23rd December 2019How to avoid a last minute panic when filing your tax return

Ahead of the online self-assessment deadline, 31st January 2020, HW Fisher share their advice to make sure you file on time and correctly.

Jamie Morrison, head of private client at HW Fisher explains: “More and more people are filing their tax returns online, especially given the government’s digital plans. The deadline is a Friday this year, so it is worth finding all the relevant paperwork the weekend before, to avoid dealing with any last-minute curveballs”.

Confused about whether you need to file?

Self-employment continues to rise. However, it’s not just the self-employed who have to complete their self-assessment tax returns, so it is worth double checking if you’re unsure.

You must submit a tax return if you have self-employed earnings or have received untaxed income over £1,000. You will also have to file if you have generated income from renting out a property, including through Airbnb.

How to complete on time and avoid any last-minute surprises  

  1. Allow plenty of time to gather paperwork. This includes your P60 which will confirm the total tax you have paid on your income. You will also need a record of benefits and expenses which can be found on your P11D or P9D forms. If you have left a job in the last tax year, you will also need a P45 from your previous employer.
  2. Pension contributions: Make sure you keep details of any pension contributions made to allow you to claim the right tax relief for them.
  3. Gift aid payments: you will also need details of all your gift aid payments – e.g, have you sponsored a friend to run for charity? This can be included as HMRC provides some tax relief on charitable giving.
  4. Don’t forget to make a copy of your completed tax returnand keep a proof of postage, on file. If you are employed or a pensioner, please keep all paperwork for 22 months from the end of the tax year to which it relates to. If you are self-employed or letting a property, you should keep all paperwork for 5 years and 10 months.
  5. Personal savings allowance: don’t forget that this can be applied to interest earned on your savings. You could receive up to £5,000 in interest on savings tax-free.

If you miss the 31st January deadline, you will be fined £100 for a late return. You have 30 days to pay your tax before 5% is charged on it. You have 90 days to get your return in after which it will cost you £10 a day in fines.

Jamie adds: “Anyone who has become self-employed, received high levels of investment income, or has capital gains tax to pay must complete a self-assessment return. However, this list is by no means exhaustive; if you aren’t sure whether you need to complete one, please seek professional advice or contact HMRC directly.”

For more information, visit www.hwfisher.co.uk/people/jamie-morrison/

 

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