Timely tips for your tax return

It was billed as the simplest tax form in the world. When the Inland Revenue launched its new self-assessment forms in April this year, inquirers were told filling one in was a doddle.

Since then, of the more than 8.5 million sent out to individual taxpayers, barely 20 per cent have been returned to the Revenue ahead of the September 30th deadline for having any tax owed calculated for you.

After that, the next deadline is January 31st - but only if you are prepared to calculate the amount of tax you owe yourself. Given the looming potential scale of disaster waiting to happen, many people are unlikely to choose that option.

Of the two million returned forms, mistakes have been spotted in about 40 per cent of cases, although the vast majority have been simple errors. However, some 120,000 have been sent back to taxpayers as "unfit for processing".

My own experience may be typical. Although I filled in all the details of my earnings, I failed to add up one column. As a result, I was informed by the Revenue that I was owed pounds 560 in overpaid tax. Sadly, a call from me (honest but stupid) revealed it was the other way round and more.

It is becoming clear that despite the brave face being put on it by the Revenue, the likelihood of a flood of mistaken forms being sent in between now and the end of the month - many of them reluctantly completed by "form- filler-phobes" - is increasingly high.

TAX etc, a firm of chartered accountants specialising in tax issues, offers the following tips to help people through the maze:

Gather all your records, including employment details (P60, P45, P11D), self-employed income, details of expenses and records of other income (bank and building society interest). You will need to keep this information for two years.

Make yourself aware of the allowances you may be entitled to, especially married couple's allowance and the additional person's allowance for single parents. Each are worth pounds 268.50 to taxpayers.

Make sure you know why you are being asked what information to put down on your tax form. If in doubt, call the Inland Revenue or contact an accountant. Don't "guesstimate" anything.

Check whether information given by your employer in relation to benefits in kind, such as company cars and other expenses, is correct and the same as on your tax return. In many cases employers have agreements with the Revenue that mean you don't need to fill in that part of the form. Find out whether this applies to you.

Remember to look at your tax position last year. If underpayment was made then check that this has been carried through to this year's PAYE code.

If you are a higher rate taxpayer and have a private pension or make payments to charities, you are entitled to extra tax relief on your contributions.

Set aside one or two evenings before September 30th to make sure you have all the answers to each question on the tax form. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to fill in the form.

If you want the Revenue to collect outstanding tax through PAYE (up to pounds 1,000-worth) next tax year, you must send in the form before the 30th of the month.

Beware the consequences of getting things wrong or sending them in late. The penalty for late returns is pounds 100, plus a further pounds 100 if it is sent back more than six months late.

Above all, don't panic. The forms are nowhere near as complicated as they seem at first sight. Grit your teeth and do it.

TAX etc can be contacted on 0171-614 0056.

Nic Cicutti

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions