According to HMRC, ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing’, but for many company owners, especially those who are new to business, the world of tax can be a real challenge to master.
There are numerous ways in which companies have to make sure their financial affairs meet HMRC’s latest standards and regulations, which include completing their self assessment.
However, if you’re new to the process or don’t fully understand it, submitting your self assessment tax returns accurately and on time can be complex, as well as time-consuming.
Alex Dyer, Partner, shares some of his expert advice on the best way to go about completing your next self assessment:
Make sure you have all of the right details to hand
When submitting self assessment, you’ll be asked to provide a range of financial information, including details of your:
- Dividends you’ve received
- Other income, such as your savings, bank interest or overseas income
- Received director’s fee
- PAYE withheld (P60)
Where possible, make sure you locate these details before you sit down to complete your self assessment. It’ll save you a lot of hassle and make the process far more straightforward if you have everything you need all in one place, save having to search around for it mid-submission.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete it
It’s clear from the list above that completing your self assessment isn’t something you can do in a matter of minutes or treat as a last-minute job.
They’re extremely thorough and take time to complete, especially if you want to make sure that you get them right first time around or if you’re new to them.
Giving yourself sufficient time to complete each stage of the process will help make sure that you don’t make any mistakes and that HMRC receive your submissions in good time.
Once you’ve completed each section, get into the habit of going back and double checking for any errors and make sure you’ve ticked all of the relevant boxes. If you fail to tick all of the necessary boxes, then you may find that your self assessment tax return is rejected, which is the last thing you want.
Know your dates
As with most things in business, planning and preparation pays off and the same can be said for your self assessment.
If you want to submit yours in good time and give yourself plenty of time to complete them accurately, then make sure you know when they’re due in advance.
It’s important you make a note of HMRC’s deadlines, as missing them could result in you receiving a fine. Key dates include:
- 5 October 2017– register for self assessment if you’re required to file a self assessment for the first time
- 31st October 2017 – deadline for filing paper personal tax return
- December 30, 2017 – deadline for filing an online tax return with HMRC if you want tax to be collected through PAYE code
- January 31, 2018 – deadline for submitting online (£100 fixed penalty, 5% of tax due if outstanding after 30 days, daily penalties after 3 months) and paying tax owed.
Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help
The world of tax can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’re new to it or figures aren’t your forte. And the fact late or inaccurate self assessment submissions can result in penalties can make the whole process feel even more daunting.
One way in which you can relieve yourself of this pressure, as well as benefit from peace of mind that your self assessment is all taken care of, is to ask an accountant to prepare, complete and submit the forms for you.
If you’ve decided that you’d like to go down this route, then make sure you enlist the help of an accountant who’s ICAEW-certified, as it’s a clear sign that they’re industry-leading professionals, who work to the right standards and follow the latest practices.
Here at Ormerod Rutter we have been ICAEW certified for a number of years. In that time we have completed 1000’s of self assessment tax returns for our clients whilst offering a personal and hassle free experience.
For more information or to talk to us about how we can help you with your next self assessment, contact us today on 01905 777600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Alex started his career with Ormerod Rutter almost 20 years ago. He has a diverse range of clients of all sizes. His enthusiastic and personable style, combined with a keen, hands on approach is something his clients find valuable.