A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Fill in Your Tax Return
Every year, millions of freelancers, sole traders and self-employed people across the UK face the HMRC tax deadline.
In 2019 alone, HMRC reported that a total of 10,833,177 tax returns were submitted, with 735,258 of them being left to the last day.
So, why do so many of us leave it to the last minute?
It’s simple. Filing your tax return online can feel like a daunting task. It takes time, energy and money.
This is something we want to change, starting with the following three steps.
1. Get Prepared 📝
Existing Coconut customers will benefit from this help centre article we’ve written on how to prepare your account for your tax return. If you don’t already own an account, then you can find out more here.
2. Put the Important Dates in the Diary 📅
Time moves fast when you’re working for yourself and it’s easy to be taken by surprise by HMRC deadlines. Get these important tax dates in the diary.
6th April 2019 – Start of New Tax Year
31st July 2019 – Deadline for 2nd payment on account for tax year 2018/2019.
5th October 2019 – The deadline to tell HMRC about a new source of taxable income or a capital gain in the tax year 2018/19
31st December 2019 – One month until tax return is due
31st January 2020 – Online self-assessment tax returns for 2018/19 tax year must be submitted by this date and the balance on any tax due must be paid by 31st January 2020 for 2018 / 2019. The first payment on account is also due towards tax year 2019/20.
5th April 2020 – End of Tax Year 2019/2020
3. Submit Your Tax Return Online 💻
This step-by-step guide offers a detailed walkthrough on how to fill in your UK tax return online using the HMRC website. Inside you’ll find:
- A step-by-step slideshow presentation of the online HMRC tax return process
- Screenshots of what to expect
- Tips on how to answer each question
- Useful insights on what to look out for
It’s been created in a way that you can follow it screen by screen. If you’re lucky enough to own a second monitor, we’d suggest loading up the guide on one side, with the HMRC site on the other. We can then guide you through the process.
Getting help with your tax return
HMRC have made a lot of improvements in recent years to the self-assessment process. Many sole traders take on the task themselves, and, so long as you are prepared, shouldn’t take you that long.
But you might also want to seek help from an accountant. An accountant can
- Complete your tax return for you
- Make sure you don’t make any mistakes
- Ensure that you don’t miss out on any tax allowances you could be claiming.
They’ll often support you with any investigations from HMRC too. So it may be worth a small price to ensure you are as tax efficient as possible.