Online self assessment

Online self assessment - Top ten tips

If you haven’t yet filled in your self assessment tax return, you are now going to have to fill it in online. In almost all cases, this is fairly straightforward and can be completed in just a couple of hours, as long as you have kept good records. But we also know that there are some mistakes and issues that come up time and again - so we've compiled this little list of hints to ensure your self assessment goes without a hitch.


Prepare carefully - Give yourself plenty of time to register with the Government Gateway account system and to register for tax. You won’t be able to submit online without doing this first.


Use the right figures - HMRC receive monthly updates of any employed PAYE income, pension income and CIS deducted income, so they will notice if you fail to input the correct figures. Your return will be instantly flagged as incorrect.


Double check against the online tax account - Your tax account will have the correct figures for you to use. If they don’t tally, your return will once again be flagged.


Check, and check again - Make sure you check your return before you send it. If you need to make changes, it will be regarded as amended and might be flagged up for checking.


Expenses are not just for the self employed - if you pay professional fees or memberships, you might be able to offset these against your employed income.


Don’t forget charities - You also also offset charitable donations against your income, so make sure you keep the details.


Get an accountant - even if you are making a loss as a sole trader. An expert will be able to find expenses you didn’t know existed and may even get you some tax back by offsetting losses against other income.


Capital allowances claims - You can adjust your capital allowance claim across a few years to ensure it is most beneficial to you. An accountant can help you work this out.


Remember to pay - if you submit close to the deadline, you may not get a statement from HMRC. its up to you to make sure your pay on time.


Pay in instalments - if the payment is going to be difficult, HMRC will allow you to pay in instalments across the year. There is interest charged on this. Don’t forget that you can pay money into your tax account at any time to save for your future tax bills.

Matthew Russell