Got that nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something important? It might just be your 2017/18 tax return - with the deadline for Self Assessment looming on the 31st January 2019.
The end of the month isn’t just the deadline for filing, either - it’s also the deadline for paying the resultant tax bill.
Leaving your return to the very last minute is therefore a rather dangerous game, especially if you’re hit with a surprisingly high bill and need time to gather the funds together.
Fines for late filing start at a modest £100, but if you’re more than three months late, additional penalties of £10 per day can be added. Further penalties could kick in at six and twelve months - and you’ll also be charged interest on your tax bill.
However busy you are, it’s therefore wise to set aside some time right now and get your return completed. And, if you haven’t set yourself a New Year’s resolution just yet, might we suggest you resolve to prepare your figures a little earlier next time around!
What you need to do now
In order to make the self-assessment process as painless as possible, you’ll need to gather all your 2017-18 paperwork together before you begin.
If you’re using accounting software like Xero, your income and expenditure data should be readily accessible, but you’ll also need to pull together some data from outside of your business accounts.
That includes things like bank accounts on which you received interest, personal pension pots you paid into or Gift Aid charity donations you made during the tax year.
You’ll also need your Unique Tax Reference number to hand, and your National Insurance number too. Get all this information ready before you start the return, and you should be able to tackle the submission efficiently in one go.
Bear in mind that when you do complete your return, you’ll get a tax calculation that doesn’t take into consideration any payments on account you may have made last year. You’ll need to deduct those payments from your final calculation in order to see what you ultimately owe.
Visit www.gov.uk to complete your self assessment tax return now.
Why it pays to plan ahead…
Some things are better left to the last minute - and indeed many people are at their most productive or creative when a deadline looms. Tax returns though, are definitely best taken care of early.
By crunching the numbers as soon as possible after the tax year ends in April, you’ll know your tax liability a good nine or ten months ahead of the payment deadline - giving you plenty of time to prepare, save or plan the best time to pay.
What’s more, if you want an accountant to advise or complete the return on your behalf, you’ll be able to beat the traditional January rush. Leave it too late, and you might find professional help hard to come by as the deadline approaches.
The good news is, getting your finances in order ahead of your tax return has never been easier.
Online accounting platforms like Xero provide a simple, accessible way to maintain your accounts and track your transactions in real-time throughout the year - never requiring you to dedicated swathes of your time to bookkeeping, and reducing the risk of human error through automated invoicing, bank feeds and reports.
So, if your first priority is meeting the Self Assessment deadline on the 31st Jan, maybe your second should be a discussion with us on Xero and its many benefits!
Give us a call on 0121 667 3882 or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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