Top Tips for Self Assessment Tax Return Success!

  The top tip for successful completion of your Self Assessment Tax Return is to treat it with respect. After all it is a legal document on which you are declaring to HM Revenue & Customs your income for the year.   Next be prepared!  Before starting on your Tax Return, make sure you have to hand all your records such as; ul> li> End of Year Pay Certificate (P60)./li> li> Benefits In Kind Statement (P11D)./li> li> Details of Dividends and Interest Received./li> li> Records of any Letting Income and Expenses./li> li> Personal Pension Contributions./li> li> Other Earnings./li> li> Details of GiftAid or other Charitable Donations./li> /ul>

The tricky bit - completing the Return.... 

Here are some common mistakes individuals often make on their Self Assessment Tax Return.

  1. Don't enter income from ISAs or PEPs.  These investments are tax free.
  2. Don't assume all State Benefits are taxable or non-taxable.  For example, Child Benefit is an example of a non-taxable State Benefit, however, Jobseekers Allowance or the State Pension are both taxable and therefore need to be declared on your Return.
  3. Declare all GiftAid payments and Other Charitable Donations, inserting the actual amounts given (it is helpful to keep a record of this throughout the year).  Under GiftAid provision, higher rate taxpayers are able to claim tax relief through Self Assessment.
  4. Take great care when entering the amounts of bank and/or building society interest you may have received and any tax that has been deducted.  Many people get confused as to whether tax has been deducted or not and complete the wrong boxes on the Return.
  5. Don't enter normal Pension Contributions made through your Employers Occupational Pension Scheme.  Tax relief has already been claimed through PAYE.  However, do include further Pension Contributions made via any Personal Pension Schemes.  Unlike Employer Pension Schemes higher rate taxpayers can claim tax relief on any Personal Pension Contributions.
  6. If you need to complete the Employment Page of the Return, ensure any benefits you list match any benefits listed on your P11D.  Declare all business expenses including Business Travel and Professional Subscriptions to ensure you are not over taxed on business expenses income.
  7. If you need to complete the Land and Property Page for rental incomes ensure you are declaring appropriate expenses.  


How to help yourself for success... 

Your Self Assessment Tax Return needs to be completed using HM Revenue & Customs online system.    You need to register to use the system and obtain access codes unique to your Return.  Get familiar with the process before you start entering your details.  Assuming you can start and complete your Return online on the 31 January is unrealistic!

HM Revenue & Customs give you 9 months to complete the Return.  Don't leave it until the end of January to start thinking about it.  As mentioned before your Return is a legal document and the penalty system for late submission is complex and expensive.

If you need help you can contact your Local Tax Office for assistance, however turning up on the 31st January asking for advice might mean you don’t get all the help you need.  Engage the Services of a professional qualified Tax Advisor to take away the stress of completing your own Return and the risk of making errors or not claiming all Reliefs applicable to you.

Once you have computed your tax liability, ensure you make payment of any Taxes payable at 31 January, or interest will be charged.

The penalty system for late submissions of your Self Assessment Tax Return means that if you have not filed your Return by the 31 January deadline, an automatic penalty of £100 will be applied to your Return.  Penalties and Interest charges increase the longer you delay completing your Return.

Finally, if you can't get an actual figure, estimate a figure to enter on your Return.  Don't let the fact that you do not have an exact figure prevent you from disclosing the amounts or prevent you from submitting your Return on time.


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