Self Assessment Deadline 2020: 5 Tips to Fast-track Your Tax Return
It’s the year 2020 and with not a hoverboard in sight, the task of filing an often-daunting tax return is enough to bring any small business or individual down to the ground with a bump. With just three weeks remaining to the deadline of 31st January, your Self Assessment return should be your focus if you want to swerve the unwelcome penalty of a £100 fine. Nevertheless, the short deadline for submitting a tax return that’s 100% accurate needn’t be cause for alarm with these five tips. Let us help you sail into February 2020 with that done-and-dusted feeling, and your Self Assessment tax return long behind you (for another year, at least).
Own your details
When it comes to filing your Self Assessment return – particularly if doing so for the very first time – you’ll need to ensure you’re armed and ready with the correct details ahead of starting your form. Failure to have these to hand will only delay the process even more, or worse still, risk a late submission. Instead, make sure you’re in possession of the following information ahead of getting started:
- Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – you’ll have received this 10-digit number after setting up your limited company; you’ll also be sent this number once having registered for Self Assessment. If missing, you can request your UTR by calling the Self Assessment helpline.
- National Insurance Number – whether it’s a payslip, your P60, an official tax/benefits letter, or the National Insurance section of your personal tax account, your National Insurance Number is fairly straightforward to locate. If lost, fill out a CA5403 form, or call this helpline.
- P60 – this key orange document details how much tax you’ve paid on your salary over the past year. If working for an employer, you should have received this by 5th April – the end of the tax year.
- Untaxed income – you’ll need to provide these details from the past tax year to include self-employment income, dividends, interest on shares (if any), child benefit and income from other means, such as renting out property.
- Expenses – it’s important to keep a record of any expenses relating to self-employment, even if for your reference alone. More crucially, you’ll need to provide these details for Self Assessment along with expenses relating to other forms of income.
- Tax relief contributions – this applies to any other contributions such as pensions or charitable donations that may be eligible for tax relief.
If you’re used to the old-fashioned way of sending a tax return by post, submitting your bill online can help speed up the process – while also giving you greater visibility of its status; if you’ve yet to file your ‘paper’ return, the postal deadline of 31st October has now passed so you must submit digitally. Once having registered for Self Assessment, you’ll then need to wait for your 12-digit activation code in the post which can take up to 7 working days to arrive (you can’t file your return without it)! If having filed in the past and misplaced it, you can retrieve a lost activation code by following these instructions.
Utilise expert skills
While filing your own Self Assessment return is effectively an added string to your bow, juggling the additional demands of running a business can also cause unnecessary stress – often resulting in a tax bill that is inaccurate. The alternative? Enlisting the help of an accountant offers a sure-fire solution to the task at hand – minus the hassle (and piles of paperwork). More cost-efficient than you may think, an accountant will also take your individual circumstances into consideration, and even advise on how to make savings to your final tax bill. Adams Moore offers peace of mind by guiding clients in this unique way, whether it’s your very first Self Assessment or you’re seeking more tailored advice, and it’s not too late to get in touch with us about your 2020 return.
Seek help online
For those unexpected queries and niggling hurdles along the way, you can always save time by seeking the answers online. Compiled to make the process more seamless, read up on the HMRC helpsheets on how to complete the supplementary pages of your tax return, for example. In addition, the Self Assessment YouTube playlist is a go-to resource when filing your return – from tips on budgeting for your tax bill to claiming motoring expenses. If a phone call does become necessary, the HMRC helpline uses voice recognition software, so be sure to state your problem clearly and concisely in order to receive the most relevant advice, such as “question about late penalty”.
Learn from last time
Cast your mind back to last year’s tax return – how would you do things differently this time? Did you struggle to obtain the right paperwork for example, or even pay the full bill itself? By making a few simple changes, from sorting your bank statements and travel receipts to opening a savings account (designed specifically for tax), a little forward planning goes a long way. While spreadsheets and filing systems may seem like additional work throughout the year, you’ll soon be grateful for them once the Self Assessment deadline comes back around.