The number of tax returns submitted in 2016/17 hit a record high of 10.7 million. That figure’s set to rise for 2017/18 with more people going through self-assessment for the very first time.

If you earned more than £1,000 outside of PAYE in 2017/18, received more than £2,500 for renting out a property or met any other of HMRC’s conditions, you need to start thinking about this now.

The deadline for registering for self-assessment is rapidly approaching – on 5 October 2018. You can sign yourself up through the Revenue’s Government Gateway.

Last year, more than 9.9 million taxpayers settled their liabilities online, but the deadline for paper submissions relating to 2017/18 is midnight on 31 October 2018.

Almost half (48%) of those left it until the last possible month to pay their tax bill, with the final deadline arriving at midnight on 31 January 2019.

Keeping accurate records

It’s essential to maintain accurate records for the purpose of self-assessment.

Not only will it make the task easier (and our jobs as your accountants), but you’re also more likely to avoid mistakes that could lead to costly fines.

Accurate records that you need to have from 2017/18 include:

  • personal income records
  • sales income
  • expenses incurred by your businesses
  • VAT records (if your business is VAT-registered)
  • PAYE records (if you employ anyone).

Another golden nugget of advice: keep hold of these records for at least six years in case HMRC launches an investigation into your affairs.

It’s easy to lose track of this kind of paperwork, and perhaps tempting to dump it when the office gets cluttered, but retaining it is a legal obligation.

You could also consider using software – such as Xero, Sage or QuickBooks – to store these records safely. We are certified advisers and can assist you with the transition to digital accounts.

Our approach to self-assessment

Many newcomers to self-assessment consider the whole process onerous.

Does that sound familiar? If so, we can relieve you of the burden by completing this task on behalf of you or your company.

You will need to inform HMRC that our accountants will be acting on your behalf. It will then send all correspondence to us, so we can deal with the taxman directly.

After assessing your records, we may be in touch for further details if required, before applying any tax reliefs to potentially help you keep more of your hard-earned profits.

Our preferred method to submit tax returns is online. We will do this well before 31 January 2018 – as long as you don’t leave it until the last minute!

How can we help?

We offer a comprehensive personal tax service. For expert help with registering, processing or handling your tax return, contact us on info@stapletonsaccountants.co.uk or call 01363 773191.

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