Guide to completing your tax return

Perhaps the easiest and most pain free way to fill in your tax return is to get your accountant to do it, though of course there will be an element of hard cost attached to this. However, if you want to go down the do-it-yourself route there are some simple steps to follow:

Register for self-assessment, which you can do online via the HMRC website. There are a number of options to consider when doing this and which one you take will be dependent on you are employed self-employed or registered as a partnership.

Use your unique taxpayer reference to set up a government gateway account.

When setting up a limited company or registering for self-assessment you are automatically issued with a unique taxpayers’ reference (UTR). A government gateway account is necessary for you to be able to submit tax returns online and once set up you will receive an activation code in the post. This process can take several weeks so it’s important to get it done early and not to leave it until the last minute when you’re up against the submission deadline.

Make sure you have all the required information to hand when preparing your return. This includes:

  • Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Records of any expenses received relating to self-employment
  • Full details of income earned from employment which may include your P60, P45 if you left during the tax year, your P11D form, detailing any benefits and expenses you’ve received that weren’t processed through the payroll system, or your P2 coding notice, which explains your PAYE tax code. 
  • Details of any rent received
  • Certificates detailing interest you’ve received on any of your bank accounts
  • Any overseas income received 
  • Any income you’ve received as part of a partnership 
  • Details of any dividends received
  • All taxable benefits you’ve received from the state, e.g. child support, disability living allowance
  • All capital gains you’ve received as a result of asset disposal
  • Details of any Gift Aid received 
  • Details of tax payments already made in the relevant tax year

Fill in only the sections relevant to you. 

The return comes with a clear guide on this for you to follow.

Submit the return.

Before pressing the submission button and effectively ‘signing’ the declaration make sure that you’ve checked your completed details thoroughly. Your tax liability is calculated automatically and you must ensure that you pay the required amount on time to avoid penalties.

Keep a record

You should keep a record of your return and all associate documentation such as receipts and bank statements etc. You can be called on to produce them as part of any tax investigations and your returns are likely to be requested as part of assessing your eligibility/viability for lending such as mortgages. Self-employed and landlords should maintain full records for a minimum of 5 years and 10 months.