Hands up if you still haven’t filled out and sent off your tax return!
With only just over a month to go until the deadline on the 31st January 2020, if you haven’t submitted your tax details for this year yet, you are not alone. Around an estimated 700,000 of us will be leaving the much hated chore until the very last day, usually due to inadequate skills and confidence to fill it in without the stress of worrying about if it is correct or not.
At Accounts Unlocked For Doctors, we consider ourselves experts on the tax return front, and we have some top tips for all of you that are struggling to fill out your tax return or make sense of it.
If you’ve left it last minute, the only way is online. Creating an online account is actually a very useful and efficient tool to have. You can complete your entire tax return there, stay up to date with its progress, and you will see how much you owe, as well as the ability to make payments or set up a payment plan for your tax arrears.
You must set up this account at least 14 days before the deadline if you don’t already have a self assessment account, as you will need an activation code sent in the post that can take up to 10 days to arrive.
GET YOUR PAPERWORK TOGETHER
Before you even attempt filling in your tax return, it is important to make sure you have all the relevant paperwork to actually get it done successfully. We suggest organising your paperwork efficiently throughout the year to ensure you don’t spend the entirety of January searching for loose paperwork that could be anywhere.
Paperwork can include receipts, proof of bills, P60, P45, P9D and bank statements to name a few.
AVOID CALLING HMRC
The very last resort you should be going to is calling HMRC. If you want to maintain your sanity and not lose hours of your life in their never ending telephone queues, find another way to get the information you need. The HMRC website is FULL to the brim with useful information and video guides to filling in your tax return that won’t have you waiting for 3 hours to get one answer.
LEARN FROM MISTAKES OF THE PAST
If you have spent hours trying to gather paperwork and find information that you forgot you needed, it’s understandable when it is your first tax return, but if this is your third or fourth time, you really need to learn from your mistakes.
Creating a spreadsheet with your income and expenses is a great place to start when it comes to organising your tax return. Opening a separate account to pay in your taxes that you will pay a portion of your earnings into every month is another important element of organisation, and will stop you from being hit with a huge unexpected bill in January.
HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT
The most stress free way to submit your tax return is to use an accountant and have them do it for you. Accountants are experienced in dealing with tax returns and helping with all the issues and paperwork so that you don’t have to.
Accountant fees usually range from £200 to £400 + VAT however they usually make savings to your final tax bill that will go some way towards paying off their fee.