The deadline for filing your self-assessment tax return online is looming.
You've got until 31 January to fill in your 2012/13 return, submit it to HM Revenue & Customs and pay any tax you owe for the financial year, but it needn't be too much of a headache. We've put together a quick overview of what you need to do in order to file on time and help ensure you're ready for the big day.
It's too late to file your return in paper format – the only option is to do it online. That means you need to make sure you're registered for HMRC online services. To do so you'll need to request an activation code which will be sent out by post, so make sure you register and request it by 21 January at the latest to make sure you don't miss the filing deadline 10 days later.
When filling in your return you'll need to quote your unique tax reference (UTR), a 10-digit number which can be found on various bits of paperwork sent by HMRC. If you don't know it or can't find it you'll need to request it, but again make sure you give yourself enough time – they won't tell you the number over the phone and will instead send it through the post, which will take a few days.
You'll need various bits of paper to fill in your tax return, including your bank statements, any expenses receipts, sources of income and statements of interest, so make sure you've got everything close to hand so you're not rummaging around and panicking at the last minute. Alternatively, if you use an accountant, make sure to give them all applicable paperwork too – even if you're not sure they'll need it, it's worth sending it across just in case.
There are some new rules that have come into force this year, which means you'll owe tax if your family received child benefit from 7 January while someone was earning more than £50,000 per year. Make sure you're familiar with the new rules and know the calculations you need to use – HMRC has handy guides and calculators on their site to help.
You should be able to make deductions against your tax bill which can come in a range of forms, from uniform costs and professional fees to equipment, travel costs and even charitable gifts, so make sure you read up on what can be classed as "expenses" and claim accordingly.
If you want an easy-to-read guide of everything to do with tax, contribution rates and personal allowances, make sure to download our tax table for 2013/14 to help you make sense of your return and the amount of tax you might owe.
Miss the deadline to file and you'll automatically be hit with a £100 penalty – even if you don't owe any tax. These penalties can rise to £1,600 after a few months, so make sure you don't leave it too late and start the process of filing straight away. You've only got three weeks!
Download Moneyfacts Tax Table 2013/14
HMRC Website - Self Assessment Tax
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