As 2022 begins with the online filing deadline of 31st January looming, completing your self assessment tax return in time for the deadline day may seem like an impossible task, especially if you are not receiving the support and guidance that you need.
Unfortunately, filing your Self Assessment tax return is unavoidable if you earn money that’s subject to Income Tax. So, here are ten top tips from our partners, GoSimpleTax, to make your Self Assessment tax returns much less taxing, so you can get back to doing what you do best.
Do some online research and search for advice from reliable sources. You may be able to find ways to save time and make sure that your Self Assessment tax return is properly filled out. Take a look at HMRC’s guidance on Self Assessment tax returns. HMRC has published a comprehensive range of Self Assessment guidance, including concise YouTube Self Assessment videos and live and recorded webinars (registration required).
Using good accounting software to accurately and regularly record your income and expenses can make completing your Self Assessment tax return that much easier, as 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 easier, as well as ensuring that your Self Assessment tax returns are error-free.
Don’t forget, with Qdos insurance you get 30% off GoSimpleTax SA103 services. Simply follow the links provided in your Qdos account to benefit.
Having to go and find information, from hard-copy invoices, bank statements and receipts, to records of earnings from other taxable sources (e.g. rental income and pensions), will mean that filling out your Self Assessment tax return takes a long time.
If you haven’t completed a Self Assessment tax return previously, you will also need your UTR (unique ten-digit reference number that enables HMRC to identify you), your National Insurance number, and P60 (if you’re also employed and paid via PAYE).
This is where a third-party system where you can log income and expenses on the go can help make filing your Self Assessment tax return a much easier and simpler process.
Self employed professionals can claim a variety of tax allowances (upon which no tax is payable) and reliefs (which lower your profit and resulting Income Tax liability). The Government website GOV.uk explains expenses you may be able to claim if you’re self-employed, as well as Income Tax reliefs and personal allowances.
For further information specifically about expenses, you may wish to take a look at Qdos’ Basic Guide To Expenses For The Self Employed. Make sure that you’re claiming everything to which you’re entitled so you are not paying unnecessary taxes.
'Simplified expenses' are a way to claim business expenses using flat rates rather than working out actual costs, which can take much more time and effort.
This can be used for things like business mileage and the costs associated with operating your business from home.
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.
Once you’ve 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 often occur. More serious errors can lead to a penalty if HMRC believes they are the result of carelessness.
With so much to do at the start of a new year, it can be easy to miss the deadline. Set yourself some annual reminders, or better yet, complete your Self Assessment tax return well in advance.
In fact, you can complete and submit your Self Assessment tax return months prior to the deadline, when the new tax year begins on 6 April. If you can’t do it immediately, do it as soon as you can to save yourself problems later down the line.
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.
The online filing deadline is midnight on 31st January, and missing it can result in a £100 late filing penalty.
For 2022 however (submissions of 2020-21 tax year) HMRC have waived this penalty as long as you submit before 28th February 2022. You will however be charged interest from 1st February and filing late could hinder any claims on your tax insurance policy for that tax year.
In addition to HMRC’s online information resources, you can call their 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.
If the thought of completing and filing your first Self Assessment tax return or battling 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 even be cheaper than you think.
Unsure about where to start with tax returns? Try out our free Self Assessment Tax Return Calculator.
Qdos have partnered with GoSimpleTax to provide you with free resources, as well as 30% off their Self Assessment submission services with your Qdos insurance, meaning you can submit direct to HMRC for only £34.30 instead of £49.
Ask away! One of our team will get back to you!