Tax – Self Assessment Made Simple

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

Don’t Gamble With The Taxman: Submit Your Self Assessment Now

The holiday break can leave us in financial stasis. For the first few weeks of the year, all we want to do is ease ourselves back into work, avoiding the stress of time-consuming tasks such as accountancy. Yet time waits for no taxpayer, and HMRC does not afford anyone to suffer lightly if they miss the Self Assessment deadline at midnight on the 31st January…

Thousands of UK taxpayers wait until the very last moment to file their declaration online. Last year, 33,000 people filed in the final hour, while a staggering 840,000 people missed the deadline altogether.

HMRC delivers a straight £100 fine for late submissions, with further penalties imposed if your tax return submission is delayed even further. Typically, these are capped at £900 over three months, working out at £10 a day. When added to the initial late penalty, that can build to a needless £1,000 penalty with interest on any outstanding tax you may owe. More delays are penalised harshly at £300 for six months, or 5% of the tax amount (whatever’s greater), and another £300/5% charge for 12 months of inaction.

So there is always a good reason to avoid the rush. Remember: the deadline accounts not just for the Self Assessment form itself, but any tax you owe for the financial year 2016/17. As such, the sooner you submit your tax return, the less stress you’ll face in the process.

Yet filing online using HMRC’s online calculator is notoriously complicated, with thousands of taxpayers left frustrated by delays and technical issues when calling HMRC’s phone lines for support. Surely there’s an easier option than resorting to an accountant?

Tips to make filing your Self Assessment simple

  • Explore which expenses you’re entitled to, as well as the forms you’ll have to fill in. Knowing what paperwork your income requires – such as the SA108, SA105 or SA102 – is going to save hours of potential panic. Make sure these are available from your software provider if using a third party to file online.
  • Compile receipts and match them to bank statements, ensuring you have all the evidence you need to back up your expense claims.
  • Use cloud software, such as SimpleTax, to eliminate the need for an accountant. It can analyse what you owe, cross-reference against your information, identify eligible expenses and provide the relevant forms for Self Assessment, as well as checking your return for errors and sending it straight to HMRC, avoiding any stress.

Don’t face the risk of a penalty – there’s a lot riding on it. By taking the initiative, and using the resources available for support, you’ll cut the chance of missing the tax deadline while ensuring you pay no more than you owe.

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