Self- assessment 2016/2017

The self-assessment tax return deadlines are quietly looming, and although you might think they’re still in the distant future, our experience has taught us that they’re closer than they seem! The deadline for self-assessments by post is the 31st October 2016, whilst the online deadline is slightly later, on January 31st 2017, so let’s get in there fast and get it out of the way.

Self-assessments are accepted any time from now, and our motto is ‘the sooner the better’. If you haven’t already received it, your employer should soon be sending you your P60 forms with details of your contributions to income tax and national insurance for the tax year ending April 2016. Once you’ve received this, you will be able to complete your tax return and rest safe (and smug) in the knowledge that you don’t have to think about it for another year. It’s always a foreboding task, but completing your tax return as early as possible ensures that you’ll be better prepared for any nasty surprises and undue stress.

Who needs to complete a self-assessment tax return?
If you have an income outside of the PAYE system and is not taxed at source (for example, freelance work undertaken as a self-employed individual) then you’ll need to complete a self-assessment. You should have received a notification from HMRC, and receipt of this letter means that you are legally obliged to complete and return your self-assessment.

What do I need to complete a self-assessment?
Get together all of your personal details. The usual suspects are required to complete your tax return, including your national insurance number, Unique Tax Reference (UTR), and a full breakdown of your income and any expenses. Decide whether you’d like to submit your return via post or online (we advise online for ease and improved tracking) and you’re set to go.

I have plenty of time, why should I completely my self-assessment now?
Put simply, the sooner you have completed your self-assessment, the sooner you know how much you owe HMRC. It might be less than you think, but it could be more – and there’s nothing worse than that sort of surprise on the day of the deadline! Completing your return earlier will also mean that there is less chance of errors being made. You’ll be able to take your time and ensure that all of the information you provide is correct. As you can imagine, HMRC gets very busy around the end of January, so if you run into any difficulty during the self-assessment process, there will be a lot of ‘hold music’ while you wait for an HMRC representative to answer your call. Avoid this by completing your return within plenty of time, so you can get all the help you need and have peace of mind that your assessment is done and dusted.

What if I don’t file my self-assessment before the deadline?
If you miss the 31st January deadline, you could be liable to a fine of £100 minimum, even if you have no tax to pay or have paid any tax that you owe. The longer you wait to submit your return, the bigger the fine will be, so it’s best to avoid delay.

Is there anyone who can help me file my tax return?
Filing a tax return is a relatively straightforward procedure, even if you’ve never done one before. Providing you have all the information, it should take you no more than a couple of hours.

However, if you feel that you’d benefit from some assistance or have difficulty with any part of the process, our accountants at DJCA would be more than happy to assist you and ensure that you don’t pay more tax than you need to.

Contact us on 0203 6910206or if you or anyone you know needs to discuss a self-assessment with one of our advisors.