There is still time to file your tax return
It may be the start of a new calendar year, but January 2017 is also the final month for filing your 2015/16 self-assessment tax return.
Although there was an option to file your tax return on paper, that 31st October deadline has passed, so online is now the only way to file a tax return without receiving an automatic penalty.
But time is quickly running out for that option too – 31st January 2017 is the last day to file your tax return online
Last year, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) received close to 10.4 million completed Self-Assessment tax returns ahead of 31st January – 150,000 more than the year before. Of those 10.4 million, 9.24 million were filed online, highlighting the growing trend for dealing with the tax authority electronically.
Needless to say, January is HMRC’s busiest month. In 2016, 29th January was the busiest day, with 513,271 returns completed – more than 21,386 returns received per hour.
With time at a premium, that means HMRC's helplines will only deal with 'simple' queries such as questions surrounding PAYE coding notices or the Marriage Allowance. And although HMRC’s online filing system can calculate your tax liability for you, it will not check whether your figures are correct or that you have claimed your full entitlement to expenses, reliefs and allowances.
To make sure your tax return is accurate, you should use an expert like your local TaxAssist Accountant, who can take care of all your tax affairs for you – from registration with HMRC, through calculating your tax liability and due dates to completing your tax return.
At TaxAssist Accountants we can also make sure your affairs are as tax efficient as possible. So, if you are using an accountant, the main thing you need to do is make sure you get your records to them in good time and give them as much information as possible.
To help you, we have compiled a list of common entries for tax returns completed by employees and the self-employed.
The 2015/16 tax year runs from 6th April 2015 to 5th April 2016. Unless otherwise stated, the following information should cover this period.
Common items on tax returns
Employment income – You will need your P60/ P45 – and P11D if applicable. If you don’t have these to hand, your final payslip for the tax year should have the information you need. If you can’t find that either, you should ask your employer for the details.
Pension contributions – Your pension provider should have issued you with an annual statement. Avoid using the amounts on your bank statement, as you may need the gross amounts to claim tax relief.
Bank interest – Your tax return should include any interest your bank accounts have accrued – even if it has been taxed at source. Your bank should have sent you a tax certificate in or around May with all the details you need.
Dividends – Dividends need to be included even though they are taxed at source. If you have reinvested them, they still need to be included in your tax return. Dividend vouchers should have been sent to you around the time each dividend was paid.
Second homes – Even if you are letting a property to a family member at a reduced rent, you may need to disclose the income and expenses on your return. If you let the property out at a reduced rent, expenses will be restricted to the amount of rent received- meaning you can’t create a loss and the surplus expenses are simply forgone; they can’t be carried forward. If you’ve sold a second property during the year, you may have to pay capital gains tax and the Stamp Duty Land Tax will be at higher rates than normal.
Charitable donations – Any donations you have made to charity under the Gift Aid scheme should be included on your return.
Employment expenses – If you are employed and have travelled business miles or incurred related expenses, you may be able to claim for them.
Other income – Any ‘cash in hand’ or other taxable income that doesn’t fit into any obvious boxes on your tax return may still need to disclosed – even if there is no paperwork or it has been paid in cash
From April 2017, there will be two new tax-free £1,000 allowances – one for selling goods or providing services, and one income from property you own.
This list is by no means complete, and remember that HMRC will penalise you for any mistakes made in your tax return whether you were aware of them or not.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
To ensure 2017 gets off to a good start contact TaxAssist Accountants now to file your tax return before 31st January. Don’t delay, call 0800 0523 555 today. Alternatively, submit your enquiry online here.