Help with Self Assessment.
Overwhelmed by the prospect of filling out your self assessment tax return before 30 September?
Follow our simple self assessment guide to help you on your way.
1 Be prepared.
You must get all your records together. All your income needs to be included, even if it has been taxed at source, so you will need details of such things as bank interest, dividend payments and state pension.
If you are an employee, you will need your P60 and, if you have received taxable expenses or benefits, your P11D. If you are claiming for expenses, such as subscriptions to professional bodies or part of your household bills if you work from home, get all this paperwork together.
If you are a higher-rate taxpayer, you can also claim tax relief on charitable donations if you ticked the Gift Aid box.
2 Check the forms.
Self Assessment tax returns consist of several different parts, so you will also need to check that you have been sent all the right pages by completing page two of your tax return. If your tax affairs are deemed to be simple by the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), you may have been sent the new short tax return.
3 Don’t get caught out.
Ignorance of tax rules is no excuse for getting your tax return wrong. One area that people commonly overlook is capital gains because they don’t know what to declare.
If you sell something and the proceeds exceed £32,800, this has to be declared, even if there is no liability to capital gains tax. The capital gains tax pages also need to be completed to claim a capital loss.
4 Popular myths.
There are a number of tax myths that can get people into trouble when they are filling in their returns. These myths include the belief that money kept overseas is not taxable and that children’s income is not taxable.
People also believe that students do not have to pay tax in their first year at university and that if you let a room to a lodger the income is not taxable. If you let a room, up to £4,250 is exempt. Other myths include the belief that the state pension is not taxable and that you do not need to pay tax if you work for cash.
Do not assume that if you have overpaid tax, you can always rely on the HMRC to pay it back.
5 Common mistakes.
If you do not fill in your self assessment return correctly, it will be returned to you and you could miss the deadline.
HMRC lists five common reasons for self assessment tax returns being rejected, one of which is failure to submit supplementary pages of the return. Failure to complete the self-employed pages is another.
The remaining three reasons are: detailing information on separate schedules instead of on the actual return; putting notes such as ‘per accounts’ and ‘information to follow’ on the return instead of actual figures; and failure to sign and date the return.
6 Keep copies.
Once you have completed your self assessment tax return, keep a copy of the completed form and a copy of all the information on which you have based your replies. When the time comes to fill in next year’s return, being able to refer to what you submitted this year will be a useful starting point.
7 What happens next?
You may not get an immediate reply from the taxman, but you will be informed of how much tax you owe before the 31 January deadline for paying your tax bill. Don’t despair if you miss the 30 September deadline.
If you require any further information, please email or contact us.