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Self Assessment Tax Return- Last minute tips
by Startacus Admin
Last minute tips to help you file your Self Assessment return on-time
The Self Assessment deadline is less than a month away, and if you’re only just getting round to tackling your tax return you may be starting to get a tad nervous about whether or not you’ll be able to complete and submit it to HMRC on time.
So what can you do to make sure that Self Assessment doesn’t get the better of you and that you don’t risk incurring a £100 fine for failing to complete everything before January 31st?
Well, Emily Coltman FCA, Chief Accountant to FreeAgent - which provides the UK’s market-leading online accounting system for freelancers and small businesses - gives her top last-minute tips to make Self Assessment as easy as possible.
Make sure you’re registered
This might seem an obvious point, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do it. Remember that you can’t actually submit your tax return online without being registered with HMRC first, so if you haven’t already gone through this process then you need to do so ASAP!
It can take a few weeks for your registration code to arrive through the post, and HMRC won’t give you the information over the phone. So if you leave it too late to contact them, you won’t receive the information in time, you’ll miss the deadline and you’ll automatically get fined.
Get your financial information right
Once you’re registered, make sure you’ve got a note of all of the relevant information you need to include as income on your tax return. That means any money you’ve received, or earned, from pretty much anywhere, must go on your tax return - which includes wages from a job, interest from a bank account, profits from a sole trade, income from a trust etc…
Don’t know how to find that info? If you receive wages for a job - which includes if you’re a director of your own Limited Company - your employer should have given you a form P60 showing your salary and tax for the year to 5th April 2014. You’ll need to use the info from that form to fill in the Employment section of your tax return; and if your employer gave you a form P11D showing any expenses or benefits you received, you will need that too.
When it comes to a bank account that pays you interest, you’ll need to know exactly how much interest you received in the tax year to 5th April 2014 and how much tax was taken off that. Don’t include any interest you received on tax-free accounts such as ISAs and, unfortunately, you can’t claim tax relief on bank interest you had to pay on a non-business bank account. And remember, if you’re the director of a Limited Company, don’t put interest on the company’s bank account into your own tax return - that goes on the company’s tax return.
If you’re a sole trader, or in a partnership, you need to know your business’s income and expenses. And if you’ve received dividends on shares you own, whether these are in your own company or another, you’ll need to include the dividend income on your tax return.
Fill in your return - and submit it to HMRC
Once you’ve collected all your information, you’re ready to start actually filling in and submitting your tax return. There are a number of ways you can do this, which include:
Fill in the Self Assessment forms on HMRC’s website and submit them there once they’re complete
Use alternative technology. For example, if you’re a sole trader or the director of a Limited Company, you can complete and file your Self Assessment from directly within FreeAgent , without needing to use HMRC’s website.
Use specialist software such as TaxCalc to help fill in your tax return, before you then use HMRC online to actually submit the forms
Here are a few tips for when you’re entering your figures.
If you’re an employee, whether that’s of your own Limited Company or whether you have a job in addition to your business, the only figures you need from your P60 are your salary and tax for the year. These boxes will be marked with asterisks. You don’t need to put the National Insurance figures on your tax return because HMRC deals with employees’ National Insurance separately.
If you have more than one job, you need to put in the figures from each P60 separately.
If you have a bank account that’s jointly held with your spouse or partner you’ll only have to include your share - usually half - of the interest and tax.
If you receive dividends, put in the amount you’ve actually received, excluding the tax credit on the dividend.
If you’re in a partnership, remember that each partner must submit a return, and one partner must also submit a return for the partnership.
When it comes to submitting your tax return, remember that it must be in before midnight on 31st January 2015 otherwise HMRC will issue an automatic fine of £100 - and this applies if you’re even a day late and even if you don’t actually owe any tax!
And once you’ve submitted your tax return, don’t forget to PAY your tax too!
Completing a tax return can seem like a daunting process but don’t let it overwhelm you. Make use of the available tools and useful information, and if you get stuck, don’t forget to ask your accountant for help.
Emily Coltman FCA is Chief Accountant to FreeAgent, which provides the UK’s market-leading online accounting system designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers.
FreeAgent enables sole traders and directors of limited companies to “Fast File” their Self Assessment tax returns from directly within its award-winning system, rather than through HMRC Online. Discover more here