So, it’s that time of year again where you need to be submitting your self-assessment tax returns. With the deadline looming (31st January 2017), you’ve got to get it to HMRC if you don’t wish to receive penalties worth hundreds of pounds. One day late will mean a one hundred pound fine and then for every day it’s late after that (which could be up to ninety days, plus interest) you’ll be fined ten pounds.
Who needs to fill out a tax return?
Those who are:
- Working alone as a solitary trader
- A partner in a business
- A company director (unless unpaid and for a non-profit entity/charity)
- If you pay taxes through PAYE as an employee but also earn self-employed income
- If you are a higher rate tax payer and wish to claim tax relief on pension contributions
- If you are a higher rate tax payer and claim child benefits
Here’s a quick guide to make the process a bit easier:
If you still need to submit your tax return, it can now only be completed online as the deadline for the paper format was 31st October 2016. This means you will have log-in to your account.
Not registered online yet? You will need to get a wiggle on because it will take over seven working days to get an activation code (which is delivered by post) and a tax return cannot be submitted without it.
Paperwork – assemble!
Before attempting to add anything to your self-assessment, check whether you have all the relevant paperwork: P60 (keep it to hand nonetheless but it isn’t imperative if you have a P45 for the same tax year); P45 (in most cases you won’t have a P45, especially if you have a P60 and still work); P11d or P9D; payslips; and bank statements.
What should I declare?
You need to declare everything you have earned over the last tax year 2015-2016, including income employment and self-employment; income from property; and interest on your savings/ investments.
Any funds kept in ISAs still need to be declared to the tax man.
If you want to avoid a headache altogether, get an accountant. They will go through your paperwork (granted that you send them all the paperwork that is required) and ensure that nothing will be missed off of your tax-return.