The official tax year will end in April, which means you have from then until the end of January to submit your Self Assessment, if you are doing so online. For most people, the words ‘Self Assessment’ bring about instant stress. However, it does not have to be this way. We have some top tips to ensure your Self Assessment goes as smoothly as possible. Read on to discover more.
Submit your application ahead of time
You don’t have to wait until the end of January to do your Self Assessment. You can submit it any time from now. The sooner you do so the better, for your stress levels if anything. Plus, you will know exactly how much tax you owe, and you will have the rest of the year to budget if you have underestimated how much you need to pay, for example.
Do some reading in advance
One thing you should certainly do is take the time to do your reading so you can learn all about Self Assessments and the different rules and regulations that are in place. For example, if you have taken out one or several secured loans, can they be included as expenses? These are the sort of things you need to explore. Generally, you can include the interest on the loan as an expense so long as it has been used for business purposes. If you have taken out a loan to go on a holiday, you won’t be able to include this as an expense when filling out your Self Assessment.
Follow the rules – You need to be very careful when submitting your application. If you do not follow the rules and input your expenses and income correctly, you could find yourself in trouble if you ever get audited by HMRC.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is leaving it until the very last moment to file their tax return. This means that they wait until the final day of January to file the return. The issue with doing this is that you do not give yourself enough time to make sure that your tax return is filed correctly. If you come across something that does not quite make sense or does not add up, you do not have the time to put this right. You are then left with the dilemma of submitting it incorrectly or making sure you get it right but being fined for late submission, neither of which are ideal, are they?
Collect all information
One of the biggest mistakes people make is failing to collect all of the relevant information for their Self Assessment. When the time comes to fill it out, you may miss out certain deductibles, especially if you have forgotten to collect receipts and such like. Some of the things you will need to include are Child Benefits if you or your partner receives them and you earn more than £50,000, dividends on any shares you own, and any interest you receive on your bank accounts.
Register and use the right UTR
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people go to complete their Self Assessment without actually registering. You need to register as soon as possible, as it can take a few weeks for your activation PIN to arrive. Therefore, if you register just before your Self Assessment is due, you could find yourself facing fines due to the delay in submitting your form while you wait for your PIN. This information cannot be received over the phone either. Moreover, make sure you include your Unique Tax Reference (UTR). This is a ten-digit number and it is not to be confused with your National Insurance number.
Hire an accountant
There are many accountants in the country to choose from, and you should certainly think about making the most of their services. They will ensure that your Self Assessment is filled in correctly and that everything is handled above board, giving you full peace of mind. A lot of people view accountants as an unnecessary expense. However, they can save you a lot of money by alerting you to tax breaks you may not have been aware of while also ensuring you do not incur any fines for a late submission. Moreover, if you take advantage of fixed fee accountancy, you will know exactly what you are paying each month or quarter, and this will make it a lot easier to manage.
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