If you are due to file a tax return, it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you completely knew too it. The deadline for online self-assessment submissions is the 31st of January. However, you can still file a tax return between the end of the tax year in April and the following January.
If you are self-employed, generate income from property – do not panic. It can seem daunting to file a tax return, but it is actually rather simple if you know what you are doing – which is why we are here to help! Bear in mind that if you are particularly complex financial needs, then you may want to consult with an account and pay a fee for their services.
If you are unsure as to whether you are required to file a self-assessment tax return, check on the HMRC website where you can find all the details you need on who is expected to fill out a return, as well as all the deadlines and penalties for each tax year.
In short, however, if you are of self-employed status, renting out property, or have significant savings or investments, it is very likely you will need to file a tax return.
How to register for self-assessment online
The first step for any person who needs to file a tax return is to sign up for Self Assessment if you have not done this already. You can skip this step if you have previously registered yourself with HMRC.
To sign up, you will need a Government Gateway Account, but do not worry – this is easily set up during the self assessment registration itself. In turn, this will enrol you in the online self assessment service.
However, it is important to be aware that this process isn’t instantaneous. HMRC will need to send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) as well as an online service activation code through the post. At the point of registration, it does warn that this may take up to 10 days, so you should think about starting this well before the deadline so you do not miss it.
You will also need handy your PAYE details if you have them. In addition, you will need accounts of the money earned and costs incurred. You will also need to know your National Insurance Number.
When you have finally signed up, it is highly advisable to keep the details all in one place where you can quickly access them when need be. This is better than coming to do something and not knowing your details – having to spend hours faffing around is not ideal.
How to use HMRC online Self Assessment services
When it has come to the time where you need to file your tax return, head over to the HMRC Self Assessment section and log in using your Government Gateway ID.
It may come as a surprise to some that the online system is relatively straightforward and easy enough to navigate. It will be made a lot easier if you work out your incomings and outgoings before aiming to file your tax return and having them handing on a spreadsheet, for example. It is true that when filling out the form you only have to declare your overall figures for income and not a detailed breakdown. However, it is worth keeping on top of this for your own records in case HMRC have any questions related to your finances and your returns form.
If you are a professional who is filling in a tax return with additional earnings on top of your base salary, it is advised to keep your P60 with you whilst you file your tax return and keep it safe for reference.
If you do get stuck at any point, you can call up the helpline at 0300 200 3310. The operators are usually very helpful and handle people who are unsure about what they are doing all the time.
Everyone has to pay tax, and this includes those who qualify for a self-assessment. So do not miss the deadline or you could
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