19th January 2016
January 31st 2016 marks the deadline for self-assessment payment for year ended April 5th 2015. If you’re part of the UK’s booming self-employed population, then this means that the last couple of weeks of January could leave you with more than one headache, and in sore need of a glass of wine come February 1st (especially if you’re celebrating the end of #DryJanuary…)
If you want to avoid the automatic £100 fine for missing the deadline (or more if you’re drastically behind schedule), we can offer you some helpful tips to make sure your tax returns are as easy as possible.
- Remember, if this is your first time completing a self-assessment return, you’ll need to apply for an activation code to get started. You’ll need to consider postage, so if you don’t want to find yourself facing a fine, make your application for your code by the end of this week.
- Visit the HMRC’s website, where you can begin the process. You’ll need your 10-digit taxpayer reference number to log in, as well as you user ID and password if you already have one.
- Carefully consider your deductions and expenses. The HMRC allow for reasonable assessments of expenses incurred on costs such as heating, electricity, council tax, internet or even portions of your mortgage, rent and insurance. Remember, these need to be appropriately apportioned to their use in your business. There’s also a £2-per week deduction if you only use your home minimally for business, such as completing paperwork.
- Whilst membership to approved professional bodies can be claimed against, entertaining clients cannot! This is referred to as a ‘non-allowable expense’ by the HMRC, so no matter how much future business you secured by splashing out on a dessert at Nando’s for your guests, it’s coming out of your pocket!
- If you’re unsure of anything, contact the self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310. There’s also help available on the website, so you should be able to answer any questions you have.
And the most important thing to remember – ignorance is not an excuse! Unless you have extenuating circumstances (and by that we mean hospital stay, system failure or bereavement, not ‘my dog ate it’), you’re expected to complete your forms and return them by the due date, or pay the penalty.
If you want to learn how to keep the taxman from your door yourself without spending a fortune on accountants, you could also consider some professional training for yourself or your staff. The College now offers a new Certificate in Bookkeeping, which offers a strong introduction to manual double entry bookkeeping, including associated documents and process, up to Trial Balance standard.
We also offer various accounting courses accredited by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), from Level 2 through to Chartered Status. So make sure that come January 31st 2017, you’re sat with your feet up whilst everyone else is panicking, and see how our Business Advantage team can help your business by calling 01803 540600 or email [email protected].