Top tips for preparing your own tax return over Christmas!

It seems that Christmas is not only a time for celebrating, giving presents and over indulging but it also seems to be a popular time for individuals to complete their tax return ahead of the 31 January deadline.
 
Almost 2,000 people submitted their tax return on Christmas Day last year with over 12,000 people submitting tax returns either side of the big day on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. 
 
If you are submitting your own tax return to HMRC, the following tips may help:
 
1. Ensure that you have registered with HMRC for an online account. This can take some time, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
 
2. Gather all of your paperwork – this is likely to include forms P60, P45 or P11D as well as end of year certificates showing interest from bank accounts, dividends and other investments. 
 
If you have other sources of income such as a rental property, make sure that you have details of all the income received (agents statements) as well as receipts in respect of expenses such as repairs, insurance and mortgage interest.
 
If you are entitled to certain tax reliefs, ensure that you have details of your pension contributions (particularly those may under the Auto Enrolment scheme) as well as gift aid donations. 
 
Consider whether you have claimed all of your professional subscriptions or if, for example, your employer pays you less than the HMRC authorised mileage rates for using your own car, consider claiming the difference from the amount you receive to the official rate as an expense to gain additional tax relief.
 
3. Step back and consider your tax bill – it may be a similar amount to last year but can you do anything to reduce your overall liability for either 2016/17 or going forward? 
 
4. Check for any transposition errors -  it’s easy enough to inadvertently ‘swap’ two numbers when inputting figures from a P60, leading to either an incorrect tax bill or refund.
 
5. Make sure that the tax return is actually submitted to HMRC and you receive a submission receipt in your nominated email account. The penalties for late submission can be very hefty!
 
Also, make sure that you pay any tax bill by 31 January 2018 – if you are submitting your tax return at Christmas, it’s unlikely that HMRC will send you a payslip before 31 January 2018; so don’t wait to get a demand from HMRC. Check out the ways to pay your liability to HMRC at  https://www.gov.uk/pay-self-assessment-tax-bill 
 
If you are paying your tax bill by credit card ensure that you pay by 12 January 2018 - http://www.cliveowen.com/tax/news/paying-your-tax-bill-credit-card-%E2%8...
 
Alternatively, why not employ us to take the strain away and complete your tax return for you? We have a strong tax team across our three offices who are adept at completing tax returns. More importantly our team can also help you with tax planning matters to potentially reduce your overall tax liability.
 
If you need some expert advice, give us a call:
 
Darlington – 01325 349700 – ask for Lee Watson
Durham – 0191 3842244 – ask for Nicola Bellerby
York – 01904 784400 – ask for Rosemary Anderson