As if January wasn’t bad enough on its own, it also happens to be the home of the dreaded self-assessment deadline; a culmination of what can be months of worry and stress – for both you and us!
As endless as this month may seem, (it’s almost payday, right?!) there’s little doubt that the deadline has a paradoxical tendency to creep up on us all. So, whether you’re calm, or chaotic – here are a few reminders to ensure that come the 31st – both you and your accountant might finally get some sleep.
Do I need to complete self-assessment?
It might be a little late in the game for this one, but it’s worth a double-check. If you’re self-employed and have earnt more than £1,000 during the last tax year, you’ll need to complete a self-assessment.
You may also need to complete one if you’ve earnt money from property, interest, or a State Pension. Here’s a handy tool to find out.
Whilst the deadline for registering has been and gone, it’s definitely a case of sooner rather than later if you find you need to self-assess. And, if you suddenly realise that you don’t, it could save you a lot of extra worrying.
Don’t dismiss the details.
Perfecting the finer details of your self-assessment is absolutely vital in ensuring that you only pay what you need, not to mention a fool-proof way to avoid unnecessary fines.
It’s largely common sense, but when time isn’t on your side – it’s often the obvious that somehow slips our minds. Be sure that you check, double-check, and triple-check your tax code and unique tax reference (UTR) – and don’t forget to include interest, benefits, pensions and dividends on your declaration. If you’re still worried, check yourself against our list of common mistakes.
Prepare your paperwork.
We know. Few people have a real penchant for paperwork, but if it’s organised, extensive and accessible – it’ll make your job a whole lot easier. You’ll need proof of your income, as well as expenses, and anything else relevant to the costs of your business. If you’re missing receipts or invoices; find out if you can get another copy – whilst you may not need to submit them for your self-assessment, if you’re ever subject to HRMC queries, or even an investigation – you will.
Even you technophobes. As of 1st April 2019; the government’s plan for Making Tax Digital is officially in full swing. MTD approved software includes big names such as Quickbooks and Xero, and, whilst it might be a gradual rollout, it’s worth getting ahead of the game. Who knows? January 2021 just might get a whole lot easier.
Extend your expenses.
Make sure you’re claiming for all allowable business expenses. Self-employed or otherwise – businesses incur costs, and these should all be declared.
Read up on what does or doesn’t qualify. Few people are aware that costs for marketing, websites, or heating your home office can be included – and you can also claim for uniforms. It doesn’t cover pyjamas though – we checked.
Alright, it’s a tenuous link – but make sure you’re assessing more than just your numbers this January. It’s easy to get caught up and, ironically, neglect to assess your self. Take a break. Breathe. And if you need any extra help – we’re here. (And we’re definitely more helpful than your mother.)
Need any advice on your Self Assessment Tax Return? Get in touch with us today.