Your self-assessment tax return is due…are you ready?

Knowledge base from Boox

By Lynne Gowers on 7th January 2015

Your self-assessment tax return is due…are you ready?

With the deadline looming for the annual self-assessment tax return – it’s Saturday January 31st for anyone who needs reminding – for those who have been brushing the chore under the carpet for the past few weeks, or even months, it’s time to face the music.

Should you fail to submit your tax return by the deadline or pay any outstanding tax, then you are looking at a fixed fine of £100 (interest will also be added on if you have any arrears) – what better motivation is there to start the process? After all it’s the new year and the perfect time to organise yourself.

With this in mind, we have some advice on how to ensure that your tax returns are completed in time.

Your self-assessment tax return is due

Time is of the essence

While January 31st is still a few weeks away, it is really paramount that you prioritise submitting your tax return. While it must now be done online (the deadline for a paper submission was October 31st 2014), it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will go through smoothly. You need to ensure that you have all relevant financial information that may be required to action the tax return, and if there is anything missing then this can obviously hinder your chances of completing it early.

Also, to actually be able to submit your tax return online you must have previously registered with HMRC online services, and received an activation code in the post. This process in itself can take up to 10 days to be completed, which is yet another reason as to why you must get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Ruth Owen, HMRC director general of personal tax, highlighted this: Give yourself plenty of time to resolve any problems and if you need to call us, do it now, as our phone lines get much busier as the 31 January deadline approaches.…

What information is required?

One of the most confusing parts about filing your tax return is to actually be prepared and know what information is needed. By organising yourself before you begin filling it out, you will be in a much better position and are more likely to find that it runs smoothly.

First of all, you must ensure that you have all the details of what you have earned over the past tax year, including expenses which can be deducted from your taxable profits. It is also important that you can state whether or not you are over the VAT registration threshold – this comes in at £81,000 for the previous tax year.

Bank statements, building society passbooks, dividend counterfoils, personal pension contributions certificates should also be collected together for the information. Profit or loss accounts, business records of receipts and expenses are also important to use when filling in your tax return this month.

For this you do need some really great organisational skills and if you do end up in a panic over the next week trying to find all of these bits of information, then take it onboard and ensure you make a conscious effort to stay abreast of your financial affairs.

What are my options for paying?

There are a variety of ways in which you can pay for your outstanding tax.

You can pay online or via telephone banking, with CHAPS payments, or you can also physically put money in your bank or building society or at the Post Office. With the date drawing closer,  ensure that your payment will reach HMRC on time by opting for Faster Payments.

If you would prefer, Direct Debits can also be set up with HMRC, and you can also send BACS payments or send a cheque in the post, although this may take a few days so isn’t the safest option to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.

Still a bit confused about what to do next, or would you rather let us prepare your return for you to file? Give us a call on 0808 168 0422 and we’ll help get you on the right track.

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