31st January is the last day to submit tax returns before the meter starts running and penalties begin to clock up. Here Mark Hodges provides some last minute tips for the 1.8 million taxpayers who still have to file for self-assessment.
Organisation is key
With limited time to complete the forms, make sure you have all of your paperwork needed before you sit down to file, including relevant P45 forms, contract notes, sales and your unique taxpayer reference code.
If you haven’t received your unique taxpayer reference code, get it straight away. If you request it after the deadline, you will incur the £100 penalty, but the longer you delay the more fees will pile on.
Differentiate foreign shares
Don’t forget you may have received foreign shares from a privatization or takeover that would be considered foreign shares, not UK shares, and should be marked as such on the forms.
Don’t go at it alone
Completing the self-assessment form doesn’t need to be a one-man battle. If you aren’t able to see an accountant, there are services like SimpleTax, which walk you through the form, pointing out ways to save money, and can take as little as 30 minutes to complete.
If you run a limited company, put your mobile phone contract into the company’s name
If you transfer the contract with your operator to your business, the business is allowed to give you private use of the mobile without it or you incurring a tax liability.
Make sure you claim and take full advantage of all allowances and expenses
If you run your own business and your spouse or partner helps out by answering the phone, dealing with paperwork by doing the filing or paying the bills then paying them for this can reduce the amount of tax you pay.
Claim your full mileage allowance from HMRC
You can claim over 45p tax free as a mileage allowance if you use your own car for a business journey. Many people don’t realise that if two or more people from the same business travel together, the driver can claim an additional 5p per mile passenger rate for each qualifying passenger.
Mark Hodges is tax partner at Horizon Accounts and adviser to SimpleTax