It’s the same story every year: Christmas comes and goes, and in its wake leaves the promise of a new year and new goals. But if you’re self-employed, January also means the Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline.
Feeling a little bit out of the water with how to complete yours? Don’t fear, here are some quick, last minute tips to get you back on track…
If this is your first tax return, you need to register with HMRC before you can start the process. If you’ve not done so already, you’ll need to act quickly as it can take over a week for your activation PIN and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) to arrive. You will need both of these to complete your tax return.
It’s useful to gather the following information to complete your tax return:
● Your Unique Taxpayer Reference
● Your National Insurance number
● Details of income from the financial year, including from dividends and shares
● Details of any expenses incurred from the financial year
● Details of any outgoing which may be eligible for tax relief, i.e. pensions or donations to charity
● Records showing if you have already paid tax on your income
Make sure your numbers are accurate because failing to declare relevant income and Capital Gains can result in an automatic fine, even if it’s done by accident. Give yourself enough time to make sure you’ve completed everything you need to and it’s all accurate – even failing to tick a box could see HMRC rejecting your return.
If you’re really cutting it fine and there’s outstanding paperwork which won’t be done on time, don’t panic. You can submit an estimated return for the time being and update HMRC when the paperwork arrives. This way, you won’t pay a late fine for failing to submit your return.
Claiming allowable expenses can help to reduce your tax bill, so it’s worth double-checking you’re claiming all you can. As long as an expense is ‘wholly and exclusively’ incurred for the purpose of your business, HMRC will allow you to claim it. If in doubt, have a look at some of these allowable expenses – you might be surprised about just what you can claim.
While you’re busy working for yourself, it’s easy to let things slip. Dedicated contractor accountants like Nixon Williams can take care of your finances and leave you to get on with what matters. You can find out more about Nixon Williams’ Self-Assessment Tax Return Service here.