Now that it’s December it seems as if everyone is on the countdown to Christmas and the New Year. With office parties, client lunches and prepping for the extended break, the more mundane tasks can get pushed to the back of the list, not least preparing for the self-assessment deadline of 31st January. However, with HMRC getting stricter each year, and the potential risk of a fine, getting your affairs in order is crucial. We thought we’d offer up some tips on how to use the festive period to get ahead and file that tax return on time.

Check if you need to file

If you are self-employed then you definitely need to file, but Company Directors, business partners and any person who is employed but earns additional income will also need to file. You could also need to file a self-assessment return if you are a higher rate tax-payer looking to reclaim tax paid on a pension, or have been claiming child benefit while earning over the threshold. If you’re not sure, you can check here.

Check your details

As the deadline for paper returns has now passed, all tax returns will need to be filed digitally. Check that you have the details for your online account and if you don’t have one now is the time to register as it can take up to 10 working days to receive the necessary information.

Check what you need to file

Essentially you need to declare everything that you have earned in the tax year you are submitting the return for. Use the time over the Christmas period to gather everything you need, at a minimum this will include your earnings (both employed and self-employed), interest from savings and investments and income from any property rented out. Any savings and investments in tax free ISAs should also be declared.

Check if you need an Accountant!

This sub-heading is a little tongue in cheek, but there are times when seeking the advice and assistance of a professional will prove invaluable. This could be helpful if you have a lot of invoices and expenses to sort through, or if you are not 100% sure about your calculations. A reputable accountant will have seen and done it all before and be experienced in knowing what and what does not need to be included.

There is still just over two months until the self-assessment deadline, so if you do need to file now is the time to start planning your process. If you feel an accountant would help minimise the work and stress on your part, get in touch to see how we can help.