Wednesday 30 May 2018

Tips for dealing with self assessment tax returns

My own experience with the HMRC has been a bit of a see-saw of both good and bad. When applying for child benefit which has been done in the fog that is the newborn stage of parenthood I found them to helpful, professional, efficient and easy to deal with. I also think the HMRC online services account a useful tool and the website is informative as long as you can navigate through all the different sections and subsections of the website.

When it comes to tax like many people I find it can be daunting and confusing with the forms being headache producing. Calling the HMRC has always left me frustrated thanks to long waits on hold in a queue where it is a Russian roulette whether you are going to be told you are not speaking to the right department and whether you’ll be put through to someone informative and helpful or someone who you can tell really wishes they weren’t stuck answering the phone and dealing with a billion questions about tax and self assessment thanks to their unhelpful attitude.

Whether you have had good or bad experiences with the HMRC unfortunately they have to be dealt with for a number of reasons. Many people across the UK have to deal with them and are required to fill out a self assessment tax return. Whether it is because they are self-employed, earn self-employed income as well as being employed and pay taxes through PAYE, are a higher rate taxpayer or any of the other reasons why self assessment is relevant completing a self assessment tax return is part of financial routine. For some people the self assessment tax return is a nightmare which they dread.

With that in mind I wanted to look at a few tips to make completing the self assessment tax return and dealing with the HMRC that little bit easier -

* Be organised
To avoid panic, confusion and dreaded situations of lost vital paperwork (learn from my mistake where I left a trail of destruction in my wake searching the house top to bottom to find that missing bit of important paperwork) it is worthwhile being organised and having your paperwork safe for when you need it. Keeping a file or box with all essential paperwork such as invoices, receipts, expenses and income will ensure you have all the paperwork needed to hand when you need complete your tax return. A spreadsheet filled with all incoming and outgoing expenses is also very useful.

* Online resources
As with most things if I need help with something I hit up Google for a little assistance. Self assessment tax return is no different, make use of online resources to help you prepare and fill out your tax return. The GOV.UK website is a great starting point to learn key things like who must send a tax return and penalties.

Another valuable online resource is Talk Tax who provide articles filled with up-to-date information about anything and everything HMRC related such as guides to detailing what you need to know about the new tax year to how to spot a fake HMRC email. The website is also a wealth of important HMRC contact numbers so you can get through to speak to the right department for your query.

* Use an accountant
Whilst not a must hiring the services of an accountant can take the stress out of dealing with self assessment tax returns. Being experts you can trust that they will deal with your financial matters correctly. They are well versed in dealing with complex HMRC forms and will ensure nothing is missed or incorrect and they are also helpful in helping you save money.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the HMRC? Any advice on dealing with self assessment tax returns?

* Collaborative post *

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