Top tips for those tackling self-assessments at the last minute
With the deadline getting ever closer, it’s about now that many small businesses are starting to panic about their self-assessment. If you’re yet to submit your return, here’s a few top tips to help:
1. Bite the bullet and just do it. It isn’t a particularly fun task, but it needs doing. The later you leave it, the more stress you’re going to add to the job. The online system is notorious for crashing at the last minute, plus you may encounter issues with logging in and need to provide proof of identity documents etc. Far better to get it done and any issues ironed out prior to the final rush. The tax itself doesn’t have to be paid until the deadline (January 31st), so don’t cause yourself undue stress by hanging on to the last minute – it won’t save you any money.
2. Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Get everything you need together. Gather paperwork such as employment, rental and trading income and any certificates of bank interest, and keep them in front of you. It will make filling out the self-assessment so much easier.
3. NEVER guess. If you’re struggling, or aren’t sure how something should be treated on the return, find out. Don’t guess. This will save you making a mistake negligently, which can then accrue interest and cost you more – it’s best to check and get it right first time. Do some research online (the gov.uk website has some great guides) or ideally speak to HMRC or an accountant, who will be able to advise you.
4. Don’t dismiss using professionals. Accountants aren’t cheap – but a good accountant can save you money through a whole range of allowable expenses such as use of home. Just make sure when choosing an accountant, they offer you fixed fees and you can see clear value in their service. While at this time of year most traditional high-street accountancy firms are often snowed under with longer-standing clients’ returns, it’s worth investigating low-cost online accountancy.