Ten top tips all freelancers need to help you get your Self Assessment tax return sorted for Christmas
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December, with the 31 January online-filing deadline looming, many people start
to worry about completing their Self Assessment tax return, when they’d much
rather be getting into the Christmas spirit. Even if you leave it until after
Christmas, having to complete your Self Assessment tax return early on in the
new year can be an unwelcome chore when you’re trying to get back into work
Having to file
your Self Assessment tax return is unavoidable if you earn money that’s subject
to Income Tax. Thankfully, good advice and support can make a big difference.
So, here are ten top tips to make Self Assessment tax return much less taxing,
so you can look forward to a cracking Christmas and New Year.
1 Use accounting and Self Assessment filing software
accounting software to accurately and regularly record your income and expenses
can make completing your Self Assessment tax return much easier, because key numbers
are automatically calculated for you. You can also use other third-party software
that makes completing and filing your Self Assessment tax returns much easier,
while ensuring that your Self Assessment tax returns are error-free.
Why put off
completing and filing your Self Assessment tax return? You don’t have to wait
for the deadline. In fact, you could have completed and submitted your Self
Assessment tax return months ago, when the new tax year began on 6 April. If
you can’t do it immediately, do it ASAP. Do yourself a favour: get it off your
4 Give yourself enough time
You need to go
through the Self Assessment tax return form thoroughly, paying due care and
attention when entering data. The more you rush, the more likely you are to
make mistakes that later need correcting. Often the reason why people rush is
they’re battling the Self Assessment online filing deadline or they don’t give
themselves sufficient time to complete their Self Assessment tax return.
5 Have all the necessary information to hand
explained, accounting software can take much of the legwork out of completing
your Self Assessment tax return. Alternatively, have all relevant facts and
figures to hand or at the click of a mouse, because having to go and find information,
from hard-copy invoices, bank statements and receipts, etc, will mean that filling
out your Self Assessment tax return takes much longer.
You’ll also need
your UTR (ie the unique ten-digit reference number that enables HMRC to
identify you), your National Insurance number, P60 if you’re also employed and
paid via PAYE (it shows your earnings and tax paid in the tax year), records of
earnings from all taxable sources (eg rental income, interest/investment income,
pensions, state benefits, etc), details of expenses, etc.
expenses” is an HMRC-approved way to claim business expenses using flat rates rather
than working out actual costs, which can take much more time and effort. You
can use simplified expenses for business mileage, operating a business from
home or living at your business premises (eg if you run a B&B).
While saving you
time when filling out your Self Assessment tax return, you should be sure that
claiming simplified expenses won’t leave you out of pocket. GOV.uk offers an online simplified expenses checker tool that enables you to find out.
8 Double-check your facts and figures
entered data into your Self Assessment tax return, double-check it all before
submitting it to HMRC. Also take care when ticking boxes, as this is where
mistakes can also occur. More serious errors can lead to a penalty if HMRC
believes they’re the result of your being careless. Don’t let that happen.
Don’t be sloppy.
9 Don’t miss the Self Assessment filing deadline
With so much to
do, the run-up to Christmas can be a hectic, so, you may not manage to get your
Self Assessment tax return done and dusted before the new year. Sometimes,
that’s unavoidable. But still try to get it done early in the new year, so it’s
out of the way. You don’t want to miss the online filing deadline of midnight
on 31 January either, because this will result in a £100 penalty.
10 Reach out for Self Assessment support
In addition to HMRC’s online information resources, you can call its Self Assessment helpline
(0300 200 3310 – Monday
to Friday: 8am to 6pm). Make sure your personal details and address are up to
date in your personal tax account, otherwise you could fail telephone security
questions when asked. Also have your National Insurance number and Unique
Taxpayer Reference (UTR) to hand when you call.
the thought of completing and filing your first Self Assessment tax return or
slogging your way through another one is all too much, you could always get an
experienced professional to do it for you or at very least, check over one
you’ve filled out. It may be cheaper than you think. Consider it a nice early
Christmas present to yourself.
GoSimpleTax is a secure cloud-based solution, and it is
officially- recognised by HMRC. It includes partnership, non-resident, and
previous year returns. it has an
easy-to-use interface and submits direct HMRC.
GoSimpleTax are ready for MTD and the software shows the Tax
liability in real time. It has a simple
dashboard allowing you to switch between clients easily.