It’s Tax Time – 3 things to do today

The words 'getting your taxes right' written in capital letters and bold in black and red on a yellow background. The the foreground is a paper tax return.

As you lay on the couch, drifting in and out of consciousness during these dark and rainy days, you inevitably start to think about the fact that you may need to submit a self-assessment by the end of January. 

Sh*t.

1. Register with HMRC and get your UTR

To file your self-assessment, you must register with HMRC. When you register, you are mailed (yes mailed.. of the snail variety) your UTR number. That stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference. You will need this to file your self-assessment.

You can register with HMRC here

Note: this is NOT something your accountant will do for you. So, click the link and follow the directions. It only takes a few minutes.

Forgot or lost your UTR number? You haven’t memorised it? Binned last year’s return, your accountant’s phone number and e-mail?

Helpfully, you can find your UTR number on those pesky pieces of mail you’ve been getting from HMRC telling you it’s time to file your self-assessment.

Didn’t open those either? Not to worry. HMRC has a hotline for you.

Either way, this is an important piece of information to have.

2. Get time with your accountant or find one if you don’t have one

January is the busiest month for Accountants that do a lot of these self-assessments. Don’t be surprised if accountants increase their fees during this month if you have waited this long. Similarly, busy Accountants will cap the number of self-assessments they complete and not take on any additional clients.

A quick google search will show many accountants and some services for under £100. Beware of what comes with this deal and if there are any hidden fees. Ideally, you will want to speak to your accountant to ask him or her questions. Ideally, your accountants should give you feedback on your return and help you decrease your tax bill – assuming you haven’t been reckless in your business expenses.

Conversely, you don’t want to pay too much. A typical high street accountant will charge somewhere in the realm of £300 to £500 to put together and file your self-assessment.

3. Start getting your income and expenses in order

Depending on how busy and / or technologically advanced your accountant is, they’ll be asking you for a few things.

  • A list of all income for the tax year
  • A list of all expenses, sometimes they’ll ask you to map each expense to an HMRC category and they’ll ask you which expense is associated with which income.
  • You will need a copy of your passport and drivers license to prove you are who you say you are
  • Answers to a host of other questions that are relevant to different areas within your self-assessment. These questions depend on your particular situation.

Typically, Accountants want to see your transactions in an excel type format. If you have a shoebox full of receipts and send that to your accountant – beware, they will probably charge you just to get those receipts in the correct format.

The words 'getting your taxes right' written in capital letters and bold in black and red on a yellow background. The the foreground is a paper tax return.