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I need Self Assessment help!

27th January 2021

When you do your first tax return, getting Self Assessment help is vital. The world of tax can be very complicated, especially if you’re new to it.

Since 2015, the number of fines for tax returns being filed late has risen every year for three years. For tax returns filed more than 30 days late, HMRC fined 283,000 people; in 2016, HMRC fined 291,000 people; in 2017, HMRC fined 331,000 people. 

And what with the financial strain that the pandemic has caused, it seems likely that these numbers will continue to rise.

So, how can we sort this?

First of all, preparation is key. The more you know about the penalties that you might be liable to pay, the less likely it is that you’ll end up in a situation of having to pay them.

If you’re filing your 2019/20 tax return, HMRC announced a payment update on 25th January 2021. Take a look at what’s changed here to see how the temporary deadline conditions might affect you.

Otherwise, there are three things to bear in mind:

  1. Submit your Self Assessment online by 5th October
  2. File and pay your tax return by 31st January
  3. Know how much you need to pay on top if you don’t do it on time

This is what you’ll be charged for being late on any of the above:

  • Submitting your Self Assessment
    • 1 day – 3 months late ➡️ £100 flat fee
    • 3 – 6 months late ➡️ £10 per day
    • 6 – 12 months ➡️ £300 flat fee or 5% of your bill (whichever is more)
    • >12 months ➡️ £300 flat fee or 5% of your bill (whichever is more)
  • Paying late
    • 1 – 30 days late ➡️ no penalty
    • 30 days – 6 months late ➡️ 5% of your tax bill
    • 6 – 12 months ➡️ 10% of you tax bill
    • >12 months ➡️ 15% of your tax bill
  • The dreaded interest – based on when you were late from
    • 7th April 2020 ➡️ 2.6%
    • 30th March 2020 ➡️ 2.75%
    • 21st August 2018 ➡️ 3.25%
    • 21st November 2017 ➡️ 3%
    • 23rd August 2016 ➡️ 2.75%
    • 29th September 2009 ➡️ 3%

Although this probably looks daunting, keep in mind that if you have a reasonable excuse for not paying your tax return on time, HMRC will be lenient. But your excuse needs to be reasonable – take a look at a few excuses that HMRC will not accept…

Now for the Self Assessment help?

Let’s start with the basics. What is your Self Assessment?

It’s the way that you declare your untaxed income to HMRC. Just head over to HMRC and fill in a few details about your income. And this includes everything:

  • Full-time salaried job
  • Side gigs
  • Self-employed income
  • Rental income
  • Investments – e.g. in cryptocurrency, shares, property

And this must be done by 5th October of the same year the tax year ends. If you work during the 2020/21 tax year, it ended on 5th April 2022 – and you must register for Self Assessment by 5th October 2021 and pay by 31st January 2022.

After doing your Self Assessment, you’ll be sent what’s known as a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. You’ll then use this information to pay your tax bill. Some businesses (especially those in the financial space) will ask you for it before you’re able to work with them.

But how do I do my Self Assessment?

There are a few options: 

  1. Do it yourself on HMRC’s website – for free, although it’s not super easy to understand how to use it
  2. Find an accountant and pay them to help you – pricey, but at least it’s out of your hands
  3. Give TaxScouts a go:
    • We’re £119, all in (doesn’t matter how many sources of income you have, or how complicated your tax situation is)
    • We also have a UTR registration service for a flat £25
    • We’ll give you your own personal accountant as well

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