Tips for an easy self assessment
Like it or not, tax season is just around the corner. And as a small or medium UK business owner, this means that if you haven’t got your accounts in order, now is most definitely the time. We’ve created a guide to having a successful tax return season but I’ve covered some of our top tips here to help you.
Company accounts for the year 5 April 2011 must be prepared and filed online by midnight on 31 January. The first installment of your tax liability must also be paid by the same deadline.
Update: HMRC have announced the following The SA deadline remains midnight on 31 January. But HMRC will treat all returns that come in by midnight on 2 February as though they were submitted by 31 January. No customer will have to pay interest on payments due on 31 January that are paid on 1 or 2 February. Full details are available on the HMRC website.
This means it can be a tricky time for any small or medium UK business; tracking back over old invoices, getting paper work in order and paying tax liabilities.
Now, this may seem obvious coming from us but using an accounts software package throughout the year can often take away that last minute strain for you or your accountant. However, whether you use an accounts software package or not, there are some key considerations and tax changes that you must be aware of to ensure a successful tax return season.
Effective tax planning strategies
We may be too far into this year’s tax season to put this into place now, but something to remember for the next financial year is how important it is to know your profits and therefore your tax liability. It will give you the opportunity to view what you might owe and allow you to put money aside throughout the year to ensure cash-flow doesn’t become an issue. An effective tax planning strategy might just be the difference in keeping your business afloat or actually allowing your business to grow!
Types on income and financial information needed
Regardless of whether you run your business as a sole trader or a shareholder/director of a limited company, to complete your self assessment tax return generally you will need details of the following types of income:
- Interest income from banks and building societies
- Dividend income received during the year from UK and/or foreign equities, or from shares in your own company
- Details of any capital gains made in the year through the sale of assets, such as shares or investment property;
- Property income, such as rental income
- Income received from gilts or bonds (excluding premium bonds)
- Income from a pension
- Income from a trust, settlement or from a deceased person’s estate
- Income from any employment , self-employment or a partnership
Payroll software to help with your income details
Your business’ payroll software should also come in handy for filing your tax return. The payroll should give you details such as employment income – salary, benefits, bonuses, income tax and national insurance already paid and, so on. Shareholder directors should also make sure they have up-to-date information in their systems of any dividends paid from the company to themselves.
Changes to the tax return penalty system: don’t be late!
Making it more important than ever to get your tax return in on time, the new penalty system means that an automatic fine of £100 applies if your tax return is filed after the end of January. And the longer you leave your tax return, the more severe the penalty becomes – meaning a very unhealthy start to the year ahead if your tax return isn’t filed on time!
The top tip for successful self assessment tax return is to really treat it with respect. After all, it is a legal document on which you are declaring your income for the year to HMRC. Proper record keeping and effective accounts management should see you successfully complete correctly and on time!
If you’d like to know more about filing your tax return online then download our white paper for having a successful tax return season
Nicole Matues, Small Business Team