Most people will find completing their tax return one of the most stressful things they ever have to do. Therefore if you are going to attempt completing it on your own then the best piece of advice I can offer you before you embark on navigating your way through the Government Gateway and into the HMRC website would be to be prepared.
Gather together all the documentation that identifies the income and tax you have received and paid in the year ending April 5. Below I have listed the most common sources of income but please be aware this is not an exhaustive list.
Employment income: at the end of the tax year you will be issued by your employer a form P60. This will confirm the total pay received and tax deducted in the year. If you left an employment throughout the year you will have received a form P45 again confirming the pay and tax details. If you do not have one of these forms for each employment in the year you can telephone HMRC on 0300 200 3600 who will provide you with the information you need.
If you receive any benefits from your employer such as a car or medical benefit then you will be able to find the information you require to complete the tax return from form P11D (Benefits in Kind).
You should also review any notice of coding from HMRC as this may identify an underpayment of tax that is being collected in your PAYE code, if this is so then you will need to include this amount in your tax return.
Social security benefits: there are many benefits and not all of them are subject to tax, however this can be confirmed via the HMRC helpline. If you receive a state pension or job seekers allowance (JSA) then both these sources of income should be included. The DWP will supply you with a letter at the start of the year confirming the payments you are to receive. As with JSA you will receive a form P60U confirming the pay and tax information, if this document is missing HMRC will be able to advise you of the amounts.
Savings income: at the end of the tax year your bank or building society should supply you with a statement of interest but if not then copies can be requested. If you receive dividend income you will receive an advice from the company as and when a dividend is declared.
Self-employed income; you will need to establish your total income for the year before calculating the allowable expenses so as to ascertain the taxable profit. Please note that not all expenses are allowable and others are not treated as you may expect! See HMRC for guidance https://www.gov.uk/expenses-if-youre-self-employed
Capital gains: if you have sold assets in the year such as dividends or a property you rented out then you may be subject to capital gains tax. You will need documentation confirming the purchase price and costs as well as details of the disposal proceeds. There are many complicated rules around capital gains tax and professional assistance may be beneficial in minimising a tax liability.
I hope this brief guide helps you in completing your tax return, however if you feel there are much more fun and enjoyable ways to spend your free time then please do not hesitate to call the team at Tax Matters to discuss how we can make your life less stressful when it comes to tax. You can either contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org call 01442 828006 or complete the tax tips form on the website.