Whilst HMRC send reminders to those required to complete the Self Assessment tax return, not everyone meets the tax return deadline. In fact, almost 750,000 taxpayers hadn’t submitted theirs when it passed in January 2018. And of those who did manage to get it done in time, more than 30,000 completed the tax return in the last hour before the deadline.
How can you ensure that this doesn’t end up being you when 31st January hits? Here, we offer some tips to guarantee you won’t submit at the last minute, or miss the Self Assessment deadline altogether…
1. Remind yourself of the date
With all the information around one of the most key tax return dates, everyone should know the deadline – but this doesn’t mean memorising it is easy. Busy lives take over, and dates like the Self Assessment submission deadline fall to the back of your mind. But it needs to be prioritised. Therefore, treat it like you would a loved one’s birthday.
Firstly, mark it in your calendar – both online and in paper format – and set up an alert to prompt you at regular intervals in the run-up to the big day. You could even go one step further and put physical reminders around your workspace and at home.
There might be specific tasks related to the Self Assessment that need to be fulfilled before you can get started on it, such as logging an invoice. Make sure you trigger reminders to get them completed too.
2. Ensure your tax affairs are organised
One of the duties connected to the tax return could be gathering the evidence required, such as paper or online receipts for expenses. Rather than scrambling around trying to find these at the last minute, collate them well in advance of the deadline.
A good idea is to take photographs of any expenditure recorded in paper form at the time, and upload them along with any in a digital format into one sole place. This will make them easily locatable when needed.
You might also require certain answers to questions prior to completing your Self Assessment. Perhaps there is information related to your finances that you need input from someone else to know. Or maybe you are unclear on specific aspects related to the tax return, so need to contact HMRC.
As the deadline looms, financial professionals and HMRC will be busy. So to keep you from being put on hold with the Self Assessment helpline, ask any questions well in advance. If you get the answers you require as soon as possible, then this will limit any barriers with the tax return later down the line.
Remember the festive period too. Christmas celebrations can be distracting, and a busy time for others. The sooner you complete your tasks, the sooner you can join in with the festivities – and enjoy them to the full.
3. Think about the penalties
Getting motivated to submit the Self Assessment, especially around Christmas, can be hard. Tax calculations aren’t most people’s cups of tea, and it can feel easier to simply give up rather than to try. However, this will result in a monetary penalty.
Even if it doesn’t seem like much money to lose, think about it this way: you’re still going to need to submit it eventually, but doing it later simply means you pay to do so.
Considering how the penalty fee could have been better spent is a good prompt too. For example, claiming on expenses minimises your tax liability so you spend less, but this money could potentially go to HMRC in the form of a penalty, meaning you might actually negate this saving.
4. Submit the Self Assessment with tax software
Tax savings like those gained from expenses might not initially be obvious to you, especially if you’re not an expert in these matters. This is where tax return software can help – GoSimpleTax notifies you of these, and helps you to complete the Self Assessment quicker too.
Its ease of use will guarantee you won’t miss the tax return deadline. With our software, the tax process is simplified – allowing anyone to quickly input their information and have their taxes sorted. There will be no calculations required by you either, as it acts as a Self Assessment tax calculator too.
Working in real time and able to be updated on the go, with GoSimpleTax by your side, you can keep ahead of the deadline and also prepare for Making Tax Digital.
To get yourself organised and submit the Self Assessment on time, test out the features of our software with a free 14-day trial.