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By : Simon Gray

Here are my key tips to make the process of filing your tax return as pain-less and seamless as possible.

Register with HMRC and get started early

Registering with HMRC is the first step you should take, well in advance of your filing date. After registering, you will receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which can take up to 2 weeks. You will need your UTR in order to submit your tax return. You can register here.

Complete your return online

Currently, tax returns can be filed by either paper (31 October deadline) or online (31 January) however following HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative, from April 2019 the government will begin to phase out the use of paper returns in a bid to switch to a digital tax system. If you still use paper forms, you will benefit from making the transition to online sooner rather than later.

Online returns offer a much more convenient and efficient way to complete you returns.

Get your information together

Before you start to fill in your tax return form, make sure you have all of the relevant paperwork and accounts information to hand in order to fill in your form correctly. It will sped up the process and allow you to complete your form in one go.

So, what information do you need?

  • Details of all income earned for the tax year you are filing for. This includes self-employed earnings as well as income from investments, savings and capital gains.
  • P60, P1D and P45 documents
  • Interest statements from your bank/building society
  • Information on any shareholding dividends
  • Information on deductions such as Gift Aid, Charity and pension contributions.
  • Evidence for any tax relief you want to claim – this is typically in the form of receipts. Remember, if you are self-employed and work from home you can claim towards lighting, heating and any other expenses involved in running your business from home.

Seek professional advice

If you are not confident about the details you are providing, it is always best to seek professional advice, especially where your tax affairs are more complex. With HMRC’s sophisticated software’s, they are increasingly cracking down on in correct information which runs the risk of tax investigations and large penalties.

Additionally, many people are still missing out on reducing their tax bill by not correctly reporting on relevant tax reliefs. A professional can help you to identify relevant claims and help reduce your tax bill significantly.

Avoid common errors

  • Make sure you are on the right tax code – Check you are on the right tax code. You could be paying too much or too little.
  • Don’t leave any blanks – If you don’t have information to hand, allow yourself enough time to go away and find out. If you don’t have access to the information yet, estimate it and update it once you receive the relevant paperwork.
  • Don’t confuse your net with your gross – This is a common error which is simply due to oversight. Read everything that is being asked of you and take your time.
  • Don’t leave information out – One of the most common mistakes is to leave information out. If you don’t have the information yet, estimate it and update it when the paperwork arrives.
  • Don’t forget gift aid - Include all the gift aid donations you have made in order to claim a higher-rate tax relief.


As specialist tax advisers, Hentons can help with your tax return. Whether you have a question or would like help in managing your tax returns, get in touch with me directly at simon@hentons.com

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