How to Beat the Self Assessment Deadline

Self Assessment Deadline

If you’re one of the millions of self employed individuals in the UK who has to file a Self Assessment Tax Return by 31st January and have yet to begin, you might be feeling nervous about the prospect of a fine from HMRC. But it doesn’t have to be this way, time is still on your side and we’ve compiled a list of handy tips to help you submit your tax return before the Self Assessment deadline. Here goes:

Gather your paperwork
The key to getting started is being organised. There are yearly items of paperwork for the tax year that you must have before you begin your Self Assessment. Here’s a list of priority items you should collect and have at the ready:

  • Bank interest
  • Your P60
  • List of income
  • List of expenses

Check your expenses
Organise all your business related transactions and categorise them. These should include things such as; travel, stationary, accomodation and any other business use items. Check your expenses against those listed on HMRC’s website.

Take your time
HMRC’s 31st January filing deadline might be only a matter of days aways, but there’s no need to panic and rush your self assessment. Remember mistakes can be costly. Follow the instructions carefully and complete your return one step at a time. Contact HMRC if you need anything relating to the Self Assessment explained. However, HMRC will not be able to give you any advice.

Spend time checking all your figures and make sure everything is 100% accurate before you click the ‘submit’ button for your tax return online. If you are unsure of anything, speak to a qualified accountant as they’ll be able to give you accurate advice and ensure you remain compliant.

Submit your Self Assessment and pay your tax bill!
Once you’ve completed your tax return you might feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, but it’s not party time just yet! Don’t forget, you still need to submit it before midnight of 31st January or you’ll receive a £100 fine. You must also pay your tax bill by midnight on 31st January (for the previous year) and a payment on account for the current year.

Struggling to meet the deadline? 
Be realistic. If you find yourself struggling for time and can’t complete your self assessment before the deadline then don’t submit an inaccurate return. If you do miss the self assessment deadline, you’ll receive a £100 fine and you’ll be charged interest. You won’t get an automatic visit from a tax inspector or face immediate persecution. You can submit your tax return after the 31st January deadline. Be careful to not make a habit of this though and be aware that HMRC increases late filing penalties the longer you leave it! The sooner you can submit it, the better.