Useful tips for completing your self-assessment tax forms

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Tax is usually deducted automatically from wages, pensions and savings. But where it isn’t, and you’re receiving taxable income, you may need to submit a tax return. If this applies to you and you didn’t submit a paper tax return back in October, you must submit a self-assessment tax form online by 31 January 2016.

If you don’t submit on time, you will automatically be fined £100, even if you don’t owe any tax.  We’ve pulled together 5 tips to make sure that you have everything you need to complete your assessment on time and avoid the automatic penalties.

  • Get clear on the criteria: Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) takes approximately 400,000 people out of self-assessment each year, and estimates that thousands of people unnecessarily fill in self-assessment tax returns. To find out if you need to submit a self-assessment tax return, use this online tool by HMRC. 
  • Get registered: You can’t submit your tax return online without being registered with HMRC. If you haven’t already gone through this process, do it now
  • Get organised: You’re going to need anything that shows how much you’ve earned over the tax year (6 April 2014 – 5 April 2015) and your deductible expenses. This includes invoices, bank statements, pay slips, receipts and household bills, and details on your income from property. If you don’t already, make a habit of collecting this information throughout the year, and keep it together in one place.
  • Get familiar with the forms. If you’ve never filled in an online tax assessment form before, make sure you read and understand the form as soon as possible.
  • Get help. If you think you need help, you should consider using the services of a specialist accountant; remember there are many rules and regulations when it comes to tax, and these need to be followed to the letter.

And finally...make sure you pay your tax bill. Submitting the form is only half of the job. HMRC will impose penalties on late payments, so it’s important to pay your tax as soon as you can to avoid penalties.

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