We breakdown the whys, hows, whens and whats to make sure you meet your self-assessment tax return deadline.
The start of a new year is often the start of yet another mad rush to complete your self-assessment tax return online by the January 31st deadline. But don’t panic, it’s never been easier to deal with the self-assessment tax season. Here are our top tips for getting you through this busy time as simply and as stress-free as possible.
Know what is required of you
Self-assessment tax is the system that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) uses to collect UK income tax and national insurance. Tax is usually deducted automatically from wages, pensions and savings; people and businesses with other income must report it in a tax return, which can be filed out online with HMRC or on paper.
The tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April in the following year, so the 2014/15 tax year runs from 6 April 2014 to 5 April 2015. You have now missed the deadline for filing your 2014/15 tax return on paper, but the deadline for filing online is January 31 2016. First though, you need to register with HMRC for self-assessment by filling in this online form. The HMRC will then send you your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, to be used on all correspondence and on your tax return.
Once registered, HMRC should also provide you with an ID and password to access the system. HMRC sends the password electronically, so you’ll need to make a note of this. However, HMRC delivers the user ID by post, which could take anything from a few days to a few weeks. This means you need to send off for this as early as possible to be able to file your tax return by the 31 January midnight deadline.
If you miss the deadline for sending in your tax return, you will get a late filing penalty of £100, which will rise if your return is more than three months late.
Start as early as possible
While it’s often human nature to leave things to the last minute, the sooner you start thinking about preparing your tax return, the more relaxed you will be when the deadline hits. Register for self-assessment now if you have not done so already. Make sure you have all client invoices, business-related purchase receipts, and bank statements to hand too, so that you are ready to submit your self-assessment tax return ahead of the deadline.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Our cloud-based software works on PC, Mac and across mobile devices, so as a QuickBooks customer you can access your accounts and ask us for help via our chat support whenever and wherever you are – all you need is an internet connection.
And with the future move to real-time information with HMRC, as well as quarterly self-assessment tax returns (as recently announced in the Autumn Statement), you will be set up to deal with your tax affairs simply and efficiently for years to come.