The start of the New Year marks the one-month countdown to the online deadline for 2017 tax returns, as well as for your tax payment. With time running out, we would strongly recommend that you get around to filing these returns as soon as possible, especially if this will be your first year as one of the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed.
For starters, once you have registered at online.hmrc.gov.uk you will be required to wait to receive an activation letter in the post, which you must use within 28 days of receipt.
It would be a good idea to have your necessary paperwork ready pending this letter’s arrival, so make sure to have P60s, P11Ds, and records of any dividend payments and deductible expenses to hand.
On a positive note, you can claim on a number of “allowable” deductible expenses. While you cannot claim anything for entertaining clients, you can claim back part of your household bills in proportion to what percentage of your home is used as an office, and how many days of the year it is used as such. You can also claim on any other expenses used “wholly and exclusively” for the purposes of your trade, profession or vocation, such as accountancy fees.
And be careful about potential fraudsters at this time of the year – HMRC will never ask you for your personal details by email, so if you are contacted by the “taxman” exercise some caution.
Remember, you can no longer use the Post Office to pay your tax, and from January 13th onwards, credit card payments will not be accepted, leaving you with direct debit, debit card, direct payment in-branch, by phone or online, or cheque.
If you fail to complete your 2017 tax return by January 31st you will incur a £100 fine, and for every day your tax payment is late you will incur interest. It is therefore in your best interests to sort everything out early and avoid these charges.
For further help with your tax returns, or any other accounting needs, contact Stack & Jones Accountants and Business Advisors.
Sources: The Sunday Times