It’s That Time of Year Again – The Self-Assessment Deadline Looms!

The dreaded self-assessment tax return deadline is just a few days away, and many people are still a long way from completing it. The truth is it’s not the difficult beast that we all believe it to be: simply keep a sensible record of your income and business expenditure, and you have it all to hand. Are numbers simply not your thing? Ask a friend who is more mathematically minded – you don’t need to be an accountant to fill in what is a simple form. Let’s have a look at some important tips.

Meet the Deadline

The most important part of filling in an online self-assessment form is that you meet the deadline; for online applicants this is 31st January, 2013, and if you miss the deadline by even one day you may be made to pay a penalty of £100. This applies, you should be told, even if you do not owe any tax! Even later, and the fines become more harsh, so it is vital that you plan in advance. The online form is simple to fill in and there are useful guidelines at the HM Revenue and Customs website, so make sure you take a note of what is required.

What Do I Need?

You will need your user ID, the email address you have registered with HMRC, and your unique taxpayer reference, as well as your chosen password. The problem for many people is that as this is a once yearly exercise, it is easy to lose one or all of the above. Your unique taxpayer code should be at the top of any communication from HMRC – it may be labelled Tax Reference and is a 10-figure number, but without your email or ID it is very difficult to get hold of a forgotten password. There are helpful online help channels you can use.

Do I Need to Fill in the Form?

If you are self employed and even if you did not earn enough to pay tax you must fill in a self-assessment form; not to do so is to act fraudulently, and the penalties are very harsh. It really is not as hard as many make it out to be, and in simple businesses can be as easy as telling the tax office your income, expenditure and profit across the year. Avoid those penalties, and get it done right now.

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