As the deadline nears, time is running out to complete your Self Assessment. So if you’re tackling it yourself this year and haven’t submitted it yet, our advice is – start it now!
In this post, we’ve pulled together some top tips to help you make that last-minute submission a little bit easier.
Self Assessment deadlines
The Self Assessment deadline is midnight on the 31st January 2023. And whilst you might be thinking “I still have a month left; that’s plenty of time!”, tax returns can be very tricky to navigate and to get right, and you may find that you need help from HMRC (whose phone lines are jam-packed at this time of year!), which is why it’s so important to begin your Self Assessment as soon as possible in order to ensure that any discrepancies or queries can be resolved ahead of the deadline.
Remember that the 31st January deadline refers to both the submission of your tax return AND the payment of your tax bill – and there will penalties for missing either of these!
Who needs to complete a Self Assessment?
If you’re a sole trader, a partner in a business or you receive other untaxed income, such as through property, investments, dividends or foreign income, it’s likely that you’ll be required to submit a Self Assessment. If you’re not sure whether you need to submit one, you can use HMRC’s Self Assessment checker to help you.
Landlords: the Self Assessment rules apply to you too! Any untaxed income you receive from renting out a property will need to be declared. HMRC recently contacted Landlord Today, urging landlords to complete their Self Assessments before the deadline and sharing tips on how to do so.
What if I’ve not registered for Self Assessment yet?
The deadline for registering for Self Assessment was the 5th October, so if you haven’t yet registered you’ll need to contact HMRC immediately to explain the oversight. Remember that you only need to register if you haven’t completed a Self Assessment before – you don’t need to re-register every year.
Tips for completing your own Self Assessment yourself
If you’re completing your Self Assessment yourself this year, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that the process goes more smoothly. Here are some of our top tips:
Have all of the necessary documentation ready
Make your life easier by having all of the information you’ll need to hand before you begin. It’s likely that you’ll need the following:
- Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which you should have received after you registered
- Your National Insurance number
- Records of your income and expenditure
- PAYE and VAT records (if applicable)
- Details of any pension or charity contributions
- If you’re also employed, you’ll need your P60, P45 or similar
If you need help, try HMRC’s online guides first!
HMRC’s phone line tends to be notoriously busy at this time of year, so if you need help with your Self Assessment, try taking a look at HMRC’s array of video guides and helpsheets before contacting them directly. Their Self Assessment help and support webpage provides lots of useful information and webinars relating to various Self Assessment queries. If you’re completing a Self Assessment for the first time, be sure to watch their informative video for first-time Self Assessments before you begin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvHpBXB0q0Y
Pay your tax bill as soon as you’ve filed the form
It’s easy to get so engrossed in the technicalities of filling out the form that you may well forget to pay your tax at the end of it! Don’t leave the actual payment for another day – do it whilst it’s fresh in your mind. Paying your bill is very quick and easy to do, and in most cases it can be done directly online. If you do find that your bill is more than you expected and you can’t pay, get in contact with HMRC as you may be able to set up a repayment schedule (but note that you will also be charged interest for this, so only use it as a last resort!).
Think ahead to next year’s Self Assessment…
Although too late for this year’s Self Assessment, there are a couple of things you can begin to put in place now that will help make future Self Assessments easier and more efficient:
- Go digital! Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment is set to come into play in 2024. Get ahead of the game by starting with digital accounting software now; it will make bookkeeping easier, quicker and more accurate. We’re proud to have partnered up with some of the leading cloud accounting softwares and are able to provide our clients with free trials too – please contact us to find out more.
- Hire an accountant and let them handle your Self Assessment for you. It could save you so much time, stress and money! If you’re considering this service for next year, we strongly recommend that you get in touch as soon as possible as it’s always in high demand and availability is very limited.
- Plan to submit next year’s tax return early! You can file your Self Assessment as soon as the tax year ends, so next year why not avoid the last-minute rush and submit your return in April?
We hope these top tips have left you feeling more confident about submitting your Self Assessment. Got your UTR number to hand and your relevant documents at the ready? Begin your Self Assessment now.