Top tips for Self Assessment tax returns

Stay calm but don't delay. Submit tax returns by January 31, 2019

02 Jan, 19

Top tips for self-assessment tax returnsWith the January 31 2019 deadline looming, managing director of DSR Tax Claims has issued his top tips for Self Assessment tax returns.

Although tax payers who are subject to Self Assessment can submit their tax returns as early as April 6 following the end of the tax year, many of the 11million tax payers who must send a Self Assessment tax return leave it until the last minute, risking fines and penalties for late filing and payment.

These tips aim to prevent the misery of HMRC penalities by ensuring that your Self Assessment tax return is submitted accurately and on time.

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Don’t delay

With a month to go until the deadline, there is no need to panic. But it is imperative to take action now rather than leave it until the deadline.

It can be tempting to bury one’s head in the sand but it is wiser to take action now.

By leaving it right until the deadline, you can run the risk of being hampered by circumstances outside of your control such as technological issues or banking system problems.

All these have the potential to delay your tax return submission or paying your tax bill and HMRC may still issue a late filing penalty even if you feel the delay wasn’t your fault.

Check tax return

Always recheck your tax return before your submit, even simple details like your National Insurance number or your UTR. Little mistakes can cause problems further down the line.

So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time calmly rechecking your tax return before you submit, just to make sure you haven’t missed a zero from a figure or mis-typed your date of birth.

Although you can rectify mistakes in your Self Assessment after submission, they are much easier to correct prior to submission.

Mistakes can be rectified online with a year of submission (for tax year 2017/2018 online tax returns can be corrected until January 31 2020) but changes to your Self Assessment tax return could also impact on the amount of tax you owe.

Submit it!

It can be such an easy mistake to make and yet I have seen it so many times – you fill in your tax return and save it but then forget the crucial step of actually submitting it.

Until you have submitted it, HMRC won’t receive it and will therefore assume you to have missed the deadline, even if you have filled every single page of your tax return.

Once submitted, it is good practice to set up your payment method for your tax bill and payment on account, so prevent receiving a late payment penalty from HRMC.

After submission your tax bill should be available to view in three days.

Keep organised

Well-kept financial and business records can take much of the sting out of tax returns. If your financial information is well-organised and easy to find, it makes the whole process of sorting out your taxes much easier and will help next year’s Self-Assessment process be far less painful