When do you do your Self Assessment Return? Reply

sa-monthly-online-figures-2011-12

2014-15 Self Assessment facts summary:

  • 11.26 million SA returns due
  • 10.39 million returns were received in total
  • Around 870,000 SA returns not submitted by 31st January 2016
  • 10.39 million returns received by midnight on 31 January (92% of total issued)
  • 9.24 million returns filed online (89%)
  • 1.14 million returns filed on paper (11%)
  • More than 4.45 million returns received in January 2016 (43% of total received)
  • 823,000 returns received on 30 and 31 January (18% of total returns received in January)
  • Busiest hour: 14:00 – 15:00 on 29 January – 50,358 returns received (839.3 per minute; 13.9 per second).
  • N.B. The figures are sourced from Self Assessment management information from the Computerised Environment for Self Assessment as at 01 February 2016 for the 2014-15 tax year.

Procrastination - do it now or tomorrow sticky note

There are three different types of penalties that can be charged if a return is outstanding after the return due date or is filed late. These are

  • Late filing fixed penalty (see SAM61220)
  • Daily penalties (see SAM61230)
  • Late filing (tax geared) penalty (see SAM61240)

HMRC even have a calculator to help work out how much the penalty might be…

https://www.gov.uk/estimate-self-assessment-penalties

Here are 10 of the most common problems, issues and errors that come up.

  1. Not leaving enough time to register for Self Assessment – It can take 20 working days (this is usually 4 weeks) to complete the registration process, then for online returns, allow 10 working days (21 if you’re abroad) to register because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) posts you an activation code.
  2. Lost Login details – Your account will be locked for 2 hours if you enter the wrong user ID or password 3 times.If you’ve lost both your user ID and password:
  3. Leaving it too late to get help – If you need help from an accountant don’t leave it too late as they will need to carryout AML and other checks before they can file your return, they will also need your UTR
  4. Failing to complete all the parts of the return – For example leaving out PAYE information
  5. Failing to press ‘submit’ – you would be surprised how many people complete the return and then stop without submitting or leave submission and then forget to do it
  6. Missing out details of your Pension Provider
  7. Failing to check the calculation – Most people do a rough calculation of what they owe but fail to check the HMRC calculation only to find out they have made a mistake
  8. Using invalid characters such as # ‘ ” in boxes where these are not allowed
  9. Not paying the tax they owe by 31st January
  10. Failing to explain where estimates and provisional sums have been used

Why leave till January! do it now

steve@bicknells.net

Self Assessment 4 times a year if your income is above £10k Reply

Retro Drama Woman

Most taxpayer find doing one return per year stressful enough but by 2020 anyone earning over £10k will be doing quarterly returns.

‘These changes are going to be very onerous,’ said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

‘It is not just about filling in a form, it is going to be a real burden.

‘Workers will have to make sure their books and records are up to date at least four times a year in case the taxman decides something is amiss and investigates them.’

Initially workers will not have to pay tax four times a year. But accountants suspect quarterly returns are a step toward this.

The plans were slipped out in the small print of George Osborne’s autumn statement. Around four million people will be affected: the self employed, small business owners and landlords who make more than £10,000 a year profit.

George Osborne said: ‘HMRC is making savings of 18 per cent in its own budget through efficiencies – in the digital age, we don’t need taxpayers to pay for paper processing, or 170 separate tax offices around the country.

‘We’re going to build one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. So that every individual and every small business will have their own digital tax account by the end of the decade, in order to manage their tax online.’

Digital Tax Account

In order for this to work, small businesses will need to keep their accounts up to date.

The top 5 common accounting problems accountants deal with are:
1. Not doing any accounts – the shoe box approach to business
This is the most common mistake, book keeping is best done as you go along, putting all the paperwork in a shoe box or carrier bag is a really bad idea as you have no idea how your business is performing.
2. Not keeping receipts. Often small business miss out on claiming all their expenses because they fail to keep receipts and lose track of their spending
3. Not reconciling. Reconciling your bank statements to your cash book is vital to make sure that all of your income and expenses have been recorded in your accounts.
4. Using the wrong accounting system. For some businesses a manual cash book and records are fine but for many accounting software such as Debitoor will be needed to keep track of debtors, creditors and VAT. Make sure you understand your accounting system and operate it correctly.
5. Mixing business and personal expenses. Some sole traders even mix up business and personal bank accounts and in extreme cases don’t even have a business bank account. This can cause errors and often means that a sole trader will either claim to many expenses or to few.

Will small businesses be able to overcome these problems or will they end up in a tax mess with Digital Tax Accounts?

steve@bicknells.net

Contact Us

10 most common online self assessment issues Reply

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The deadline of the 31st January 2016 is fast approaching for filing 2014/15 Self Assessments online, thousands will probably file late and 50% will leave filing until January.

Here are 10 of the most common problems, issues and errors that come up.

  1. Not leaving enough time to register for Self Assessment – It can take 20 working days (this is usually 4 weeks) to complete the registration process, then for online returns, allow 10 working days (21 if you’re abroad) to register because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) posts you an activation code.
  2. Lost Login details – Your account will be locked for 2 hours if you enter the wrong user ID or password 3 times.If you’ve lost both your user ID and password:
  3. Leaving it too late to get help – If you need help from an accountant don’t leave it too late as they will need to carryout AML and other checks before they can file your return, they will also need your UTR
  4. Failing to complete all the parts of the return – For example leaving out PAYE information
  5. Failing to press ‘submit’ – you would be surprised how many people complete the return and then stop without submitting or leave submission and then forget to do it
  6. Missing out details of your Pension Provider
  7. Failing to check the calculation – Most people do a rough calculation of what they owe but fail to check the HMRC calculation only to find out they have made a mistake
  8. Using invalid characters such as # ‘ ” in boxes where these are not allowed
  9. Not paying the tax they owe by 31st January
  10. Failing to explain where estimates and provisional sums have been used

 

steve@bicknells.net

Contact Us

 

Any excuse will do to avoid £100 Self Assessment Penalty Reply

the dog ate my homework

On Saturday the BBC announced..

People who have filed late tax returns have been let off paying a £100 fine for missing the deadline, HM Revenue and Customs has confirmed.

But the penalty has only been waived for individuals who provide a “reasonable” excuse for being late.

According to the BBC HMRC will not be checking the excuses as in previous years, they will simply accept them without questioning them.

So what are reasonable excuses?

Here are some excuses that HMRC have accepted

  1. a failure in the HMRC computer system
  2. your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online return
  3. a serious illness, disability or serious mental health condition has made you incapable of filing your tax return
  4. you registered for HMRC Online Services but didn’t get your Activation Code in time
  5. it was lost in the post HMD Response International v’s HMRC 2011 The accountant produced a contemporaneous note in his office diary for 16 May showing that he had filed the return.
  6. “Impecuniosity”Maxine Barron v’s HMRC
  7. Cashflow difficulties caused by a change in CIS Status Kincaid v’s HMRC 2011

steve@bicknells.net

Taxman reveals top 10 terrible tax excuses Reply

the dog ate my homework

Last years excuses used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late filing and payment. Here’s the full list:

  • My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal.
  • I fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
  • Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.
  • I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.
  • A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.
  • I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.
  • My girlfriend’s pregnant.
  • I was in Australia.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taxman-reveals-top-10-terrible-tax-excuses

The previous year, the following bizarre, exotic and flimsy excuses have all been used by tardy taxpayers:

  1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)
  2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)
  3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)
  4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)
  5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)
  6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)
  7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver)
  8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)
  9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)
  10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant)

All of these people and businesses received a £100 penalty from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for filing late. They appealed against the decision using these excuses, but were unsuccessful.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/revenue-reveals-top-10-oddest-excuses-for-late-tax-returns

Don’t be late get your return done!

steve@bicknells.net

Will your tax return stand up to HMRC Profit Benchmarking? 1

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HMRC have been doing lots of research on SME businesses, the most interesting areas of research are:

Understanding Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business life eventsSME Customer Journey Mapping

Research was carried out to understand:

  • the key life events and activities that SMEs experience
  • how these relate to tax
  • what opportunities there are for the improvement of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) services by more closely aligning them to business lifecycles

The Transparent Benchmarking Team Statement (November 2014)

HMRC is conducting a number of pilots, focussed on SME customers, designed to explore the effectiveness of publishing benchmarks on aiding greater voluntary compliance.

Following the first pilot (benchmark net profit ratios for Painters and Decorators, and Driving Instructors) in March 2014, HMRC will run two more in the autumn. One of these will focus on self-employed taxi drivers and pharmacists, where HMRC will be writing to around 2,500 agents that have a number of clients in the target sectors. The idea is to test whether publishing benchmarks through an agent is more effective than writing to a customer directly. Letters will also be sent to a sample of represented and unrepresented customers within the selected sectors to form control groups for evaluation purposes. All represented individuals and businesses written to directly will be informed that their agent has not received a copy of the letter.

The benchmark for both sectors is the net profit ratio. Because this is a controlled pilot exercise, not all agents or businesses within the relevant sectors will be receiving a letter. (source CIOT)

The Benchmarks we know so far are:

  • Painters & Decorators range from 59% to 79%
  • Driving Instructors 31% to 67%

So the range of profits are big!

We await the ranges for Taxi Drivers and Pharmacists.

If your profit doesn’t fit then you need to know why.

Do not ignore the letter because HMRC are likely to follow it up and assume you are deliberately trying to avoid tax!

You may have some valid reasons for not fitting the benchmark and you must explain those reasons to HMRC.

A deliberate error will results in a higher penalty (up 100% of the tax) but can also open the door to HMRC going back over up to 20 years of your accounts!

The letters refer to common mistakes in:

  • Travel Expenses
  • Telephone Costs
  • Utility and insurance charges
  • Professional Fees
  • Capital Expenditure

You may find these blogs helpful

Motor Expenses

Travel Expenses

Home Office Expenses

10 Ways to Save Tax

HMRC also have some useful toolkits/checklists…..

Business Profits Toolkit

Private and Personal Expenditure Toolkit

steve@bicknells.net

Simple Tax – a great way to file your return Reply

laptop_ipad_simpletax_right1

 

I read about Simple Tax in an article in the Express

Backed by venture capital investors including EC1 Capital, Seedcamp and Charlotte Street Capital, SimpleTax was set up to help customers find ways to save money on their tax bills and file returns online with HMRC in minutes, without the expense of employing an accountant.

SimpleTax’s users have so far cut a total of £2.5 million from their tax bills

So I tried it out, it’s great and it’s free.

You will need your HMRC Online filing details if you want to file your return alternatively you can just print out the return.

For taxpayers who have straightforward returns Simple Tax should make it quicker and easier to complete and file online.

As you prepare the return Simple Tax gives you tips on things you can claim and ways to save tax.

Take a look and see what you think https://www.gosimpletax.com/

steve@bicknells.net

 

3 Self Assessment Life Savers – Estimates, Provisional and Corrections 5

Tax Return Due Now

There are only a few days left to file your Self Assessment Return for 2013 and if you haven’t done it you might be starting to panic! a common reason for last minute filing is being unable to get the information to enter on the return, so what can you do?

Returns which include provisional or estimated figures should be accepted provided they can be regarded as satisfying the filing requirement.

  • A provisional figure is one which the taxpayer / agent has supplied pending the submission of the final / accurate figure
  • An estimated figure is one which the taxpayer / agent wishes to be accepted as the final figure because it is not possible to provide an accurate figure for example where the records have been lost. The taxpayer is not required to tick box 20 of the Finishing your Tax Return section of the return page TR 6 (or equivalent in a return for an earlier year) where estimated figures have been used

HMRC SAM121190

Correcting your return

If you make a mistake on your tax return, you’ve normally got 12 months from 31 January after the end of the tax year to correct or amend it. For example, if you send your 2012-13 online tax return by 31 January 2014, you have until 31 January 2015 to amendment it.

How to amend an online return

If you sent your tax return online by 31 January, it’s easy to amend it online too. You just need to log into your Self Assessment online account, go to the ‘at a glance’ page and choose the option to amend your tax return.

HMRC Correcting your Tax Return

steve@bicknells.net

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner…that I leave tax so late Reply

Big Ben with city bus and flag of England, London

Around one in nine (11%) of the 560,000 people in Inner London who had to send in a tax return last year didn’t do so by the relevant deadline – 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.

The one million taxpayers in Outer London were more punctual, with one in 11 (9%) failing to meet the deadline, but they were still the second worst offenders. The tardiest taxpayers outside of London were in the North West of England, with 8% of their 890,000 returns failing to meet the deadline.

Taxpayers in the rest of the English regions fared better. The most punctual were in the South West, with only 6% of their one million tax returns arriving late. The other English regions, as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all registered 7% of late tax returns, which was the UK national average.

HM Revenue and Custom’s (HMRC) Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said:

Whether you’re from London, Livingston, Lisburn or Llandudno, the consequences of missing the tax return deadline are the same – an automatic £100 late-filing penalty.

The longer you delay, the more you have to pay. So if you still have to send us your tax return, take action now.

Anyone with an outstanding 2012 to 2013 tax return must send it online, and pay any tax they owe, by 31 January.

Re-blogged from Gov.uk

steve@bicknells.net