How to Conquer Your Online Self-Assessment Tax Return: 5 Simple Tips
In 2016, 9.2 million people chose to use HMRC’s online self-assessment service to complete their tax return – 150,000 more than 2015.
This year’s January 31 self-assessment deadline is fast approaching. Haven’t submitted your forms yet? Don’t panic. Conquer your self-assessment return with these simple tips.
1. Find out if you need to complete a tax return
If you haven’t received notice from HMRC informing you that you need to complete a return, but you think you need to file one this year, don’t hang around. Get in touch with HMRC immediately or use their free online tool to find out if you need to file a return.
2. Use self-assessment resources
Struggling to understand what you need to submit to HMRC? Is this your first time filing your return online and you’re struggling to understand the system? It’s ok. You’re not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available, both on and offline, to help you file your self-assessment return before the deadline.
HMRC Self-Assessment General Enquiries Contact Details:
0330 200 3310 (Closed Sundays).
Start your tweet with @HMRCcustomers (Do not give any personal details).
HMRC Self-Assessment Help and Deadline Videos
Watch short videos designed to help guide you through your submission here.
3. Get your paperwork in order
Before you sit down and being completing your return, make sure you have sorted through your paperwork and have everything you need properly organised. This will help you find what you need quickly and easily. For self-employed individuals and sole traders, this will include records of invoices and details of business-related expenses.
4. Get expert advice
Can’t find an answer to your tax question using the resources above? Consult with your financial advisor or accountant as soon as possible. Filing an incomplete form can result in extra penalties.
5. Don’t rush
You may get a penalty of £100 if you miss the deadline for submitting your tax return. However, there are also penalties for making careless errors in a tax return or document. If you haven’t kept your account in order and you’re struggling to find the information you need, don’t rush. Rushing and leaving out important information could lead to an even larger fine than filing your return late.
If you file your self-assessment tax return late, you can appeal against a penalty if you have a reasonable excuse. HMRC defines a reasonable excuse as “something unexpected or outside of your control that stopped you meeting your tax obligation”. Examples include:
- Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline.
- You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs.
- You had a serious or life-threatening illness.
- Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return.
- Service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services.
- A fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return.
- Postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted.
For more information about what to do if you think your submission may be late, visit HMRC’s tax hub.
Annual accounts made easy with UWM
Don’t let the stress of completing your self-assessment return take your focus away from running your business. At UWM, our experienced accountants have helped hundreds of businesses in and around Leeds meet their tax obligations and beat the self-assessment deadline.
If you would like to find our tax experts can help you gain control of your annual accounts, contact our team for more information.