January can be a stressful time if you run a business. Self-Assessment deadlines are approaching fast. Read our blog below to find out our 5 easy steps to help you have a stress-free January.

Christmas has come and gone and now the radio is haunting you with adverts, constantly reminding you that your Self-Assessment tax return is due.

You may be getting anxious as the deadline is fast approaching and you still haven’t submitted your personal tax return. Or, perhaps, you are worried about paying the tax.

You may think you don’t have enough time to complete everything before the deadline, but don’t despair.
Here are 5 easy ways to ensure that you are able get your Self-Assessment Tax Return in on time every year.

1. Don’t Panic
It may feel like you have a lot to prepare and do but, in fact you don’t. There is no need to rush as you have from April until January to file it, so that’s 10 months. Make sure you get started early, as it will be easier and less stressful for you.

And if you are organised and follow the rest of our steps, it’s not that difficult.

2. Register as soon as possible
If this is your first year of filing, then you must register with HMRC before you start the process of the SATR. To do this you are going to need your activation PIN and your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) to complete and submit the return.

HMRC is not able to give you this information over the phone – they will only send it out by post. This means that, if you haven’t already done this, then you need to do it as soon as possible as it can potentially take a week or more for them to process.

3. Double check your data
When you are completing each section, make sure that you are inputting all the information in correctly. Leave yourself plenty of time to be able to go back through and double check all the information before you submit. Making a simple mistake or omission, such as missing a check box, could result in your application being rejected and possibly receiving a fine.

If you’re not feeling 100% comfortable with submitting your own tax return, it might be a good idea to hire an accountant to do it for you. They will be able to file your SATR quickly and efficiently, ensuring that everything is double-checked for errors.

4. Don’t leave anything out
You need to make sure to include all information about any money that you have received or earnt from anywhere during that tax year.

This will include:
• Your P60 which will show your salary and your tax for the previous tax year.
• If your employer gave you a P11D, showing any expenses or benefits that you received, you’ll need this too.
• Any interest you have received on any of your bank accounts as well as how much tax was taken off.
• However, this does not include any ISAs you may have as the interest on them are free. Although, this means that you also will not be able to claim tax relief on bank interest you had to pay on a non-business bank account.
• If you are a director of a limited company, make sure that you do not put any interest on the company’s bank account into your own tax return.
• If you are a sole trader or a partnership, you will need to know your business’s income and expenses.
• Any dividend income on any shares that you own, whether they be in your company or another.

5. Don’t break any rules!
Make sure you are up to speed with all the rules and regulations for your business tax before you start as these can be complicated.

Be especially careful if you are a sole trader or a partnership when you are adding all your income and expenses up, as unless you are on the cash basis, you will have to count any income depending on when you did the work, not when the customer paid you.

Make sure that you also understand all the rules and regulations around your business expenses, making sure you are clear on what you can and cannot reclaim. This especially applies to food and drink, entertainment, travel, accommodation, clothing and the business use of your home.

You can do this simply by checking your proposed expenses against the information on HMRC’s website.

Further actions
If you are unsure about any of this information, then it may be worth getting in touch with an accountant who will be able to guide you through the process, making sure everything is correct.

Overall, making sure that you submit your SATR on time is nothing to worry about. By following these easy steps, you will have no problems getting all your information together and submitting it before the deadline.

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Any questions?
If you’d like a meeting or a Skype call to discuss this, please get in touch with your favourite Liverpool accountant
• You can ring us on 0151 380 8080
• You can email us at growth@jondaviesaccountants.co.uk