I have been self-employed for 3 years now. I have filled out 2 self assessment tax returns with the HMRC, and I have another due to be filled in the next few weeks. My experience with the self assessment tax returns with HMRC has been good. I found my first experience a lot more scary than the second. Which is perfectly understandable as that was my very first time submitting my tax returns. But since then, it has been great.
HMRC website is user-friendly and pretty self-explanatory. I found the filling out of the tax returns quite straight forward for me. But that may be because I have a degree in Accounting, and I am married to a qualified accountant. So whenever I get stuck, he comes to the rescue. It could also be because of great online resources like Talk Tax. For those who have never heard of Talk Tax before, it is a great website set up in 2014, that provides hard to reach HMRC contact numbers and articles to inform readers about policy change/benefits/ self-assessment and more.
When it comes to getting important things sorted, like my tax returns, I don’t play. I take it very seriously. I believe in being proactive and not reactive when it comes to tax business. And that has helped me stay on top of my business.
These 2 tips for filling out your self assessment tax returns have come in handy for me, and they may work for you too.
This is the first and most important tip when it comes to filling out your tax returns. You need to be an early bird, and start early. So when the window opens in April, you get it submitted before the summer months. That way you have the time to spread your tax and national insurance payments (if any). Starting early also means you will have the time to take your time filling out your tax returns properly.
When you leave it all until the last-minute, you start to panic so you rush, and you are more likely to make mistakes. You may also have to go into debt to pay your tax bill if you are not prepared. January 31st is the cut of date for self-employed self assessment tax returns, and many people struggle to pay up their bill before the end of January since most of the money has been spent on the Christmas shopping. Plus January is usually a quite month for most businesses. Which is why I like to get mine done long before then. Don’t leave your tax returns until the last-minute.
Starting early would work great if you keep records. Ensure you have a spreadsheet for every invoice you send and for any money I spend or receive. Having records will ensure you fill out your tax returns with the right figures quickly. It makes the process a lot easier.
The last thing you want is to fill out wrong information on your tax returns. That would land you in trouble quickly with the HMRC. Having up to date records means you won’t have to guess any figures.
Many people are usually frightened when it comes to anything tax related and I understand why It is because they are not well equipped and usually not informed. There are loads of information around to help you submit your tax returns yourself and if you are unable to do so, you can always hire someone else to sort it out for you.
Remember, if you don’t complete a Self Assessment return for each tax year before the deadline, you will get a penalty fine. This penalty starts at £100 for delays of up to 3 months but will increase the later you leave it. HMRC may also charge you interest on late payments. So ensure you get your tax returns in before the deadline.
How do you find the process of submitting your tax returns? Easy or complicated?