The Striped Leopard Tax Return Survival Guide

This guide is intended to give you all the information you need, and tips for filling in your form. What documents you need, and what you should declare, not forget to include, and what you may not even know you need to tell HMRC about.

So take a look now, to give yourself plenty of time to get everything together, so you aren’t rushing around like a headless chicken!

For a personal tax return, you should gather together details of:
• Any employment you have had, including your P60
• Income from a property you let
• Pension contributions or any pension you receive
• Capital gains or losses, from selling property etc.

It’s also useful to have to hand details of:
• Any savings and investments
• Income from life insurance policies
• Income from pensions, annuities or other benefits
• Any other income which will be taxable
• Details of any charitable donations you have made

Here are some other things to remember:

Don’t forget bank interest! You need to declare any interest you have received on your bank account, if you aren’t sure, then just give them a call, and they should be able to help access your statements, or calculate the information you are looking for.
If you are still paying back your student loan, then you also need to include any repayments you’ve made to the Student Loans company throughout the year

You should try and submit accurate figures in all instances. Where it isn’t possible for whatever reason, then you are allowed to put in estimates, but add a note that these figures are not accurate, and they have been calculated by you.
Anything you can claim tax relief on will reduce the amount you need to pay tax at the end. Some of these things include the amount you have paid into a personal pension, for example, as well as charitable donations. If you aren’t sure what to include, then this is where an accountant can really help out to advise you what to include.
When it comes to declaring income from any property you let out, remember that there are some things that you can claim against that, such as repair and replacements of goods. Again, an accountant can help to steer you through the maze of what to claim for!
If you sell things regularly on sites like eBay, or attend many car boot sales, then this could be classed as income, which you will need to declare on your tax return. You should be able to use bank statements or cash records to show what this income was, when it was paid, and how much it was. Don’t worry though if you are just selling unwanted items which were bought for personal use.
Then, of course, you should also consider expenses such as running costs when you are working from home, so a proportion of your energy bills, council tax, even mortgage interest could also be submitted as part of your return.
Your car – if it’s your own car but you use it to travel to business meetings, then you should claim part of the running costs.
And of course, there will be other expenses as part of your business, such as stationery, computers, books, subscriptions…the list goes on.
Phew! You can see how people get in such a muddle, there are so many things that people don’t know, or forget to claim for, and as a result, you could be paying WAY too much tax!
And that is one of my biggest bugbears!
So even if you do your tax return initially, and would like me to look over it, then please get in touch and I can hopefully keep more money in your pocket, and give less to HMRC!