As festive season approaches, we know that the last thing you want to do is put down the mulled wine and start doing your tax return. However, most tax experts would agree with us in saying that by sitting down early and doing your return in a relaxed manner, you are likely to end up paying less in tax, because you will be more thorough in your calculations than if you leave it until the deadline day — January 31st.

If your tax return is hanging over you, here are some tips from our tax experts at Burton Sweet to ensure that you don’t end up paying more than you have to:

Don’t put it off until the last minute.

The vast majority of people now file their tax returns online, which is very convenient, when it works. However, it requires you to have a number of passwords and unique identification codes, and if you do not have them to hand they can take some time to be resent to you. Trying to get hold of HMRC at any stage in January can be a nightmare, let alone in the last week.

Checking you have your reference numbers to hand as soon as possible could save heartache (and a possible fine) nearer the time. It’s also worth noting that HMRC will pay you any tax refunds that are due before the January 31 deadline, but you don’t have to pay HRMC any tax you owe until that date.

Be meticulous with your expenses.

A coffee here, a tank of petrol there — legitimate business expenses all add up and can reduce your tax bill considerably if you claim all that you are due. Some of the most commonly forgotten expenses are mileage and professional subscriptions (such as membership of a chartered institute or other professional body).

If you use your car for business and your employer pays you less than the HMRC maximum approved mileage rate (45p for the first 10,000 miles and 25p a mile above this), you can claim the excess, but people often forget, or don’t have the paperwork.

Get all of your paperwork together.

There’s nothing more frustrating than starting to fill in an online form, only to find that you are missing half of the information you need. The paperwork you need includes your P60/P45/P11D, PAYE coding notices and tax certificates for investments. For self-employed income, you need your bank statements and sales invoices too, while if you are claiming gift aid or pension tax relief, you will need to know what you’ve given to charity and put into your pension in the tax year. If you received income from letting property, you need letting agreements, and bills for expenses and management fees.

Get help!

Our highly experienced taxation experts at Burton Sweet have access to the most current software and systems to complete any tax returns as efficiently as possible. If you think you are going to need help please contact us as soon as possible – please try not to leave it until January!
For further details on how we can help, please call the team on 01934 620011 or send us a message now.