At the end of the tax year (April 5th) there are certain categories of individuals who will need to send a self-assessment tax return to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC):
People do love the freedom of choice which comes from self-employment, and the fact that they are their own boss, but the downside is the hated self-assessment tax return, which many people find difficult to understand, time-consuming and laborious and a dreadful worry that you might have entered some of the information incorrectly. In fact, many people put off the task until the very last minute and then get a shock when they realise how little time they have to get the return completed and filed.
It’s very easy to make errors when you are not familiar with self-assessment requirements. These are fairly common, but they can often hold up the final submission of the self-assessment return which would then lead to a penalty. They might even trigger closer scrutiny of you by HMRC.
Your Self-assessment deadline
This should be a date in your diary not to be missed! You have until October 31st to send your paper tax return to HMRC or until January 31st if you use the online submission facility, which gives you more leeway. Even so, thousands of us miss the deadline every year.
It is vital to check and double-check your figures. HMRC might view errors as deliberate, and this could even lead to you being prosecuted.
Anything else to declare?
You must declare all relevant income as well as any Capital Gains income. Again, if HMRC deems your mistakes or omissions are deliberate, there are serious consequences.
What to include
There is a substantial list of types of income or Capital gains you would need to declare.
This includes employed income, statutory benefits such as sick pay, maternity or paternity pay, or job seekers’ allowance—also dividend income, pension income and even interest on your bank account.
What not to include
Again, there is a lengthy list of exemptions. This could be income in the form of dividends or bonuses from tax-exempt investments such as ISAs and National savings certificates. If you are lucky enough to have lottery or premium bond winnings, they are exempt.
Missing out supplementary pages
Any additional income generally needs to be set out on a specific supplementary page, and quite often people forget to enclose these pages when sending in their tax return. This additional income might include income from shares, lump sums paid by your employer, life insurance gains and income from a property.
HMRC will not accept little messages such as ‘this info to follow’ instead of you completing the correct figures. Neither do they look kindly on those who waste their time by ticking the wrong boxes.
UTR AND NI Numbers
HMRC receives hundreds of self-assessment tax returns where the Unique Taxpayer Reference or National Insurance numbers are either missed out altogether or written incorrectly.
Such a simple mistake to make, but so many people go to all the time and trouble to get their Self-Assessment completed and sent off and forget to sign and date the document.
Our team of professional accountants are constantly monitoring changes in the complex self-assessment rules and regulations and are therefore best placed to ensure you avoid incurring financial penalties for not sending your self-assessment return back by the deadline, or not filling it in correctly.
We have many years’ experience of working with clients from a variety of industry sectors and can handle all of your self-assessment calculations, documentation and filing, regardless of where you are located in the UK.
We will liaise with HMRC on your behalf, and act as your representative in any meetings or investigations required by HMRC in relation to your self-assessment.
Of course, you, as an individual, can look after your own self-assessment. However, having invested in the very best, state-of-the-art accountancy software, which is approved by HMRC, we can provide a first-class full self-assessment service, saving your time and money, and also ensuring you receive any tax rebates.
Knowing everything is being handled efficiently and professionally gives you complete peace of mind.