The HMRC self-assessment deadline is looming: you must submit your form online by midnight 31 January 2021. This isn’t a job that anyone enjoys, but it’s a very important one.
Failing to submit your self-assessment by the deadline means you’ll get a penalty of at least £100. The amount goes up every day that you’re delayed, up to a maximum of £1000. If you end up being over a year late with your forms, you could end up having to pay double the amount of tax due!
Here are our seven tips to help you avoid a fine and stay on the right side of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs…
1) Don’t leave it to the last minute
While the online process is well designed and easy to follow if you have all the numbers and paperwork to hand, NEVER wait till the deadline to do it.
If you’re down to the wire, it’s almost certain you’ll suddenly be without WiFi when you most need it or discover you’re missing a vital figure! Be kind to your stress levels and start the application as soon as possible.
2) Find your UTR
Your Unique Taxpayers Reference (UTR) number is the first thing you’ll need to do your tax return online. You will have been sent this via email when you registered for Self-Assessment on the gov.uk website.
3) Have all your papers ready
You’ll need all your accounts for the year including records of your expenses. These include your mortgage interest payments and costs of repairs, inspections, letting agent fees and insurance on the property.
4) Press Submit!
You’d be surprised how many people get to the end of the form and forget to finally submit it! You might need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find the button. Wait for your confirmation code and make a note of it in case of any problems. If you don’t get a confirmation code, then call HMRC to ensure your submission was received and is being processed. It’s worth asking them to make a note on your account that you contacted them about this matter too.
5) Pay your tax
It’s not over yet. Now you need to pay the amount of tax that’s due. You can pay online via debit card or BACS. The deadline for this is also 12pm on January 31.
6) Have a rest
Congratulations, you met the deadline. Now have a cup of tea but, while you’re enjoying it, think about how you might make the self-assessment process easier for next year. Could you invest in a handy desk spike to keep your receipts accessible and in order? Was your filing up to scratch this time? Did you leave it a bit late? Now’s the time to set a reminder for next year and get a good process together for your 2020-2021 tax return.
7) Get an accountant!
If you find the financial side of your property business all too stressful, it could be worth finding an accountant to do the hard work for you. They’ll get your records together, calculate your tax and potentially find ways to reduce your bill a little. Best of all, they’ll file the self-assessment on your behalf. YAY!
We hope that’s helped you tackle the impending deadline. At least it only comes once a year!