Now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has come to a close, it’s time to turn your attention to your self-assessment tax return deadline that looms large.
The deadline for sending 2013/14 tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is January 31, 2015. It doesn’t matter if you are from London, Lebberston, Lambourn or Langford the consequences of missing the tax return deadline are the same – an automatic £100 late-filing penalty. If you keep on delaying there are additional penalties which could easily add up to £1,600 over the course of a year.
According to HMRC, 11.2m people are expected to fill out a tax return for the 2013/14 tax year. If you’re unsure of whether you need to fill in a self-assessment return, please read our article, Do I need to submit a self-assessment tax return? You can also use HRMC’s free tool to find out if you need to file a tax return this year.
Once you are sure, you’ll need to register for self-assessment before you can send HMRC a tax return (you have to do it online as you have missed the postal deadline by over 2 months). Ensure that you start the process now as it can take up to 10 days for you to receive the Activation Code letter or up to 21 days if you live abroad.
To register you’ll need:
- Your National Insurance Number
- Your personal details and those of your business if relevant
Your reward from registering will come in the form of a Unique Taxpayer Reference Number (or UTR Number). This is a 10-digit number that HMRC allocates to those who need to file a tax return. Be careful not to leave it to the last minute as trying to get hold of HMRC during peak filing season is very difficult.
In the meantime, a good first step would be to keep your financial information handy, right from bank and investment statements, old invoices and expenses to P60 and P11D forms.
Here’s a selection of some items you’d need:
- Self-employment income - for sole-traders, this means invoices & business related expenses
- Dividends – this applies if you run your own limited company and draw money with a dividend/salary split.
- Interest – Information on interest on things like loans and credit cards. Get statements from your bank
- Partnership income- details of income received through a Partnership
- Rental income – details of income you’ve received from renting out property
- Foreign income
- Pension contributions – if you pay into a pension
- Gift aids – if you’ve done any charitable giving and have claimed Gift Aid on it
- P11D – this tells HMRC if you’ve claimed any benefits as an employee
- Capital Gains – you’d have these if you’ve disposed things like rental property or shares
One of the most helpful aspects of online filing is that you can part-save your tax return and come back to it if you don’t have enough time to complete it in one sitting. So what are you waiting for? If you have yet to file, login into HMRCs online portal and get cracking now. But make sure you use the genuine HMRC portal and not one of the copycat websites masquerading as HMRC.
If you have a complicated financial setup, it would be well worth your money to hire a specialist to complete your tax return.