Expert advice: Tackling your 2019-20 tax return

Read time: 5 minutes

The deadline for self-assessment tax returns is fast approaching. We know that this can be an incredibly stressful time so we are here with everything you need to know to tackle your 2019-20 tax return.  

Essential information 

What’s the deadline? 

  • Submit your tax return online – 31 January 2021
  • Pay your tax – 31 January 2021 (unless you arrange longer to pay with HMRC)

First things first: what do you need to do and by when? The deadline for paper tax returns has passed so the only option that remains is an online tax return. 

How does Covid-19 affect self-assessment submissions? 

The Government announced in their Winter Economy Plan that self-employed and other tax payers can have more time to pay taxes due in January 2021. You can use the Time to Pay Self-Assessment helpline to agree a payment plan.  

If you’ve received a self-employed income support grant, this will need to be reported as income. 

What dates does the tax year cover? 

The tax year runs from 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020. 

Need help? 

HMRC has videos and webinars to help you and they can also assist with general questions about self-assessment. Alternatively, you can appoint someone to fill in and send your tax return on your behalf. At JP Rata, our team takes the pain out of the tax return process. Hand the work over to our experts, safe in the knowledge that your tax return is in safe hands. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

With those important questions answered, let’s get started on your tax return.  

Start now 

Normally, we’d say “start early” but in this case, start now. Don’t put it off. The sooner that you start, the better. We’ve broken the task down into each step that you need to take to complete your return.  

Your first step is to check if you’ve submitted a return. This might sound like a funny place to start but we find that if your return was submitted in good time, there’s sometimes confusion when the tax return deadline rolls around as your return was completed quite a while ago. Look through your records for any HMRC letters about tax returns, check the Government Gateway for Self-Assessment or call HMRC Self-Assessment.  

Gather what you need 

Collect everything that you’ll need to complete your tax return. As well as your National Insurance number and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, details you may need to include: 

  • Your income: payslips/P60, bank statements, dividend statements, details of capital gains or any other record of your earnings 
  • Covid-19 support: details of any grants that you’ve received 
  • Your allowable expenses if you are self employed: receipts, invoices or any other details 
  • Self-employed income support grant: details of what you’ve received 
  • P60 and/or P45 forms: these show how much income you’ve already paid tax on 

  • Student loan repayments: any deductions made by your employer, if applicable 
  • Pension: either the amount you have received or any contributions 
  • Benefits: anything you’ve received such as incapacity benefit or jobseeker’s allowance 
  • Charitable donations: you may be eligible for tax relief on these good deeds 

Now that you have everything together, head on over to HMRC Self-Assessment.

Complete your tax return 

Time to work out what you owe! Go to HMRC’s Self Assessment return and follow the steps on the online system to generate your bill. Need to take a break? You can choose to save your progress on the online system and return to it. 

Pay your tax bill 

Phew. You’ve completed your tax return. Well done! You’re nearly there. Next up, you need to pay what you owe.  

Keep in mind that if you’re making a payment close to the deadline date (31 January 2021), you should choose one of the faster payment options to ensure that your money is received in time. If your payment is received after the deadline, you may be penalised. HMRC has details of how to pay, including account details and how long you should allow for payments to be received.  

Qualify for payment on account? If you’ve been affected by Covid-19, you can apply to reduce your payments on account. If you’re doing this, it may be worth checking with your accountant, if you have one, and doing some tax planning based on your figures. If you don’t have an accountant, it’s a good time to speak to us for a no-obligation chat. 

Can’t pay? 

If you are not able to pay on time, it’s vital that you contact HMRC to let them know before the deadline. You have to pay interest on late payments so contact HRMC as soon as possible to avoid penalty fees. 

Already late? 

Submitting your return or paying your bill after 31 January 2021? You’ll get a penalty if you miss the deadline without notifying HMRC. There’s a list of reasonable excuses for your return or payment to be late and you can appeal against some penalties if you were affected by these. You need to complete your return or send payment as soon as possible, using the steps in this article.  

Prepare for next year 

Now that you have felt the stress of submitting your request close to the deadline, it’s time to think about what you’d do differently for the next tax year. Keeping your books in order and submitting your return as early as possible will make the process easier for you. For the ultimate convenience and peace of mind, work with an accountant like JP Rata who can submit your return for you. 

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