Completing a Self-Assessment Tax Return

HMRC are unable to accept online submissions of self-assessment tax returns for 2016/17 where dividend income is declared, due to their inability to update their systems for their own legislative changes. This means you'll have to submit a paper return. We understand this is inconvenient and we'll do everything we can to make the process easier for you. 

The deadline for paper returns is 31/10/2017. However, we’re advising our clients to submit as early as possible due to the additional volume of paper returns HMRC will receive.

All self-employed workers in the UK must complete a self-assessment tax return each year. Many see it as an annual headache, as it involves collating a year’s worth of invoices, banks statements, expenses and receipts. In this guide, we do our best to answer the most common questions about self-assessment in the hope that this will make the process easier for you.

What are the dates for the current financial year?

The UK tax year runs from the 6th to the 5th of April, so tax year 2017/18 for example started on the 6th of April 2017 and will end on 5th of April 2018.

Why would do I need to complete a tax return?

Simply a tax returns allows HMRC to see your income and expenditure for the previous financial year. HMRC will then use these figures to calculate if you have underpaid or overpaid your tax.

How do I know if I need to complete a tax return?

Simply if you have received any income, such as  in the past financial year that you have not paid tax on you will need to submit a tax return. This could be income from freelance work, rent received or dividend income. If you are employed, your employer will pay your PAYE income tax and National Insurance Contributions and you won’t need to complete a self-assessment tax return unless specifically asked to do so by HMRC

How do I register with HMRC?

Registering with HMRC for a tax return is very straight forward, you just need to go online and fill out this form. If though this is the first tax return you are doing, you’ll need your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) which you can register here for. Once registered you’ll receive a letter with your UTR, and you’ll be enrolled for the Self-Assessment online service. You’ll also receive a letter with your activation code, which you’ll need the first time you log in to your online account.  

Do I need an accountant to complete my tax return?

Unless you're an accountant or some sort of mathematical genius, it probably is a good idea to seek expert advice especially if it is your first tax return. Being just one minute late on your tax return could result in an automatic £100 fine and lets be honest the form can be tricky and confusing, and the last thing you want to do is resubmit the from because you have made an error.

Also don't forget a good accountant will be up to date with legislation and there might be a tax saving scheme you could be registered on which could save you hundreds of pounds!

When do I need to file my tax return?

The deadlines for submitting your return will depend on whether you submit online or on paper. The deadlines for the financial year 2016/2017 are as follows:

October 31st 2017 deadline for paper returns

January 31st 2018 deadline for online returns

What information do I need for my self-assessment tax return?

If you’re a client of Orange Genie Accountancy, your accountant will provide you with a comprehensive list and make sure all required information is included in your return. Below is a basic list of the main things you’ll need.

  • Your company’s income – total turnover for the financial year. This will be the amount you’ve invoiced to clients or generated in sales.
  • Other income – If you’ve earned any additional income you should also declare this. Maybe you were employed for part of the financial year, or you might work part time as well as running your company. If this is the case you’ll find your income figures on your P45 or P60. Interest on your bank accounts and any rental income from property you own should be declared as well.
  • Business expenses – If you’ve incurred expenses during the financial year, you’ll want to include them on your return. If you’ve declared rental income you should also include any expenses relating to your property. There is often some confusion about what constitutes an allowable expense in HMRC’s eyes, so care is advised here. Orange Genie Accountancy clients should check with their accountant if they are at all unsure.
  • Tax paid – If you’ve declared income from a previous or part-time job, you should also include details of any tax already paid. These figures will also be on your P45 or P60.

Do I need to keep copies of my accounts?

 An HMRC investigation can go back up to six years, so we’d advise you to hold onto your records for at least that long. You’ll need to keep all your accounting records, whether they’re electronic or on paper. Orange Genie Accountancy clients will find this easiest to do online through FreeAgent, where they can access all their accounting information at any time.

What can I claim as an expense on my tax return?

The line between a personal expense and an allowable business expense can often be difficult to find. If you’re not sure if something is allowable we’d always advise you to check with your accountant. To give you an idea, here are a few common things that you might be able to claim. You should be aware that this is not an exhaustive list, and not all of these items will apply to everyone.

  • Office costs – like stationary, phone bills, heating, lighting or business rates.
  • Staff costs – salaries or subcontractor costs.
  • Financial costs – insurance or bank charges.
  • Travel costs – business mileage, parking, train or bus fares.
  • Advertising or marketing – eg. Design or hosting costs for your company website.

What is the payment deadline for tax year 2016/2017?

The deadline for payment is the same as the one for submitting an online return. For tax year 2016/17, HMRC should receive payment by January 31st 2018. If you pay later than this you may be liable for penalties. You can appeal against a penalty if you have a reasonable excuse.

What happens if I file a late return?

Filing your return anywhere between 1 minute and 3 months late will incur a penalty of £100. A delay of more than 3 months will incur higher penalties, and serial offenders may find the penalty increased to £500. Your Orange Genie Accountant will do everything in their power to make sure you don’t incur any fines for late filing or payment.

For more information about how Orange Genie Accountancy can help you, please contact us on 01296 468 185 or email accountancy@orangegenie.com.

Why Orange Genie Accountancy?

Orange Genie Accountancy offers fixed fee accountancy packages to contractors and freelancers. Each client has unlimited access to their own dedicated approachable and friendly accountant. All Orange Genie Accountancy accountants are specialists in the contracting market, so they can give you bespoke, high quality advice.

We will always keep you informed about anything that could affect you and your company. Our relationships with our clients are extremely important to us so we'll be in touch often, whether it be face to face, over the telephone or email.

Our packages start at £75 + VAT a month for an online service. Our most popular package is £120 + VAT a month which provides you with your very own dedicated accountant as well as:

  • Unlimited accountancy support
  • Face to face meetings so we can get to know you and understand your contracting goals
  • Proactive contact
  • Director and employee payroll
  • Annual Return
  • Self-Assessment Return
  • A fully compliant service so you are safe in the knowledge that you are meeting your legal obligations
  • Access to the Freeagent Software, which is updated in real time so you can always see how your business finances are looking

​And much more, includingaccess to wealth management advice, IR35 reviews and pensions planning. 

If you would like to appoint Orange Genie Accountancy as your accountants please either fill out our enquiry form or give one of our friendly expert accountants a call on 01296 468 185 or email accountancy@orangegenie.com

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