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Self-assessment Tax Returns

5 Steps to Self-assessment satisfaction

With the deadline to submit your online tax return for 2015/16 looming, midnight on 31 January 2017, many business owners and accountants are being kept busy.

Check out our tried and tested 5 Steps to completing on time.


Step 1 Information gathering

You’ll need your most up to date records, including:

  • business expenses
  • PAYE records (if applicable)
  • VAT records (if applicable)
  • personal income
  • allowable expenses

Tip – Be Organised – keep a box file at home by tax year and pop your financial papers into it, things like pension statement, bank and savings statements, share and dividend paperwork, payslips and P60 etc. etc. When the Self-assessment tax return is done, keep a copy with all the backup papers. Love tech? Scan or photo your return and backup into your online storage like Box or Google Drive. Keep for 6 years.

Step 2 Completing the form

Access the HMRC self-assessment page on the site and complete the form. You need your Government Gateway sign on.

Tip Outsource the task – If you can’t complete the form, ask an accountant to do it and give them the back-up paperwork. You may have missed an allowable expense, or not have relieved past trade losses.


Step 3 Your tax bill

HMRC will calculate and send you the amount of tax due. If you used an accountant, they will have calculated the tax for you and HMRC will usually agree with it.

All tax for the 2015/16 tax year needs to be paid by 31 January 2017, and that means in HMRC’s account.

Depending what type of income you have if your tax bill is more than £1,000 you may need to make an advance payment (a payment on account) towards your 2016/17 bill by 31 January 2017, as well.

There is a second payment on account deadline on 31 July 2017.

Step 4 Payment

There are several ways to pay your tax bill, including:

  • credit or debit card
  • telephone
  • post
  • online banking.

Step 5 Penalties

A penalty of £100 is charged if a return is up to 3 months late. Penalties will increase if the return is even later or if payment is late.

Payments by post or direct debit will take up to 3 working days.

If you can’t pay the tax bill you may need an accountant to help you discuss the options for payment with HMRC or phone HMRC direct and discuss arrangements to pay with them.

For further help, advice and tips follow us on Twitter @Shaperaccounts