Tips for Choosing Self-Assessment Software

As Christmas and the New Year period passes, things in the workplace slowly start to get back to normality. January (and February) are months when we tighten our belts and knuckle down to work and ready for the summer.

However, the self-assessment tax returns will need to be addressed soon and this is one thing that should definitely be on your list of resolutions for the New Year. January is a month where many things will plague the mind and the self-assessment form is often placed on the back-burner.

Don’t Be Late with your Submissions, or do so at your Peril!

Self-assessment tax returns need to be delivered by January 31. In 2017, the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenues Department) received just over 750,000 returns on January 31 – the very last day. Some 31,000 of those actually came within the final hour before the midnight deadline.

After midnight struck and February dawned, another 748,000 self-employed failed to submit their self-assessment returns. They all faced a fine of £100. In recent years this fine was increased depending on how long after the cut-off date you were late.

An extra £10 was added if your returns were more than day late. Then another £10 each day that submissions failed to reach HMRC was added to the fine. So, if you were two weeks late submitting your tax returns, it would set you back £240.

Registration and Log-in Details need to be finalised

Your accounting firm – or you, yourself, if you are the one doing self-assessment forms – cannot submit returns until you have completed registration via the Government Gateway website. This registers you online with the HMRC.

What Paperwork Do I Need?

You will need to know the Unique Tax Reference (UTR). This is a 10-digit number which you will find on the self-assessment paperwork which you will have received from the HMRC. Records of income and expenditure are needed, receipts of any tools or clothing purchased specifically for the job and the forms for your P60, P11D and the last P45 also need to be to hand.

You must also have bank statements and dividend vouchers at the ready. It soon becomes clear why leaving all this until the final hour if not recommended. Even if you complete your form but fail to check all the small stuff properly, you could risk HMRC rejecting your submissions and a fine could be imposed automatically.

There is software available at BTC Software Solutions that can really help to take much of the administration away from the self-employed worker.

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