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Can I complete my own tax return?

Can I complete my own tax return?

Personal tax returns are completed once a year and cover the tax year which runs from 6th April to 5th April. If you are completing a paper return the deadline is 31st October and if you are submitting online the deadline is 31st January following the end of the tax year. Any tax payable is also due on 31st January. If your tax return is one day late there is an automatic penalty of £100.

Many individuals complete their own tax return without any problem. Like anything it can be a bit daunting the first time you complete it and because it is only once a year you might struggle to recall what you did the year before.

So how do I go about it?
The first thing is to gather all the information required. For most straightforward returns the sections to complete are:
• Employment & Benefits – if you have been an employee during the year.
• Self employment – whether a sole trader or in partnership. Your level of turnover will determine whether you need to complete a short return or full return which is more detailed. For 2012-2013 you can complete the short summary return if your turnover does not exceed £77,000.
• Other income – interest received, pensions, dividends.

The amount of tax payable will be reduced by any reliefs for pension payments and charitable giving.

If your situation is more complex you may also have to complete the sections for UK property, foreign income, trusts and capital gains.

Whether you are completing your own return or you have somebody completing it on your behalf, the most important thing is to be organised. Know what backup documentation is required and file it in a safe place as soon as you receive it. I would suggest you keep a file labelled ‘Tax Return 2012-2013’ and put everything in there as soon as you receive it. Alternatively, keep your documents in electronic format, again in a named folder and remember to take a backup of these files.

So which documents do I need?
• Employment – P60 will be issued by your employer by 31st May. P11D detailing any benefits, e.g. company car or medical insurance will be issued by your employer by 6th July.
• Self employment – you will need your profit and loss account for the year.
• Interest received – statement from bank, building society or refer to your statements for the tax year.
• Pensions – annual statements
• Dividends – dividend counterfoils

Once you have everything to hand you can logon to HMRC and file your return online

So what are you waiting for, why not start today?
If you do need help with your tax return, please get in touch today for a free consultation