So you’ve left it to the last minute to file your self-assessment tax return.
The deadline of midnight on 31st January is fast approaching and you’re – to use a technical accounting term – ‘in a bit of a flap’.
What do you do? Here’s our three-step guide to avoiding HMRC’s £100 automatic fine.
Step 1 – Make sure you definitely need to file a self-assessment tax return
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to be 100% sure that you do need to file a self-assessment tax return. The timelines can be a bit confusing, but basically the 31st January deadline relates to the tax year that ended the previous April.
For example, the current deadline of 31st January 2017 applies to the tax year that ran from 6th April 2015 to 5th April 2016.
So, if you earned any income at all from self-employment between 6th April 2015 and 5th April 2016 you will need to file a return in the next few days.
If you aren’t sure if you need to do a tax return, HMRC’s quick online tool is a great place to start.
Alternatively you can speak to ADVANCE or another accountant, which takes us seamlessly to our next step …
Step 2 – Get an accountant involved
Some self-employed people do their own tax return. Others look to a friend or relative for help. In some circumstances this may work perfectly well, but if you’re in a tight squeeze with the deadline looming it makes sense to enlist the services of a professional.
An accountancy provider (such as ADVANCE) that specialises in supporting contractors, freelancers and the self-employed will be able to turn your tax return around quickly.
Everything will be done by a qualified, experienced accountant who is used to coping with a spike in demand every January.
Step 3 – Pay any tax that you owe
Don’t fall in to the trap of thinking of that once the return has been filed online you can sit back and relax.
Filing the return is only the first stage of the process. The second (and most important) stage is the paying of any tax that you owe HMRC.
If this isn’t done in time for the deadline, you’ll still be fined.
If you think about it, the process of filing the return is simply a means of working out how much tax you owe.
From HMRC’s point of view, that information is all well and good but they want the tax that you owe!
Get in touch
If you require assistance with your self-assessment tax return, please get in touch with our specialist accountancy team by calling 01244 564 600 or emailing [email protected].