Self-employed? Company director? Submitted your Self Assessment tax return for year ended April 5, 2017 yet?

The deadline for doing that (not to mention paying all your Self Assessment liabilities) is fast approaching. If you’ve always be one of the thousands of people (literally!) in the UK who leave it to the very last day – January 31 – why not take the pressure off this time around and start addressing the issue now?

File your return late and HMRC will impose an immediate £100 fine on you, which will increase after three months. And if you’re unable to pay your tax bill on time because you haven’t filed your return, you’ll also be liable for interest on the outstanding amount.

If you’ve been keeping accurate, up-to-date records of your income and outgoings throughout the year, you should find the task of filing your tax returnsrelatively easy. If you’ve been using accounting software to automate that record keeping, so much the better. Haven’t been doing these things? Better start now. The heat is on!

You’ll also need to do your accounts reconciliation. Make a comparison between your income and expenditure with your bank statements to ensure they match. Laborious, but there’s no alternative if you want to be sure the figures you give HMRC are accurate and complete.

Minimising your tax bill

If you claim all expenses to which you’re entitled, you’ll benefit from a commensurate reduction in your tax liability, so it’s very worthwhile familiarising yourself with what does and what doesn’t count as a legitimate tax-deductible expense as far as HMRC are concerned before you start your return.

Bear in mind that the penalties for false expenses claims can be just as severe as those for failure to declare income. So it’s best to check and double-check your figures and ensure they’re supported by documentary evidence such as receipts wherever possible. If you do make a mistake, HMRC will give you up to 12 months after January 31 to supply them with an amendment.

By far the simplest way to ensure your Self Assessment tax return is filed in good time and your tax bill is minimised is to get an accountant to do it for you. An experienced accountant will ensure everything is done properly and everything you’re entitled to claim for will be included.

For more information on how Accountancy and Office Services can help with Self Assessment, call Vallery Lee on +44 1295 812714 or +44 7767 831403 between 09:00 and 17:30 weekdays or 09:00 and 12:00 Saturday mornings. (You can also email us using the message form here.)