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Last Minute Tax Return Guide- Get it Over the Line, on Time!

Left your Self-Assessment tax return to the last minute? Don't fear, ListenToTaxman's Last Minute Filing Guide is here.

*HMRC COVID19 update 25th January 2020- Self-assessment customers will not receive a penalty for their late online tax return if they file by 28th February. However any tax due for 2019-2020, that has not been paid on the 1st of February, will begin to incur interest, the usual rate is 2.6%. As penalties on tax owing do not begin until the 2nd March, this means that a return made before the 28th February will cost the taxpayer interest on tax owing, but no flat rate fine or penalty. So, in real terms, this is only an extension on the deadline for those who owe little or no tax.

It happens every year, best intentions and all that, then POW! It's the end of January and you have not even thought about the stack of receipts in a box in the corner.

Firstly, don't fear, you are not alone!

According to HMRC, last year "More than 700,000 submitted their tax returns on deadline day, the peak hour for filing was between 4pm to 4:59pm when 56,969 filed.

Thousands of customers filed their tax returns at the last minute, with 26,562 completing their returns from 11pm to 11:59pm on Friday 31 January 2020."

While you can take some comfort in those statistics, you should also note that getting your return in ASAP is key, as an overwhelmed system at the last minute, could result in your return being submitted past the deadline of midnight on the 31st of January, a costly mistake, even if no tax is owing.

Any tax return submitted after the deadline will incur a £100 fine, regardless of whether tax is owing or not. Remember this deadline is for both the tax return and payment of tax owing.

Making your Return. What you need and some handy tips.

There are certain documents and information you will need to gather together in order to complete your return. Even if you don't have some of this information- figure out estimates and include those. 
It is better to submit the return with what you do have, and contact HMRC regarding anything needing to be updated/changed later. 

  • Your ten digit 'Unique Taxpayer Reference' (UTR) issued to you by HMRC. If you have previously completed an online self-assessment return, or have registered to do so, you will have been issued with this. You will find it on correspondence from HMRC, such as post or Emails. If you have never registered for this before you will need to follow instructions found here: 'Who needs a UTR number Anyway?'
  • Employment information- P60 if you don't have it you could use a wage slip for the month of March, ie. just before the end of the tax year you are making a return up to. If you can not find March's wage slips, statements etc., use the telephone to contact your employer to get the information. P45 for any other jobs you may have finished up with during this tax year. If you have registered for the HMRC online services then this information may also be shown in your personal tax account.
  • National Insurance Number- should be on your P60/wage slips.
  • Pension contributions, statements or receipts. If you can not find these, check for email copies from your pension fund manager or contact your pension fund manager and get the figures needed.
  • Savings and dividend income – you will need to summarise the interest you received from all your savings and dividends. You may need to pay tax on any savings interest that exceeds your personal savings allowance or income that exceeds the dividend allowance.

    Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/01/2018-19-tax-return-deadline-last-minute-tips-to-file-by-midnight/ - Which?
    Savings and Dividend Interest -Look for a bank interest certificate or statements,  for information on income from savings. Also include any interest on dividends (whether cashed or reinvested) on your return. For information on how much interest from savings you can earn tax-free each year, see our Guide to your Personal Savings Allowance.
  • Let Property - You will need to include information on income from letting property (or losses from it).
  • Figures for any other forms of income
  • Evidence of any Charity Contributions. HMRC provides some tax relief on charitable giving. 
  • Totals from previous submitted self-assessment forms so you can see if there are previous losses which can be carried forward to offset against this years income. HMRC have information on claiming losses against income for self-employed.
  • Allowable expenses - get together your receipts and don't panic over those missing, instead look for other evidence of them such as transactions on bank statements or credit card statements, or emailed copies of purchases. Also, remember some allowances can be claimed at a Flat Rate, so no receipts will be necessary. See our articles on allowable expenses for both Self-Employed and PAYE paying employees.
  • Consider if Capital Gains applies to you this year, eg. have you sold a property? Or have you incurred a loss? If so you need to fill out the relevant section.
  • Do not round up your figures. HMRC have implied that rounding up figures is a sign that people have not been detailed in maintaining their accounts and could attract further attention from HMRC.
  • If you have gone over your allowable pension contribution, check previous self-assessment returns as you may be able to carry forward unused allowances from previous years, see more here.
  • Check you have the right tax code. Your tax code determines how much tax is deducted from your wage or pension. If it is incorrect, you could be paying too much tax. For up to date information on tax rates and allowances and what you should be paying in tax, use the Listentotaxman calculator and read up on the thresholds and allowances for 2019/20.

Lastly-Don't Forget To Pay!

*HMRC COVID19 update 25th January 2020- Self-assessment customers will not receive a penalty for their late online tax return if they file by 28th February. However any tax due for 2019-2020, that has not been paid on the 1st of February, will begin to incur interest, the usual rate is 2.6%. As penalties on tax owing do not begin until the 2nd March, this means that a return made before the 28th February will cost the taxpayer interest on tax owing, but no flat rate fine or penalty. So, in real terms, this is only an extension on the deadline for those who owe little or no tax.

The 31st of January is a deadline for both completing your self-assessment form, and for receipt by HMRC of tax owing. The £100 fine applies once the form is submitted after midnight on the 31st January. There are separate penalties for late payment of tax owing. A full breakdown of fines and penalties is listed in our Guide here.

Depending on how you choose to pay, you’ll need to give up to five working days for the payment to go through.

HMRC have written a guide on completing your return.

If you’re looking for an easy way to calculate and submit your tax return, then we’re big fans of GoSimpleTax. Our team use this software for their own personal Self-Assessment return.  Anyone can use the software free for 14 days. If you find it easy to use and want to submit your return, then only at that point will you need to provide any payment details. For most people the cost is £49. Why not give it a go?

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ListenToTaxman have teamed up with GoSimpleTax, the online self-assessment app to bring you, what is in our view, the easiest way of calculating and submitting your tax return we’ve seen so far. Key in your income and expenses into the app, and it will flag up any unclaimed allowances. Simple.

Once you’re comfortable with the information you’ve entered, simply submit via the app to HMRC. You’ll just need your Tax Reference Number - found on most tax correspondence. GoSimpleTax let you use their software free for 14 days. If you don’t think it’s right for you - don’t pay anything. If you do to choose to submit your tax information via the app, then at most of you will be charged £49 for their service.

 

 

This article was published in our Guides section on 06/01/2021.

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