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Just days to go to self assessment tax deadline - here’s what to do

There are now fewer than 35 days until self employed workers - including many landlords - will need to submit their self-assessment tax return, and pay the tax they owe.

A recent survey of self-employed workers by GoSimpleTax discovered that 58 per cent don’t know how much their next tax bill will be or have money set aside to pay for it. 

Almost a third (32 per cent) say they have ‘some idea’ but more than a quarter (27 per cent) will wait until they complete their return to find the money to pay it.


The survey also found that almost a quarter will submit their self assessment and January payment a month before the deadline, with one in five getting theirs in a few months before the deadline and nearly a sixth getting theirs in six months before the January deadline. 

Yet some will already have planned to pay it late, even with over 30 days to go before the HMRC deadline.

Mike Parkes, Technical Director at GoSimpleTax, says: “The idea that self employed life can be ‘feast or famine’ is one that often sees many self employed workers concentrating solely on getting their invoices paid, and not always thinking about what comes next.

“This can sometimes mean that there isn’t income put aside for tax, or for other financial security like investments, pensions and savings. This can then have a knock on effect so that when the January deadline for self assessment comes round, it can mean scraping together money to pay the amount owed rather than being prepared and having it ready and set aside. 

They continued: “Having control of finances, including paying tax and budgeting, are two of the sides of self employed life that can often be time consuming and draining but they don’t have to be. Getting ready for the January 31st deadline can mean taking the headache out of paying tax and help it seem less of a drain on your finances too.”

The experts at GoSimpleTax have prepared easy tips to make sure you’re ready for January 31st, and that it doesn’t cause a headache:

Get all the documentation you need together
When it comes to the form itself, the key is to have everything you need to hand and ensure you’ve been collating records (i.e. receipts and invoices) properly throughout the tax year. The kind of information you’ll need, includes: 
- Your UTR
- Your National Insurance number
- Information on untaxed income for the year
- Records of expenses relating to self-employment
- Any charitable or pension contributions

There are two sections you’ll need to fill out – the main one is SA100, with other supplementary pages applying for different circumstances, such as being an employee, self-employed, landlord or a foreign national. 

Use the HMRC website for guidance if you’re unsure
The HMRC website has useful help sheets throughout the form which can help guide you through the process.

There’s also lots of information online to help and guide, and using a digital tool can often simplify it too so it won’t seem so confusing once you come to submit. If in doubt, you can make your life easier with tools such as GoSimpleTax self-assessment software, as you’ll be prompted and advised when you input your earnings, which section to fill out, as well as getting an answer on what you owe and advice on the benefit of any tax reliefs you may be entitled to.


Get ready as soon as you can
The secret to submitting your self-assessment tax return on time and correctly is to be extremely organised, ready for the impending deadline in January, and to be completely clear about what HMRC is looking for. Otherwise, the whole process can turn out to be both stressful and slightly overwhelming.

This means giving yourself time to get it done, and not leave it until 10pm on January 31st where you’ll feel panicked and under pressure to get it submitted. 


Do it in stages if it feels too overwhelming
The entire process can seem complex but, take your time, use the option to fill it out in stages, save your changes and then go back to it, and ensure your house is in order throughout the tax year (as much as you can). Whatever you do, don’t leave it until the very last minute on the last day of January, as financial penalties can apply if you miss the midnight deadline.


Don’t get caught out over Child Benefit
People may not be aware that they need to complete a return if they, or their partner have received child benefit and either party has an annual income of more than £50,000. 

The way the system works is that if a couple are both on salaries of £49,999 they can receive the benefit, yet if a single parent is earning £60,000, this benefit would be cancelled out by the high-income charge. 

People who don’t fill in their self-assessment tax return, because they’re not aware of the high-income benefit charge, could be penalised by HMRC and hit with fines as a result.


Don’t worry if you can’t pay everything you owe
The important thing is to submit your self-assessment tax return and be on time. The earlier the better, and then if you think you’ll be short come January 31st you might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC. This lets you spread the cost of your tax bill by paying what you owe through affordable monthly payments based on your income and expenditure.

Time to pay is based on an individual’s specific financial circumstances, so there is no ‘standard’ time to pay arrangement. HMRC will establish your ability to pay using an ‘income and expenditure’ assessment. This looks at your income, disposable assets and expenditure to calculate your disposable income.


Try and plan ahead for next year if you can
If you have left it to the last minute, don’t beat yourself up over it but try and learn from it for next year.

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    All filed and agreed with HMRC in june why leave it to the last moment


    Money set aside in Premium Bonds last May. Nothing won this year but I have had the occasional £25 in previous years.

    If HMRC gave me even a small incentive they could have been paid last May.

    One other reason not to pay early is I interpret the rules very generously in my favour and put my reasons in the notes but I would prefer there not to be enough time for anyone to read these, disagree with my interpretations and charge me more.

    Apart from that I must be due a million pounds prize next year!


    Robert I don't pay early I just get the tax return done filed and agreed early mine is still not due for payment until the end of Jan

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    I have to do my UK tax return ASAP as a resident in Cyprus, as it is needed by my Cyprus accountant who has to then prepare and submit my Cyprus returns with payment due by the end of July. Difficult to do when all the pension and investment P45's don't all arrive until late June.

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    Do you guys get statements sent in the post, showing how much you need to pay and when? For the last few years I didn't get any. This caused an under payment one year and then interest charges. They did not send me any reminders for the payment, email or letter. The reason for the under payment is that I have to pay part in July and part in January. It gets confusing when you have to pay some upfront in July, instead of just once a year in January.

    This December I received a statement by post, first time in a few years. I know I can check it online, but even then it's not easy to find the information, they don't make it easy!


    My accountant tells me when to pay and how much


    When I was self employed and running my own business I used to have to make a payment onn account every July, and relied on an accountant to tell me when and what to pay.

    Now I am retired with only pension income on PAYE, interest and rental income, I don't get asked to make any July payments, not sure why but not complaining.

    I no longer use an accountant as I am a much more creative interpreter of the rules than my accountant was.

    Everything is worked out on a spreadsheet in May, the tax due stuck into premium bonds and the tax return submitted in early January, with the tax due paid from low interest savings or the premium bonds as appropriate.

    Now with a number of regular savings accounts offering up to 8%, the money will probably come from the premium bonds.


    My accountant tells me how much the bills will be but HMRC also send a paper bill in the post. It's also clearly shown if I log in to my self assessment bit of the HMRC website.


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