Completing a self-assessment tax form
Completing a self-assessment tax form can be a daunting task - particularly if you are doing it for the first time. As the deadline for completing a tax return is 31 January 2018, here's our quick guide to help you through the process.
If you are employed then tax is usually deducted from your wages directly. If it is not automatically deducted, for instance if you have more complex arrangements or you have taxable gains to declare (rental payments if you are a property landlord) or you are self-employed - then you are obliged to submit a self-assessment tax form. You can check if you need to fill in a self-assessment tax return on the Government’s website.
If you do need to complete a self-assessment tax return, please remember if you do not complete your return on time you will face an automatic fine of £100 - even if you don’t owe any tax.
Who must submit a tax return?
There are a number of circumstances which require you to complete a tax assessment form, the most common being self-employed. There is a comprehensive list at the Government website. You must also submit a tax return if you have been told to by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or if you are claiming tax relief.
How do I submit a tax return online?
You can’t submit your tax return online without first being registered with HMRC. If you think you need to submit a tax return and have not already registered, you can do so here. After you have gone through this process you will be sent an activation code through the post within 10 days - so don’t leave it until the last minute.
What will I need?
You need to keep anything that shows how much you’ve earned over the tax year 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017 and your deductible expenses. This includes invoices, bank statements, income from property, payslip receipts and household bills. Get into the habit of collecting and saving everything throughout the year and keep it all together - shoe boxes are often used for this - whichever way is good for you as long as you know where they are!
Where can I get help?
There are many rules when it comes to paying tax and they need to be followed precisely. If you haven’t done it before it is a good idea to get some help. You may know someone who has done this before and can offer some guidance or you could speak to an accountant or bookkeeper who could do the job for you. You will need to familiarise yourself with the forms and that you have fully read and understand them before attempting to fill them in.