01 December 16

Christmas can be a tax-ing time of year….

Donald Inglis

It’s almost that time of year again! As some of you start to think about Santa, Christmas pudding and parties, spare a thought or two (or maybe even raise a glass!) to your friendly accountant who is busy trying to complete everyone’s tax returns.

Can you guess what the following figures indicate?

  • 2015: 2044
  • 2014: 1773
  • 2013: 1566
  • 2012: 1548
  • 2011: 1100
  • 2010: 845

These figures from HMRC (so they must be right) show the numbers of tax returns filed on Christmas day itself.  Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs declined to comment on how many were filed shortly after 3:00pm!

Joking aside – if you haven’t registered yet don’t panic, there is still time. But don’t leave it any longer. So who needs to complete a tax return?  There’s a long list, but essentially it’s anyone who has been working for themselves, earns over £100,000, or has a rental property.

So you will need to file a tax return if, in the last tax year:

  • you were self-employed – you can deduct allowable expenses
  • you got £2,500 or more in untaxed income, for example from renting out a property or savings and investments – contact the helpline if it was less than £2,500
  • your savings or investment income was £10,000 or more before tax
  • you made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax
  • you were a company director – unless it was for a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) and you didn’t get any pay or benefits, like a company car
  • your income (or your partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit
  • you had income from abroad that you needed to pay tax on
  • you lived abroad and had a UK income
  • you got dividends from shares and you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer – but if you don’t need to send a return for any other reason, contact the helpline instead
  • your income was over £100,000
  • you were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • you had a P800 from HMRC saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year – and you didn’t pay what you owe through your tax code or with a voluntary payment

The process is relatively straightforward – just go to the HMRC website and register for self-assessment.  You will need to create a password before being provided with a user ID. This is the only time you will ever see this ID, so do keep a note of it…After 10 days or so you will receive a letter from HMRC requesting a tax return. This letter will give you your UTR number – never lose this letter! (Better still give it to your accountant.)

So what do you need to enter when you come to file your first tax return?

The short answer is all the income you have received whether or not it has already been taxed at source. The HMRC website is pretty good at leading you through the process and providing various prompts for information. Remember to also enter any reliefs’ i.e. donations to charity, personal pension contributions and expenses of employment such as mileage, professional subscriptions etc.

What to do if you get stuck. 

Ruth (the annoying virtual chat pop up who lives in the server of HMRC) is getting better, and will hopefully point you in the right direction.  If you are still struggling then please do give us a call on 01904 787973. Either by checking it thoroughly with you before submission – or by preparing the return on our own software – we will make sure it is submitted.

One final word of caution, if you think Inglis Chartered Accountants contributed to any of the tax returns filed on Christmas Day, you are very much mistaken.  Even as I get older and grumpier (or so I am told) even my scrooge like mentality does not stretch that far!

If you would like advice on filing a tax return, or any other aspects of business accounting, please get in touch with Donald and the team at Inglis Accountants on 01904787973 and arrange a free first consultation.




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