fbpx

Article in from Tax Help for Older People (TOP) who Whitefield support.  Its more aimed at unrepresented taxpayers than those who have an accountant, but its useful background:

“Isn’t it a lovely feeling when the presents are opened and the turkey is cooking, another Christmas successfully executed. But, how many of us can say the same about our tax affairs? The end of the year is a good time to make sure everything is in order, especially if you have to complete a self assessment tax return.

“The time for filing a paper return has passed and if you want to avoid a £100 penalty the only option is to file online, extending your deadline to 31st Jan 2014. Another thing to think about is how you intend to pay any tax due. If you want HMRC to use your 2014/15 tax codes you must file your return by the 30th December.

“To file online you have to be registered with HMRC. Following the prompts on the homepage of the HMRC website www.hmrc.gov.uk is relatively straightforward for those who are computer savvy. However, if you find technology difficult or you don’t own a computer this is the time to ask for assistance.

“When you register you will be asked to create your own password and you will be issued with an ID number. Keep these in a safe place because you can’t do anything until you receive an activation code in the post. This can take up to 10 days, so make sure you register by the 21st Jan 2014 at the very latest. Once your account is activated you only need your password and ID number to access it.

“Next, organise your paperwork. You will need your P60s or P45s, information about your state pension or any benefits, 975 certificates showing details of your savings income (interest) and dividend vouchers. If you have any other income, for example from self employment or rental income, you will need to have balanced your accounts.

“Once you have entered all of your income and details you can view your calculation and if you agree, check the declaration box, follow the prompts and submit your return. Beware at this point though, as this part can be a bit confusing. Make sure you have actually submitted your return. We suggest you check the return status on your main page before logging out.

“Finally, pay the tax due. If you have opted for the amount to be taken via your tax codes you can relax for now. But, don’t forget, once the new tax year begins you need to check that your codes have been adjusted to take the amount due. If paying in a lump sum, you must pay any tax due for 2012/13 by 31st January 2014. For amounts under £1000 you can normally pay in one payment. However, if you owe more than this HMRC will generally ask you to pay tax for 2013/14 via the ‘payments on account’ system. Put simply, you pay half the tax due (based on the previous year’s tax) by 31st Jan in year, half in July following the tax year and a balancing payment based on your return in the January following the tax year. This can mean that the payment in January is quite high.

“This article is by Tax Help for Older People (operated by registered charity no 1102276), offering free tax advice to older people on incomes below £17,000 a year. The Helpline number is 0845 601 3321 or geographical 01308 488066”