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4 common mistakes to avoid when submitting your paper tax return

Mike Wakeford

The countdown has begun for this years’ paper tax return, a crucial time for around 10 miilion taxpayers who are either self employed or  receive other income that requires the submission of a tax return, which is normally rental income,  interest or dividend income. It is also necessary to submit a tax return if you have realized capital gains on which a tax liability arises, or if you have made a loss on the disposal of a capital asset that you want to carry forward to set against future gains.

Midnight on the 31st October 2017 is the deadline for the submission of paper tax returns and the deadline for online returns is 31 January 2018. Whether a paper or online tax return is submitted, any tax due is payable on or before January 2017.

There is an additional complication for tax returns this year as due to software issues with the HMRC online tax system there are going to be a number of taxpayers who normally submit their tax returns online who will not be able to do so this year.  If you attempt to submit an online return and it is rejected by HMRC, you may submit a paper tax return at any time up to 31 January, rather than the usual 31 October that normally applies for paper returns.  If you have to submit a paper return after 31 October because you are advised that it cannot be submitted online, you are advised to send a claim for a reasonable excuse to HMRC with the tax return to prevent the issue of a penalty notice that has to be appealed against.

Wherever possible Moore (South) LLP recommend that online returns are submitted, and not just because you have longer to deal with this, you also have the certainty of knowing that the return has been received by HMRC as soon as you have submitted it, and that any calculations issued by HMRC will be based on the figures included on the return. Here at Moore (South) LLP we have compiled a list of the most common mistakes that people make when submitting their paper tax return, in order to make the process easier and ultimately avoid receiving penalties. 

REMEMBER: The simple things
Always check and double check the dates and always remember to sign! It may sound obvious but it is sometimes the simplest of details that trip people up. You could have calculated every last penny of every last expense, organised every single bank statement and payslip, however all this effort could potentially mean nothing if you haven’t double checked that its dated and signed in the correct places.

REMEMBER: To enclose supplementary pages
For additional income not covered by the main tax return, you will need to include supplementary pages. Additional information which may be relevant includes:
·   Interest from gilt edged and other UK securities, deeply discounted securities and accrued income profits
·   Life insurance gains
·   Stock dividends, non qualifying distributions or close company loans written off
·   Income from share schemes
·   Lump sums or compensation payments from your employer, or foreign earnings not taxable in the UK
·   Taxable lump sums for overseas pension schemes
·   Loss relief claims
·   Income from property
·   Capital gains and losses

REMEMBER: To maintain business records such as:
·   Cash books
·   Invoices
·   Mileage records
·   Receipts
·   Bank statements
·   Records of all sales and takings, purchases and expenses
·   Money taken out of business for personal use
·   Personal money put into business

REMEMBER: To write down your gift aid payments
You can tell the taxman about donations by filling in the relevant ‘gift aid payments’ section. Many people paying higher rates of tax may not realise that they can benefit from tax relief on donations too. By declaring any charitable Gift Aid donations you make on your self assessment tax return, you can claim relief equal to the difference between the higher rate of tax at 40% or 45% and the basic rate of tax at 20% on the total value of the donation.

What do I do if I make a mistake on my tax return?
If you realise you have made a mistake it is always a good move to fix it as soon as possible. In general, you will have 12 months after filing deadline to correct any mistakes.