Self Assessment Tax Return Help with RIFT

With RIFT's self assessment tax return service, we do all the paperwork for your annual returns. There are no deadline worries, no costly mistakes or misunderstandings and no missed opportunities. Our fixed-rate prices start at just £95+VAT. Click the contact button below to get in touch with us.

HMRC Self AssessmentWhat are Self Assessment Tax Returns ?

HMRC Self Assessment Tax Returns are one of the ways the taxman works out how much UK taxpayers owe.  Even if your income's already taxed by PAYE, you might still have to file a UK tax return to declare any other income or claim a tax rebate.

When you file a Self Assessment tax return online, you're telling HMRC what income you have and what you're spending to stay in business. Self Assessment returns are designed to be as simple as possible, but it's very easy (and often expensive) to get them wrong. Most people choose to handle their Self Assessment online, but it's possible to do it on paper if necessary.

HMRC Self Assessment tax returns are very different from the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system most people use. Under PAYE, tax is deducted automatically from wages, pensions and savings. People and businesses with other income must report it in a Self Assessment tax return, even if you already pay tax on any income you get from an employer under PAYE.

Self-employed tax returns mean keeping business records if you're self-employed, so be sure to keep your business records handy when the time to file comes. You'll also need to consider things like payments on account each year. These involve paying 6 months' worth of tax in advance on the 31st of January and 31st of July each year. It's also worth understanding what you can claim on your expenses when you do your tax return. If you think you could be due a tax rebate, our simple tax refund calculator will tell you.

Do I need to file a Self Assessment Tax Return online?Who needs to do a Self Assessment Tax Return?

It's not just the self-employed who need to worry about self assessment tax returns. You’ll need to submit a tax return if:

  • you got £2,500 or more in untaxed income e.g. money from renting out a property or savings and investments. 
  • your savings or investment income was £10,000 or more before tax
  • you made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax
  • you were a company director - unless it was for a non-profit organisation (eg a charity) and you didn’t get any pay or benefits, like a company car
  • you're a nominated business partner - when you set up a Partnership and get it registered with HMRC, one of you becomes the "nominated partner". If that's you, it's your responsibility to manage the business partnership's tax returns
  • your income (or your partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit as there is the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charges to consider.
  • you had income from abroad that you needed to pay tax on foreign income for
  • you lived abroad and had a UK income
  • you got dividends from shares and you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer
  • your income was over £100,000
  • you were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • you had a P800 from HMRC saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year - and you didn’t pay what you owe through your tax code or with a voluntary payment
  • you make a substantial amount of money from selling things online. Find out more about self assessment and online selling

Certain other people may need to send a return (eg religious ministers or Lloyd’s underwriters) – call us to check. 

How to submit a Self-Assessment tax return

To submit your Self Assessment tax return, you’ll need to:

  • Register for the Self Assessment system, if you haven’t already. You can do this online at the site. You’ll need to get yourself registered by the 5th of October if you’ve never used the system before and need to submit a Self-Assessment tax return.
  • Once you’re all set up, you’ll get your Unique Taxpayer Reference number and an activation number for your Government Gateway account. Use these to finish setting up your account and you’re ready to start submitting Self Assessment tax returns.
  • When you’re ready to submit your tax return, it’s best to gather all the details you’ll need in advance. This will include things like:
    • Records of all your business income and expenses.
    • A full list of all the interest or dividend payments you’ve received.
    • Information about any benefits or State Pension you’re getting.

The specific pages of the Self-Assessment tax return you need to fill in will depend on your situation. The return has sections devoted to self-employment income and expenses, partnerships, UK property income, capital gains, and more. Not all of these sections may apply to you, so make sure you answer the questions at the start when you submit your tax return online. That way, you’ll only be shown the sections of the form that you need to fill in.

Read through the tax return carefully as you go. It’s easy to miss key details about your things like pension contributions, charitable donations, or student loan repayments. Many of these details can change the amount of tax you owe, so you need to get them right. Similarly, don’t forget to use your Self Assessment form to let HMRC know about things like:

  • The Blind Person’s Allowance, if you get that.
  • The High Income Child Benefit charge is if you or your partner make over £50,000 and you’re getting Child Benefit.
  • Whether you want to use the Marriage Allowance to transfer a portion of your Personal Allowance to your spouse or civil partner.

Understanding self-employed tax payments

Self Assessment Tax Returns OnlineWhy should I file my Self Assessment Tax Return online?

Filing tax returns online is the fastest and safest way of keeping on the right side of HMRC. Online tax returns mean you don't have to wade through pages of questions that don't apply to you. They also mean you have later deadlines and no worries about postal delays or lost items. Your tax will be calculated automatically, and you'll get any repayments you're owed faster than with paper returns. You'll see instantly what tax you owe, and will be able to correct mistakes before they become problems.

Almost 90% of people filing Self Assessment tax returns do it online. It's not always an easy system to get to grips with or get the best from, though. That's why RIFT's tax return service takes all the worry and guesswork out of Self Assessment for you. With our help, you'll avoid all the pitfalls and never miss out on anything you're entitled to.

Here are a few things you need to know about Self Assessment tax returns:

  • You need to register for it in advance to use the online system. You'll be sent an activation code, but it can take a while to get set up. That's why it's important to get it sorted out well in advance.
  • You can register on the HMRC website. You'll need your 10-digit Unique taxpayer Reference number (UTR) and your National Insurance number or Post Code.
  • The deadline for filing is the 31st of October for paper returns. Online returns have until the 31st of January the following year. There are penalties for submitting even a single day late, so filing online gives you much more time to get the work done. For 2016-17 paper returns, penalties start mounting up from the 1st of November 2017, for example. For 2016-17 online returns, those penalties don't start until the 1st of February 2018.
  • With online filing, you get an automatic acknowledgement from HMRC that your return's been received. If you're sending a paper return, you won't get that, so you'll need to get proof that you posted it in case of problems.

Self Assessment Tax Returns OnlineWhat if I can't use Self Assessment Online?

There are a few kinds of people who can't use online self assessment, and have to file their tax returns on paper.  For instance, MOD personnel with certain clearance levels need to use paper returns.  RIFT can, of cource, still handle your Self Assessment in these cases.

If you've got other problems with online self assessment, we can help there too.  If you've got limited access to the internet, or disabilities that make online returns a challenge, talk to us.  We're always available to talk through your issues and solve your problems.  We can even help over skype using British Sign Language if you're hard of hearing.


Self Employed Tax ReturnsSelf assessment for the self-employed

When you're setting up a small business, you've got some important decisions to make. One of the first is between being a Sole Trader or forming a Limited Company. There are pros and cons to each route. You'll be weighing up simplicity against security, and inexpensiveness against tax efficiency. Either way, though, you're going to have to be comfortable with HMRC's Self-Assessment tax system.

When you're self-employed, you really have to understand what Self Assessment means for you and your business. The system has specific deadlines and requirements to meet - and painful penalties for failing to meet them. RIFT can take care of all your Self Assessment and self-employment questions or problems. We can even file your tax returns for you, and fight your corner with HMRC if you want.

Self Assessment Tax ReturnsWhat documents do I need to file a self assessment return?

Filing a Self Assessment tax return means showing HMRC a full picture of your finances. Here are a few of the most important documents to hold onto:

  • Form P45, if you stopped working for an employer during the tax year.
  • Form P60, showing what tax you've paid.
  • Form P11D, if you get any "benefits in kind" like a company car.
  • Records of any Taxed Award Schemes or redundancy payments.
  • Other things to keep track of include extra income such as untaxed tips, incentive payments or benefits like meal vouchers.

Remember, it's not just the self-employed who file a Self Assessment tax return online. If you're claiming a tax rebate for expenses of over £2,500, you'll need to use the system too.

Self Assessment Tax ReturnsWhat Happens with Late Self Assessment Tax Returns?

There’s basically no acceptable excuse for missing self assessment tax return deadlines, even if you don't owe HMRC anything. If you miss the deadline there are a number of self assessment tax return penalties that you could be hit with:

  • £100 automatic fine for filing even a single day late,
  • £900 in penalties can stack up over the next three months
  • £3,000 for each year you can’t provide the necessary records

We’re here to take care of everything - from completing your tax return, through calculating any refunds due, to speaking to HMRC on your behalf.

Employment StatusWhat does employment status mean? Can I choose whether I'm employed or self-employed?

Knowing your employment status is incredibly important. Self-employed people are treated very differently from employed ones by HMRC. It makes a difference to your National Insurance contributions, your Income Tax and the ways you pay both. It also has a big effect on the way you qualify for and claim your tax refunds.

The key thing to realise is that you can't just choose your employment status to suit you. The taxman is very keen on stamping out what he calls 'false self-employment'. This is where people are treated as if they were employees, but are declared as self-employed.  Workers trapped like this can easily find themselves missing out on key employee perks like sick pay or maternity leave. Whether you're employed depends entirely on your circumstances, and there's a surprising amount of fuzziness in the definitions.

Self Assessment Tax ReturnsHow do I know if I'm employed or self-employed?

If you've got a contract to work for a company you don't own, there's a good chance you're employed by them. Employed people tend to work set hours, usually for one company at a time. They get regular pay either weekly or monthly, which has already been taxed. They also have paid holidays or other benefits.

Self employed people probably work for several clients or customers at the same time. They may own their own business and can choose how, where and when they work. They tend to invoice for each job they take on and pay their own taxes through Self-Assessment. In some cases, they may not even have to do the work themselves. Many self-employed people can actually assign other people to do it instead. Things can get tricky when a self-employed person gets work through an agency or other employment intermediary. Also, if you've got more than one job, it's possible you might be bother employed and self-employed at the same time. If you've got any doubts about your employment status, talk to RIFT and we'll get it sorted out.

Allowable ExpensesI'm self-employed, what are my allowable expenses?

Expenses for self-employed people are the inescapable costs of doing your work or running your business. When you're filling in your Self Assessment tax return each year, they reduce the amount of profit you end up paying tax on. The specific rules for this depend on whether you're a Sole Trader or a Limited Company, and how you do your accounting. The main point, though, is that there are certain necessary expenses that count against your taxable income. Examples of common allowable expenses include:

  • Travel costs, whether in your own vehicle or by public transport.
  • Specialised clothing, tools or equipment you need for your work.
  • Any stock you buy to sell on.
  • Anything you're spending on advertising or marketing.

Sometimes, you may pay for something that has both a business and a personal use, like a phone bill. In general, you can only claim for the proportion of business use you get out of it. If you work from home, you might also be able to claim a percentage of your household bills as expenses.

Allowable ExpensesIs there a simpler way to work out my allowable expenses?

There are a couple of things you can do to keep your expenses calculations simple. One is to use the "cash basis" of accounting. Traditional accounting has a few complicated rules about when costs become allowable expenses. For instance, if you buy some stock to sell on, HMRC says you've bought an "asset", and can't claim its cost as an expense. When you sell the stock, what you paid for it becomes an expense of the sale, and can be claimed for. Under the cash basis, you simply record everything you spend when you spend it. This means you can claim the stock as an expense straight away.

Another option is to use HMRC's "simplified expenses" rules. Under this system, you can claim fixed amounts as expenses for things like working from home or running a vehicle. Simplified expenses can't be used by Limited Companies, though. Only Sole Traders and partnerships (with no companies as partners) can choose them.

UTR NumberDo I need a UTR number when filing a Self Assessment tax return?

Yes, you'll need a UTR number when filing a Self Assessment tax return.  You will also need it if you are:

  • Registering for the Construction Industry Scheme.
  • Working with an accountant or anyone who is managing financial affairs on your behalf.

If you need a UTR number or have lost one we can help. Get in touch with us.

Do self assessments take longer? How long does a self assessment tax return take?

Tax returns involving Self Assessment needn't take longer than other kinds to process. HMRC usually takes about 8-10 weeks to sort out a refund, but there are things that can slow them down. One of these is people having trouble with the Self Assessment system.

Self Assessment is often part of the tax rebate claim process, and it's not only the self-employed who have to deal with it. If you're claiming for expenses over £2,500, for instance, you'll need to file a Self Assessment return to do it. You may also have to file one if you've got income from other sources, like rent from a property you're letting out. Construction workers using the CIS system know all about Self Assessment, as it's vital in claiming back the tax taken from their pay.

The main thing to know is that RIFT takes care of Self Assessment as part of our service. We'll help get you registered for the scheme if you aren't already, and handle all the heavy lifting of getting your return filed. Keep in mind that registering for Self Assessment can take a couple of weeks. HMRC have to send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference number, so it's worth planning ahead.

RIFT has 7 specialist teams working to get your refund paid as quickly as possible. They make sure there are no hold-ups when your claim goes to HMRC, checking for mistakes and keeping the process moving. There are even a few simple things you can do to help your claim go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Getting your 64-8 form signed and returned promptly is a big step in the right direction, for instance.

Need more help?

Wondering if you can claim a tax refund or need to submit a tax return? Use our online tools to find out if you're owed money by HMRC.

Do I Qualify?

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