to gather all the necessary documents. For many of you, that will be a P60 form that shows your income and the tax you’ve paid, along with a P11D or P9D that shows benefits and expenses. Then you’ll need details of any interest you’ve earned on bank accounts or building societies, plus any other income including investments, income from trusts, and any taxable benefit. In short, you need to declare everything you earned between 6 April 2016 and 5 April 2017 even including anything that should be tax-free like Isas. This is where having a dedicated business account is a real timesaver.
Once you have all your income, you need to have details of your outgoings and expenses, as many of these will be tax deductible. This is a crucial way of lowering your tax bill, particularly if you are self-employed. They can include everything from travel expenses to stationary. You can find a handy guide if you’re self-employed here.
Don’t stress. Helping people file their tax returns is part of our service and we’re used to it. If you need a helping hand, or some impartial advice, contact us as soon as possible and we’d be glad to assist. We know exactly what you can claim, and can help out with the submission itself if it comes to it. Give us a call on 01208 74615 and you know we’ll do our best for you.
If it was a bit of a mad panic this year, learn from it. Don’t waste your time hunting down files of receipts, or trying to figure out which spreadsheet is accurate. We strongly recommend moving to cloud accounting, if you haven’t already done so. Solutions such as Xero make tax returns a piece of cake, and make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises along the way. We’re Xero Gold Partners, and proud cloud accounting specialists, so contact us and let us guide you through the process.
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