22nd October 2019With Halloween fast approaching, don’t let your self-assessment give you a fright!

Ahead of the 31st October paper self-assessment deadline, HW Fisher shares their top tips on how to avoid any scary mistakes and ensure you file on time.

Jamie Morrison, head of private client at HW Fisher explains: “More and more people are filing their tax returns online, however those who are filing paper tax returns, must remember to submit three months early, on 31st October. The deadline is a Thursday this year, so it is worth finding all the relevant paperwork the weekend before, to avoid dealing with any last-minute skeletons”.

Don’t be in the dark about who must 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 spooks  

  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 return and 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.

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.”

Key contacts

Jamie Morrison HW Fisher

Jamie Morrison
Head of Private Client

020 7874 7983
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