The self assessment tax return deadline of 31st January is rapidly approaching, and while every year the advice is to do your assessment as soon as possible, there is inevitably for many a last minute rush.

If you are in the midst of a tax-related panic, it’s probably because you don’t know where to start, are feeling intimidated or worrying about how much money you might owe. The good news is there is still some time to do your return properly and avoid any late-filing fines. More good news is that it doesn’t need to be a traumatic or overly taxing experience. Piggybank

Here are KashFlow’s top tips:

Get everything in order – Make a list of everything you are going to need (including your ID and password for HMRC’s online self-assessment portal) and make sure it’s organised and at hand, to prevent a scramble to find the information when you need ot. This includes all your necessary receipts, bills, statements of account and invoice details.

Dont try do it all at once – You still have a week to do your return, meaning you don’t yet need to pull a scary all-in-one filing jaunt fuelled by caffeine and stress. Schedule in blocks of time over a period of a few days to systematically do the different parts of your return. This allows you to perform numerous sanity checks, helps limit errors and helps keep boredom at bay.

Reach out for help if you need it – There is lots of help available if you don’t understand what is needed or if you don’t even know where to start. HMRC has self-assessment advice on Facebook and Twitter plus videos and even scheduled online chat services. And when in doubt, get in touch with an accountant.

Save your return – This is a critical tip from KashFlow accountant partners Flow Online Accounting. They say: “Once you have actually completed your tax return it is important to remember to save it or to make a copy. The HMRC imposes fines of up to £3,000 for each tax year that records have not been kept for – you need to keep records for up to 6 years previous otherwise you will face these penalties if you get investigated.”

Prepare a Plan of Action for next year – Keeping your accounts in order is critical to avoid the tax panic next time around, so consider using software solutions like KashFlow to help you. Cloud accounting software allows you to stay on track, on the move, at any time. Plus, because you can integrate other great applications, such as Receipt Bank, with your accounting software, you can easily keep track of your expenses and more.

Start your self-assessment now.

Do you have any other tips on handling self-assessment? Leave your comments below.

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