UK Self assessment tax return online

UK Self Assessment Tax Return

The self assessment tax return form can be something to dread when you first open the booklet up. However, have you ever considered filling out your tax return online? I did and here is my account of how easy it is.

Introduction
Why Self-Assessment Online?
Time to Allow?
What Do You Need?
What Do You See?
Efficiency
Summary

Introduction to Self Assessment


Many people, like me, who don't fill out their tax return on April 2nd every year, but instead leave it until the last minute may be looking at the multi-coloured nightmare of tick boxes that is a self assessment form right now and wondering why they didn't fill it out months ago. Well, another option to consider is filling it out online and here is a guide based upon my recent experience.

Why self-assessment online?


The main reason to fill out your tax return online is that if you do so your tax, including any payments on account, will be calculated for you. Another reason is that you are led through the form in a way that helps break it down into smaller chunks. A final reason is that of you make any mistakes, providing you haven't submitted the form (which is very hard to do accidentally), you can just retype it. Instead of having loads of crossing out and Tipex all over.

Time to allow


As I write this the January 31st deadline is approaching and a person who tends to put things off to the last minute may think that they can do the form online on January 30th. Wrong! Once you register with the inland revenue it takes up to 7 days for a pin number to be assigned to you so that you can actually start filling out the forms online. Once you get that you can login to the secure server with your pin number and activate your self assessment account. Then every time you visit you have to login with your username and password to access your self assessment documentation. You can take as little or as long as you want to fill out the form, but you must use your activation pin number before the end of 28 days or it will be useless. Another good thing with filling the form out online is that you can save you work regularly and continue at a later date. I had previously worked out my tax and had all my facts and figures to hand and the whole process from activation to submitting it and printing out the final tax return for my records took less than an hour.

What do you need?


What do you see


The typical format of the questions is the same as that in the form, except here choices on certain pages preclude the display of unnecessary pages being filled in later. What then follows are typically 3-4 questions or boxes per page, in which data has to be entered. Quite simple really.

Efficiency


After you filled out the form the tax return server code works out how much tax you owe and presents you with a full balance sheet, saying how much tax you have paid and how much you owe now and is required for payment on account. If you have overpaid it will also tell you this. A couple of pages later you send the information to the Inland Revenue and you receive an email giving you confirmation of this. You can then print out a copy of the self assessment form either in broken down 'web style' or exactly as you see in a self assessment form. Done.

I received a letter from the Inland Revenue, a couple of days later. Very efficient and apart from getting someone else to do it the best way of doing your taxes.

Summary

Check it out at the Inland Revenue Website under Self Assessment





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"I have filed my tax return with taxback. They charge a fee, but it is reasonable for saving me the time for doing all that. I hate making calculations and this was a huge relief."

Dave

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