Insights

Tips for confidently filling in your self assessment form

  • Written By: Cherry Reynard
  • Published: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 10:20 GMT

It’s not just the self-employed that need to file a tax return. There’s a large group of individuals that should have registered to complete a self assessment tax return and who may not be aware of the penalties

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  • for failing to register,
  • get their return in by 31 January, or
  • pay the tax on time.

These tips will help you navigate the form.

  1. You can check if HMRC thinks you need to complete a self assessment tax return at: www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-a-tax-return
  2. If you do not already have an online account, register straight away for online filing www.gov.uk/log-in-file-self-assessment-tax-return
  3. Collect the information, including: 
    1. For the employed: you need and year-end form (P60) and leaver form P45 from any employers you had in the year (or if those are lost you can use your final payslip for the year from your employer(s)) plus details of benefits in kind (P11D).
    2. If you have investments: details of share dividends, gains, losses, interest on bank accounts and any other investments.
    3. Rental property: you’ll need details of incoming receipts, expenses, capital gains and losses, and so on.
    4. Pension contributions: get confirmation of the amount you have contributed – and your employer’s contributions to your pension scheme.
    5. Details of any payments under gift aid to charities – higher rate taxpayers can claim the higher rate relief on this.
    6. For the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC): details of the child benefit received and knowledge of which partner has the higher income if over £50,000.
  4. If you are missing some of the figures, make an estimate and explain your working.
  5. If you anticipate a drop in your self assessment taxable earnings for the 2016/17 tax year, you can claim a reduction in your payment on account.
  6. Keep a record of your completed form and supporting information for at least a further year to 31 January 2018. If you are in a business, eg you are self employed, keep this for a further five years, so up until 31 January 2022.
  7. Watch out for recent changes in the law which affect 2015/16 tax returns, such as:
    1. Class 2 NIC is now payable through self assessment, but if the newly self employed have not separately notified HMRC of this HMRC may query or omit this from the calculation, resulting in an underpayment.
    2. Long- term non-domiciled individuals resident in the UK paying the remittance charge face paying the new £90,000 charge.
  8. Watch out for areas that can trip people up:
    1. If you have exceeded your lifetime allowance for pensions in 2015/16 make sure you declare the charge.
    2. If you have been moving in and out of the UK ensure you are aware of the statutory residence test rules – a useful flowchart is available at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547118/160803_RDR3_August2016_v2_0final_078500.pdf.
    3. If you have carried out any tax planning that might be deemed abusive, you may need advice on whether the general anti-abuse rule applies. This is a subjective test and may be difficult for taxpayers to apply themselves.
  9. If you are not sure about something, get help. This may be available from:
    1. Specialist tax advisers and accountants.
    2. Voluntary organisations that deal with those on low incomes.
    3. HMRC itself – although you can no longer visit an enquiry centre you can join an HMRC online chat session – details are on gov.uk.
  10. Do pay any tax you owe on time – or ask HMRC if you can have time to pay. www.gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/self-assessment
    Keep your personal details safe – don’t get caught by scammers. www.gov.uk/government/news/have-you-returned-your-safe-assessment

Disclaimer

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.

Smith & Williamson Financial Services Limited

This item has been approved as a financial promotion by Smith & Williamson Financial Services Ltd.

DISCLAIMER
By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of publication.

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