The deadline for submitting self assessment tax returns to HMRC for tax year 2013/14 is only a few days away on 31st January. Even if you aren't self employed you still may need to submit a tax return and if you miss the deadline you will get an automatic fine of £100.

It's a whole new year, and you've probably got a lot on your plate right now. You've got plans to make, so you're wisely looking ahead. Do yourself a quick favour though. Take a glance over your shoulder and make sure you've cleaned up after yourself first.  Whatever kind of year 2015 was for you, the taxman wants to hear about it.

If you're registered for Self Assessment, you should already have heard from HMRC. If you're not and you ought to be, you're looking at some serious trouble if you don't get a wiggle on. Staring down the barrel  of a Self Assessment tax return's no one's idea of a party, we know. That January 31st deadline's not just going to blow past unnoticed if you miss it, though.

HMRC, bless their tiny little hearts, have done their best to make it as painless as possible. You still have to watch your step, though. One small mistake on the forms can mean months of headaches down the road. Here some things to watch out for.

  • When you're setting up, you need to get a Unique Tax Reference number and an activation code from HMRC. They'll only send you these by post, so don't leave it too late!
  • There's an automatic fine of £100 if you miss the deadline, even if you don't actually owe any tax! Fines go up sharply after that if you're really late. You might be able to convince them you've got a valid excuse, but don't count on that helping.
  • You need to register for Self Assessment even if you're making next to nothing running your business. You may think what you're doing's just a productive hobby, but the taxman might not agree. Even selling stuff on eBay can count as self-employment if you do enough of it.
  • If you close your business down, you still have to file up to the date you stopped trading. HMRC don't like loose ends and will be more than happy to tell you about it.
  • If you don't send your return in on time, HMRC may just decide for themselves how much you owe. Chances are you won't like what they come up with.
  • Cheating is a VERY BAD IDEA. HMRC don't like tax evaders one bit, and they crack down hard on them. Basically, don't even think about it.

Yes, it's a scary list, but that's why it's worth getting good advice before it gets on top of you. RIFT  can sort out your Self Assessment tax return with no stress or hassle.  If you need more help than that, we can do a whole lot besides. Come and talk to us to find out more.

We're here waiting to help until 8pm most days and until 1pm on a Saturday -give us a call now, it's better to be sure and it only takes minute.