It’s the first week of January which can only mean one thing… sole traders and small businesses unite in panic to get together a year’s worth of receipts, check PayPal, Amazon, and tick any other purchases off a big daunting spreadsheet ready to submit their tax return.
Some people use an accountant, some people choose to file their tax return themselves. The benefit of using an accountant is accuracy and getting it submitted before the deadline and HMRC issue their fines.
We should point out at this part of this blog that we at Insight Finance Solutions don’t participate in the January rush of self assessment returns, and neither do our clients (unless they’re new and have just joined us).
We believe in a proactive approach and use the compound effect of monthly action to get our clients’ self assessment tax returns submitted often as early as February. Yes, that’s right. As soon as a client finishes their tax year we have month by month financial reports and we usually know exactly what to expect in terms of the tax payment or rebate. So we get it submitted super early and if the client has the money there and then (they should do as we encourage it!) then it gets paid there and then. If not, our client at that point has 12 months to save the required amount AND their monthly estimated tax fee that we suggest. After all, if you save as you go and act like you’ve already paid your tax – you won’t spend it!
Yes, it’s disciplined doing it this way but with discipline comes freedom. Self assessment stress disappears when you’re not spending every Christmas and New Year worrying about the looming tax return deadline. (See our recent interview with Insight client Wendy who enjoyed her first early self assessment and therefore had a stress free Christmas last year).
If you’ve left it this late – don’t worry
Firstly if you haven’t yet submitted your tax return, you’re not alone. 11.7 million people need to file tax returns for 2018/19, yet as of December 31 2019 only 6.2 million of us have done. That’s 47% of people yet to complete their self assessment return with less than 4 weeks to go.
If you’re currently using the services of a traditional accountant, they will have probably already given you a deadline for submitting your receipts and accounts. It has most likely passed by this point in the year, but if not or if there’s negotiation on getting them in – get it done. As soon as possible. Late returns = fines. There’s no Netflix series worth binge watching when you could be saving yourself the stress by sorting that spreadsheet and that box of bills.
If you’re completing your self assessment tax return yourself, don’t be one of the whopping 730,000 people who left it to deadline day itself last year! There’s no need to cause yourself so much pressure by leaving it until Jan 31st.
If you are completing your first return or may be worried about any aspect of self assessment, then HMRC have put together a huge array of resources to take the stress out of the process.
Remember – a lack of knowledge or fear of the tax amount = procrastination which leads to stress.
Once you get clued up and educate yourself, you increase your knowledge, increase your confidence in the subject matter and you take action.
If you’re reading this and you know you struggle with submitting your self assessment and leave it until the last minute every year then get in touch. We transform Last Minute Larrys into Proactive Pollys who get truly stress free with their finances thanks to our expertise, judgement-free approach, innovative software and proactive systems.
Self Assessment Help from HMRC
To get help about submitting your self assessment tax return, see the full resources from HMRC:
Register for a live webinar about completing your tax return
Watch the self assessment deadlines YouTube playlist
Step away from season 2 of YOU and instead head to YouTube to binge watch all the valuable content that HMRC have bunched together in this special self assessment playlist.
Download the self assessment toolkits
If you prefer to read the latest advice check out HMRC’s downloadable toolkits to help you with your self assessment
Talk to HMRC
Phone lines close at 8pm between 30 and 31 January and webchat is open until midnight both days.
Don’t get scammed
Be aware of copycat websites and phishing scams – always type in the full online address http://www.gov.uk/hmrc to obtain the correct link to file your Self Assessment return online securely and free of charge. (Take a look at our recent blog on the most prolific scams currently operating and how to avoid them).
HMRC uses your home address to determine whether you should be paying UK or Welsh/Scottish Rate of Income Tax, make sure yours is up to date by accessing your Personal Tax Account or https://www.gov.uk/tell-hmrc-change-of-details
Customers can also register for HMRC’s help and support email service or by going to GOV.UK and searching ‘HMRC videos, webinars and email alerts’.
A final word about self assessment
Remember: self assessment does NOT have to be stressful. Make 2020 the year you get proactive with your business finances.
We work with businesses and sole traders all over the UK and use technology to video call and stay in constant contact with you. We chat monthly, get you saving proactively and understanding different aspects of business finances to relieve stress and make way for business growth.
Get in touch to arrange a confidential chat about your business finances today.