If you fall within the self assessment system, you will have to complete and return a self assessment tax return each year that you remain within it.There are deadlines for the completion of tax returns – 31st October for a paper return and 31st January for an online tax return. If you fail to meet the relevant deadlines, you will be charged a fixed penalty, followed by other penalties if the tax return remains outstanding.
For this reason, it is important that you complete your tax return and submit it to HMRC as soon as possible, without unnecessary errors. Here are the 10 most common mistakes made:
1. Your tax return will include your Unique Taxpayer Reference and National Insurance number; make sure that these are correct so that HMRC can trace your records.
2. When you have completed the tax return, don’t forget to sign it and include the date of completion. Without this, the return will be sent back to you, causing unnecessary delays.
3. If you have income or other details that need supplementary pages, check that these have been included when the tax return is received by you. Don’t leave it until the very last minute to check – and then realise you don’t have the required pages.
4. Include figures and information which is requested on the form. Don’t refer to other documents for information, or state that the information will follow at a later date, as this will not be acceptable by HMRC.
5. Double check all the figures that you have entered on the tax return, as just one tiny error can result in you paying the incorrect amount of tax. If HMRC believes that figures have been deliberately entered incorrectly, you may face prosecution.
6. Make sure that all income and Capital Gains are included on the tax return, as penalties will be issued for anything that is believed to have been omitted purposefully
7. If you are claiming expenses, make sure that you are eligible as the rules surrounding expenses claims are complex. If you make false claims, you will be charged penalties.
8. Use the information guide which is included by HMRC to help you complete the form without making errors.
9. Keep accurate records throughout the year so that you have all the required information to hand when you complete your tax return. You are less likely to make errors, and will pay the correct amount of tax based on actual figures.
10. Submit the tax return before the relevant deadline to avoid a fixed penalty charge.
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