It’s the time of year when many of us turn our attention to switching off our usual pace, and spending time with family and friends. And while we will also be wishing those folk a happy new year, there is immediately on looming deadline lots of us must face – the self assessment tax return deadline!
Over ten million people are reckoned to be in line to submit a return to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) detailing their income in the previous tax year, and paying any additional unpaid tax that is due. And for those submitting their information online – which is most of us these days – there is a deadline of January 31, 2016 for submitting the information, and entering a payment for any underpaid tax contributions.
So will it be a happy new year? Or will the worry about getting your tax return completed put a damper on your new year celebrations? If the idea of completing your self assessment return is giving you sleepless nights, perhaps it is time ask for help.
The truth is, a self assessment return does not need to be hard work. You can hire a professional to help you and submit the correct information in a timely fashion. Often their fee will compare well with the cost of the fine you could receive, were you to submit the information late, or underpay your tax due.
A self assessment return will need to list all your income in the tax year from 6 April 2014 to 5 April 2015. For many people that is a salary or wages, but other sources of income need to be included, such as pensions, interest from investments or savings, and dividends from shares. Additional income from a part time job will also need to be accounted for.
Against this income can be set your tax allowances, which could include mileage allowances, charitable donations, and professional fees and memberships you have paid out. For the self employed, there are a wider range of expenses that are tax allowable, including possibly some household costs, should you work from home.
The benefit of using an accountant to help with your self assessment return, is that they will remember to ask you about all these items, and will also be clear on what HMRC considers acceptable – as well as what must be ruled out. There are plenty of grey areas, such as entertaining clients, and travel costs, so it is much better to be right first time, rather than risk an investigation later.
An accountant will also be able to file the details online on your behalf, and help calculate any additional tax due to be paid.
So, is it time to make a New Year’s resolution to get your accounting in order, and submit your self assessment return in plenty of time? If so, why not take steps to ensure your tax return doesn’t have to be taxing.
Don’t have an accountant? We would be happy to make a recommendation based on your requirements. Get in touch