Tax returns are the most commonly put-off jobs we deal with in accounting. No-one wants to complete them on April 6th, in July you think there is still ages of time until the January deadline, in November you think oh I should probably get on with this, then all of a sudden... It's mid-January (the busiest time of the year for accountants) and you may struggle to find a firm that will complete your return in time for the 31st January deadline. But, we are here to help! Preparing your tax return can be a daunting task, so here are 5 easy steps you can take to complete your tax return with us!
1- Complete your tax return checklist
Our tax return checklist is an easy Microsoft form that rounds up everything that may need to be included on your tax return, from self-employed income to taxable benefits. We ask for one of these each year, to confirm all the income you received in the respective tax year. Completing this form also gives you a good idea of the paperwork you need to prepare!
2- Prepare your paperwork
I'm sure you can agree this is the most daunting part of completing your tax return, but it doesn't have to be that way! If you start early, you can sort through and send over your paperwork to us as you receive it via one of our MTD pathways, such as Hammock or Dext Prepare. However, if you have left it until December 31st this year (though this is not recommended) do not fear!
If you have filled out a tax return checklist, we will need details for each question you answered 'yes' to. For example, for rental income, we will need details of all the rent received and expenses incurred. If you received a high amount of bank interest, we will need your statement of bank interest provided by your bank (if you use online banking this is available online!). If you have PAYE income, we will need your P60/P45. Just work your way through all the questions until you have collected all these details.
If you receive income/pay expenses using a bank account, get copies of your statements. One way to sort through them is to highlight your business income and expenses, and find the corresponding receipt, to make sure you provide all the info we need.
3- Bring it to us!
If you use one of our MTD pathways, this can be done by submitting your paperwork via one of these apps. Otherwise, you can email over your info or drop the paperwork into the office. We are open 9 am - 5 pm each weekday if you would prefer to hand your paperwork to someone, but we do also have a letterbox on our shutter to drop paperwork off after hours or over the weekend.
4- Answer your accountant...
Commonly, after receiving your paperwork and working on your return, one of our accountants may contact you to ask a few questions. This could be to request additional details, double check we have included all claimable expenses, or query something in relation to your accounts. Here is where we usually experience delays when completing accounts. Of course, life goes on and we don't expect a reply within minutes! But, if you put off hitting 'reply' because you're not sure what we're asking for, why we're asking for it, or anything along these lines- call us! We are more than happy to talk this through on the phone and answer any questions.
Well done, we are on to the final hurdle! Once your return has been finalised by us we will ask for a signature from you confirming you are happy with the accounts prepared. This will be done via adobe sign- you will receive an email asking you for your signature, which can be completed online. Before a signature is requested, you will either be sent a video explanation of your tax return or have a meeting with your accountant to make sure you know what you're signing! Once the signature is completed and your invoice paid, the accounts are submitted to HMRC. Phew!
While this can easily become an end-of-year rush, this does not have to be the case. Everyone is busy before Christmas (and no doubt still getting over the season in January) and your Tax Return is the last thing you want to be thinking about. So, if you have dealt with the mad rush this year and are thinking NEVER AGAIN, contact us today to discuss your options!