Self-assessment tax return – the 11 most common mistakes to avoid

Almost six million of the 11 million or so people in Britain required to fill in a tax return.

It’s one of those tasks that is easy to put off, but it needn’t be grim.

In fact, if your affairs aren’t that complex, the online form could be the way forward for you, provided you’ve signed up for online filing and have all the necessary paperwork.

But it is still easy to trip up, due to carelessness, not being organised enough, or lack of knowledge.

Here, we point out the 11 most common mistakes to avoid:

1 – Believing that the taxman is always right – HMRC have lost many of their experienced staff and we regularly see them making errors
2 – Be careful entering numbers – it’s easy to transpose them
3 – Ensure that any underpayments included in your tax code are put on your tax return
4 – If a higher rate tax payer claim tax relief on any gift aid payments you have made to charities
5 – Claim tax relief for any personal pension contributions
6 – Be prepared for the clawback of any child benefit received if you earn over £50,000
7 – Don’t leave it until the last minute – it will take longer than you think to complete and the online system becomes very slow
8 – If you want to prepare a paper tax return it has to be submitted before the end of October
9 – Include your student loan repayments
10 – Claim any losses you are entitled to, for example earlier years’ capital or rental losses
11 – Missing out the interest on any of your bank or building society accounts.

The deadline for sending 2015-16 self-assessment tax returns online to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is January 31 2017.

Penalties for late tax returns include an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time.

For assistance with your tax return, contact an Ascentant Accountant –  info@ascentant.co.uk or pop into our Derby office for a chat.

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