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Are you on top of your Self Assessment?

As you might know by now, it is Self Assessment time and even though you can submit yours from April on, most returns are filled out online in December and in January. So, if you are about to start filling your self assessment, I recommend you to watch Ruth Owens's - HRMC Director General Personal Tax - video where you will find great advice on submitting your self assessment.

As you can see on the following chart, created by HMRC, in 2012, the majority of returns were filed in January, and the trend continues until today.

Around one in nine (11%) of the 560,000 people in Inner London who had to send in a tax return last year didn’t do so by the relevant deadline – 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.

The one million taxpayers in Outer London were more punctual, with one in 11 (9%) failing to meet the deadline, but they were still the second worst offenders. The tardiest taxpayers outside of London were in the North West of England, with 8% of their 890,000 returns failing to meet the deadline.

Taxpayers in the rest of the English regions fared better. The most punctual were in the South West, with only 6% of their one million tax returns arriving late. The other English regions, as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all registered 7% of late tax returns, which was the UK national average.

10 most common online self assessment issues

The deadline of the 31st January 2016 is fast approaching for filing 2014/15 Self Assessments online, thousands will probably file late and 50% will leave filing until January.

Here are 10 of the most common problems, issues and errors that come up:

  1. Not leaving enough time to register for Self Assessment – It can take 20 working days (this is usually 4 weeks) to complete the registration process, then for online returns, allow 10 working days (21 if you’re abroad) to register because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) posts you an activation code.
  2. Lost Login details – Your account will be locked for 2 hours if you enter the wrong user ID or password 3 times.If you’ve lost both your user ID and password:
  3. Leaving it too late to get help – If you need help from an accountant don’t leave it too late as they will need to carryout AML and other checks before they can file your return, they will also need your UTR
  4. Failing to complete all the parts of the return – For example leaving out PAYE information
  5. Failing to press ‘submit’ – you would be surprised how many people complete the return and then stop without submitting or leave submission and then forget to do it
  6. Missing out details of your Pension Provider
  7. Failing to check the calculation – Most people do a rough calculation of what they owe but fail to check the HMRC calculation only to find out they have made a mistake
  8. Using invalid characters such as # ‘ ” in boxes where these are not allowed
  9. Not paying the tax they owe by 31st January
  10. Failing to explain where estimates and provisional sums have been used

You can also have a look at HMRC's video on How to complete your tax return online.

3 Self Assessment Life Savers – Estimates, Provisional and Corrections

There are only a few days left to file your Self Assessment Return for 2015 and if you haven’t done it you might be starting to panic! a common reason for last minute filing is being unable to get the information to enter on the return, so what can you do?

Returns which include provisional or estimated figures should be accepted provided they can be regarded as satisfying the filing requirement.

  • A provisional figure is one which the taxpayer / agent has supplied pending the submission of the final / accurate figure
  • An estimated figure is one which the taxpayer / agent wishes to be accepted as the final figure because it is not possible to provide an accurate figure for example where the records have been lost. The taxpayer is not required to tick box 20 of the Finishing your Tax Return section of the return page TR 6 (or equivalent in a return for an earlier year) where estimated figures have been used

If you want to know more, check out HMRC's info on provisional and estimates.

Correcting your return

If you make a mistake on your tax return, you’ve normally got 12 months from 31 January after the end of the tax year to correct or amend it. For example, if you send your 2014-15 online tax return by 31 January 2016, you have until 31 January 2017 to amendment it.

Self Assessment Payment – Shipley or Cumbernauld

For all those struggling to work our whether to make a bank transfer to HMRC Shipley or Cumbernauld, your payslip tells you which HMRC account to use. If you’re not sure, use HMRC Cumbernauld. You must use your UTR as the payment reference.

Sort code Account number Account name 083210 12001039 HMRC Cumbernauld 083210 12001020 HMRC Shipley

If you make a Faster Payment this will clear the same day if the amount is within your bank’s limits.

Get help from the Association of UK Accountants

We, at the Association of UK accountants, we can help you claim tax allowances and file your return. You can contact us anytime on Debitoor's accountant list or directly on our website. We are ready to help!