Beat the 31 January tax deadline!

There are just a few days left to file your 2018/19 tax return with HMRC, or risk being slapped with a £100 fine.

Around 11.5m people in the UK must complete a tax return for the last tax year which finished on 5 April 2019. The deadline to submit returns is 31 January 2020. Last year, more than 735,000 people left it until the deadline day to file their returns and a further 700,000 people missed the deadline.

Here, we explain who needs to complete a return, how you might be missing out on valuable pension tax relief if you don’t fill one in, what sort of information you’ll need to gather together, and where to go for more help.

Who needs to complete a self-assessment tax return?

You must submit a tax return by 31 January if in the 2018/19 tax year you were:

  • Self-employed as a sole trader and you earned more than £1,000
  •  A partner in a business partnership
  • Earning more than £100,000

You may need to send in a tax return if you have any other untaxed income such as:

  • money from renting out a property, or from tips or commission
  • income from savings, investments and dividends that aren’t held in an ISA.

If the untaxed income you receive is less than £2,500, you might not have to complete a tax return but you will still need to contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300 to report it.

If you’ve made a capital gain in the past tax year which is more than the annual exemption for 2018/19 of £11,700, you may also need to submit a tax return. You’ll have a capital gain if you sell, give away, exchange or otherwise dispose of an asset and make a profit or ‘gain’ on what you paid for it.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether you need to submit a tax return or not. If you’re not sure, it’s always worth checking to avoid any potential fines later down the line. You can check on the Gov.uk website or call the HMRC Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310. The staff are usually very helpful, but since January is their busiest month due to the tax return deadline, be prepared to wait a while to speak to an advisor.

Make sure you claim any additional tax relief you are entitled to

Even if none of these apply to you, you can still choose to fill in a tax return to claim certain income tax reliefs, such as tax relief on pension contributions, charity donations, or on work or business expenses. In some cases, you may not even need to fill in a tax return to claim these reliefs. If you do not otherwise need to fill in a Self Assessment Tax return, you can sometimes make a claim simply by calling HMRC’s Income Tax helpline on 0300 200 3300 with your National Insurance number and details of your pension contributions or Charitable payments to hand. HMRC may be able to process these over the phone, but will tell you what you need to do if they are unable to in your specific circumstances.

These reliefs can be very valuable if you are a higher rate tax payer. For example, if you contribute to a personal pension that uses the ‘relief at source’ methodology (as opposed to a ‘net pay arrangement’), your pension provider will usually claim back income tax at 20% and add it to your pension savings, so that for every £80 you contribute, you end up with £100 in your pension. If you pay income tax at the 40% rate however, you’re eligible to claim back an extra 20% (or £20 in the above example) on all your pension contributions – but you will need to claim this back through your tax return or by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

Similarly, if you’ve made a donation to charity, an additional 20% in tax relief can go automatically to the charity as long as you completed a Gift Aid declaration when you make the donation. If you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you can then claim back an extra 20% or 25% in tax relief via your tax return or by calling HMRC.

Information you’ll need to complete your return

Gathering all the paperwork you’ll need to complete your return in advance can make the whole process much easier.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need:

  • Your accounts for the year, plus invoices and receipts showing any expenses you’ve incurred.

If you’re employed, you’ll need:

  • A P60 form showing your earnings for the year and a P11D form showing any company benefits (such as medical insurance or a car allowance) you received in the year, both of which should have been given to you by your employer. You’ll also need payslips and details of any share options you might have.

If you received any income from savings or investments, you’ll need:

  • Any dividend vouchers, as well as interest certificates from banks or building societies. Remember you don’t have to declare any interest from money held in an ISA.

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need:

  • Rent records and details of any allowable expenses, which are things you need to spend money on when running the property, such as buildings and contents insurance, and maintenance and repairs to the property.

If the thought of completing a tax return makes you want to weep, it might be worth hiring a chartered accountant to fill it in on your behalf, and if it avoids a potential fine then it might prove more cost effective than you think! You can find a qualified chartered accountant in your local area using the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) directory of chartered accountants.

What happens if you don’t get your tax return in on time

If you’re required to submit a tax return and miss the 31 January deadline, HMRC will automatically issue you with a £100 fine. You’ll be charged this even if you don’t owe any tax.

If your return is three months late, you’ll be charged a daily penalty of £10 per day for up to 90 days (up to a maximum of £900) and if it is six months late, you’ll have to pay a further £300 or 5% of the tax you owe, whichever is greater. The penalties continue to mount up after this, so try to get your return in as soon as you possibly can.

If you miss the deadline and are hit with a penalty, it may be cancelled or reduced if you have a reasonable excuse, for example you had an unexpected stay in hospital that stopped you sorting out your tax affairs, or a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return.

You can download help sheets and guidance to help you complete your tax return here. You can also call HMRC’s self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 if you need advice or help on any sections. Remember, if you’re not sure whether you need to complete one or not, you can check online, or it may be worth calling HMRC to check ahead of the deadline – it will hopefully help avoid any potential fines, and give you peace of mind….

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

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Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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