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Filing Your UK Tax Return the Right Way

Get to grips with HMRC’s self-assessment scheme

We aim to enlighten you on how to properly file your tax return forms for the United Kingdom. Many people see this as an unwelcome and challenging task, however, we will give you suggestions and pieces of advice to get it done easily. It is required that you file your taxes by January 31 for the previous tax year according to law and if you miss this time period you could end up facing fines.

To avoid any unnecessary problems it is important to file as soon as you can. You will need different forms and paperwork associated with employment, any possible income associated with rental properties as well as any paperwork related to being self-employed and associated costs. You can choose to do your taxes on paper or you can use the Self Assessment tool available at the official HMRC website. Keep on reading as we show you the different details and information you need to file your taxes for last year properly without the risk of any fines or penalties.

A P60 will show all your earnings for the given tax year. Image credit: OSCP

If you decide to file your tax return using the paper method you will be responsible for asking for any extra sections you may need such as foreign paperwork, offshore paperwork, business paperwork and others. If you worked offshore at any stage, especially aboard a vessel which sailed outside of British waters, you are advised to consult specialist seafarers tax accountants.

The usual basic paper tax return includes 8 pages however the HMRC may include additional pages you will need to complete that are based on certain types of income or financial gains and other things that relate to you as an individual and how the tax laws apply to you. If you are self-employed then you would need to ask for extra pages for information that relates to your business income and expenses. If you generate your income through offshore work there will also be specific forms you will have to ask for. You may however, qualify for seafarers earnings deduction.

If you choose to file your tax return on paper it will be up to you to ask for specific sections that may be applicable to you. If you would like to file on paper you can visit the official HMRC website to download paper tax forms and other documents you may require.

If you have filed your previous tax return through paper then the HMRC will postal mail your paper tax return. However, if you have chosen to use the online method then the HMRC will send you an email telling you to log in to your self-assessment online account to file your taxes. If you do not receive an email or any paperwork it is best to go directly to the HMRC website to download the paperwork or you can call the helpline phone number which is: 0300-200-3310. The staff on the support helpline are directed to help you and will be able to answer any questions or concerns that you may have in terms of filing your taxes and any specific information you may need including getting additional forms or other specific needs.

Certain types of offshore workers may qualify for income tax reductions. Image credit: The Triton

You can also choose to use the HMRC website to file your return online. You will need to signup for the Self Assessment tool at their website. You will first need a Government Gateway account to access the website. You can easily signup for a Government Gateway account. You just have to contact the HMRC and they will send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference by postal mail and it will also include an online service activation code to register for the HMRC Self Assessment tool to file your taxes online. You will have only 28 days to register yourself on the HMRC Self Assessment Tool website before the codes that you are sent through the postal mail will expire and become invalid. If you miss the 28 days to register then you will be required to ask for another Government Gateway account and online service activation code to be mailed to you.

To file online you will need your PAYE information and all financial records that include money that you have earned and costs you have accrued throughout the year. The online tool is rather easy to use and is not very complicated. You just have to fill out the forms and answer questions and enter your financial information and the website does the rest of the work for you. You have to be sure that you include all details and keep a hold of all your financial records just in case if the HMRC needs to look at your tax return closer. Be sure to file on time to avoid penalties as well.

Acknowledgements

This article was used with the amazing help of the following external resources: