January 19th 2019 is the deadline for getting your self assessment tax return to HMRC for income earned between April 2017 and April 2018.
You still have plenty of time, but with the Christmas and New Year period occupying your thoughts over the next few weeks it may creep up on you without you realising. Here are some tips to make sure you get it handled on time.
Do you even need to file a self-assessment?
If in doubt, use the HMRC website to figure out if you need to fill in a self-assessment. You will need to do one if:
- You are self-employed
- Your taxable income was more than £100,000
- You or your partner’s income was over £50,000 and one of you claimed child benefit
- You have more than £10,000 in income from savings or investments
- You received more than £2,500 in untaxed income
- You made profits from selling shares or a second home
- You are a company director
This list is not exhaustive, and there are other factors that affect whether you will need to fill in a self-assessment, so check on the HMRC website if you’re unsure.
You will need to register
If you determine that you will need to fill out a self-assessment, you will need to register. This can take quite a while depending on the circumstances so it’s best to get it done as soon as possible. You’ll need things like your address, National Insurance number, and other personal details handy.
Get all your paperwork handled
Hopefully you’ll have been collecting all your relevant paperwork throughout the year as you’ve been going along. Some of the documents you’ll need include:
- Bank statements
- Sales invoices
- A P60/P45/P11D
- PAYE coding notices
- Tax certificates for investments
- Anything else that is related to your tax return
- Leaving things out – be careful and include every source of income you’ve received.
- Mixing things up – a common error is to confuse gross with net.
- The wrong tax code – you could end up paying too little or too much tax if you are on the wrong code.
- Forgetting pension relief – don’t forget to claim any additional tax relief on your pension contributions (this is 20% for higher rate taxpayers, and 25% for additional rate payers)
- Forgetting gift aid – don’t forget to include all charitable donations you’ve made during the tax period. If you pay tax at the higher rate this can really add up to save you money on your tax bill.
- Forgetting to pay – don’t forget to actually pay what you owe. It can take 3-5 working days for it to go through if it is your first time paying HMRC, so give plenty of time before the deadline
What are the penalties?
You’ll pay a £100 fine for filing a tax return after the deadline. After 3 months you’ll pay £10-a-day extra in fines, and even more after 6 or 12 months. You’ll be fined for submitting a late tax return even if you don’t owe any tax. Save yourself the money and the hassle by submitting your tax return on time, and paying what you owe before the deadline