If you still haven’t completed your tax return then you need to get a move on, as the deadline is the 31st January!

We’ve put together these top tips to turn the nightmare of tax return into a task that’s as simple and manageable as possible:

Hello 21st Century

Like almost everything nowadays, your tax returns can now be done online. If you’ve previously been using the paper method then you are likely to find that this saves you a lot of time and trouble. There’s no more stress trying to find the right form, figuring out what order it all goes in, and no need to start from scratch after making a mistake or having to allow a week or so for postage.

One of the biggest benefits of doing your returns online, is that it automatically calculates your tax as you fill it out. This drastically cuts down the amount of time required to fill out the forms and reduces the margin for human error through poor mathematics. This feature alone should make filling out your tax returns simpler and faster.

Avoid Common Mistakes

There’s nothing more annoying than spending hours filling out your tax returns, only to have them rejected for errors. To help increase your chances of getting it done right the first time, here are the most common mistakes on tax returns:

1.    Ticking yes on question 1 to 9 on page 2 but failing to send supplementary page with return.
2.    Failing to complete self-employed pages on page SE3 from 3.74 onwards.
3.    A supplementary page for each individual employment has not been complete.
4.    Personal pension premiums are answered in net figure rather than the required gross figure in box 14.11 of the core return.
5.    Capital expenditure figure entered in Box 3.14 of Self Employment instead of capital allowances.
6.    Question 19 of the core return is incomplete, where a repayment is due.
7.    Pay entered in box 1.8 on Employment pages but no tax deduction has been entered.
8.    The return has not been signed.

By ensuring that you don’t make any of these simple errors then you can ensure a faster return without worrying about it being sent back for errors.

Do it in Sittings

Sitting there and staring at your tax returns form for 8 hours in one day is a disgusting prospect. Instead of draining yourself and having a horrible day, why don’t you spread filling the application out over a couple of days? You can save your online tax returns and come back at a later date without losing any of your progress.

By doing this you can take some of the stress out of the process and get it done well in advance of 31st January. You will also feel much less run down if you dedicate a few hours a day to competing the forms rather than spending an entire day on the task.

Ask for Help

If you find yourself struggling to get your commercial finance in line and work out how much tax you owe then it may be worth asking for professional help. The HMRC has a self-assessment helpline to help you with all your questions and issues, which is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and 8am to 4pm on Saturday – just call them on 0845 900 0444 and they’ll help to talk you through any issues you may have.