This is a stressful time for many of our UK friends, who have had to complete a self-assessment tax return. Here are a few tips to make it easier next time around, which probably apply to many things. It is all to easy to leave big things with a deadline until the last minute, and then find you don’t have the paper work, passwords or some other critical item – like the ability to get on-line with a working Internet connection!
There’s a simple answer to the problem, of course, and it’s a simple answer with 2 parts:
1) Set Milestones.
You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? Creating a check list of the items required, then creating milestones for each of them, according to when the items become available, is a simple way to break the process into manageable little chunks. UK self assessment tax returns are due, online, by midnight on Monday 31 January. The deadline is only later if you received the letter telling you to complete it after 31 October. There are only a few cases where HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) accepts filing other than online, so for most people this is the deadline. If you are due a refund, you’ll probably want to submit it as soon as you can – the old October deadline is a good one! The documents you need for a tax return become gradually available throughout the year.
2) An (orderly) File.
Collect each item, for example your P60 and P11D, or bank interest statements, as they arrive and drop them into a single file. If you are a bit of a paper-free fanatic, you might want to scan them into your computer and save the files into a single folder there. Then, when you come to file on-line, or using your software of choice, you’ll have all of the information to hand in one place.
We’ve created a simple template plan for UK tax filings:
If you have any feedback or suggestions on it, do let us know. If you are a Milestone Planner user, drop us a note via the feedback form, and we’ll send you a link to add a copy of the template to your plans. If you aren’t yet a Milestone Planner user, just create an account via this link and we’ll send you details once your account is created.
The template is free, gratis – we hope it helps people have a less stressful tax return for this year!