Online tax returns: declaring your income and claiming reliefs.
THIS IS THE MOST CRUCIAL PART OF YOUR TAX RETURN: THESE ARE THE PAGES WHERE YOU SUPPLY THE DETAILS NECESSARY TO WORK OUT WHETHER YOU OWE TAX – AND HOW MUCH
In Section 4 of the online form, you’ll be asked to ‘fill in your return’. This is the largest and most complicated part of the tax return and requires you to supply all the detail that will determine your final tax position — what, if anything, you owe for the current year, what you need to pay for future years, how and when you need to make these payments or even whether you are owed a tax rebate.
It is crucial that you take the utmost care with this section of the return, giving your answers on the basis of up-to-date and comprehensive paperwork and checking your entries carefully before moving on from page to page.
Getting the details right
Section 4 of the online tax return is divided into two parts. The first part is tailored to fit your personal circumstances, and only includes pages that are relevant to you, while everyone completes the second part.
In the first part of Section 4, the pages will vary according to the answers you gave in the previous three sections.
For each of the areas where you signalled you had income to declare or reliefs to claim, you’ll be asked to complete the details. This part of the tax return is also personalised further as you complete it, with some answers leading to further questions. In the employment pages, for example, if you say you have received taxable benefits and expense payments, a further page will appear asking you to give details.
These tailored pages are the online equivalent of the supplementary pages supplied with the paper version of the tax return, but only relevant pages appear in your return. These may include pages detailing: employment, self-employment, partnership, pensions and other state benefits, property, capital gains and losses, foreign income, UK interest, other UK income, and allowances and reliefs.
Once you have completed the pages relevant to you, as determined by the information you gave in Section 3, there are three further parts to complete.
These deal with issues such as whether you have tax owing from a previous tax year that is currently being collected via your PAYE tax code or whether you intend to pay this way for the current year. You can also give details of how you’d like any overpayment of tax to be repaid.
The third part enables you to add any attachments required alongside your tax return – computations for capital gains tax, for example.
Online tax returns: completing the form
IN THE FINAL PART OF YOUR ONLINE SELF-ASSESSMENT TAX RETURN, YOU WILL CHECK YOUR ANSWERS, RECEIVE DETAILS OF THE TAX YOU OWE AND FORMALLY SUBMIT THE FORM TO HMRC
Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the final elements In your online tax return and are fairly straightforward to complete. They shouldn’t require you to supply any further information. Instead, these final sections deal with the mechanics of checking your online form, calculating your tax, saving and printing your work, and actually filing the completed tax return with HMRC.
- Section 5 gives you an opportunity to check your form. As you fill in each page of your tax return, you’ll receive an error message if you’ve missed completing a box, but on this page there is an additional check. For example, if you said at the start of your return that you were employed but haven’t filled in the employment pages, you’ll see an error message next to ‘Employment’ — then, when you go to the employment section, you’ll see a more detailed error message next to each of the entries you need to correct. You must correct all the errors before you can submit your tax return.
- Section 6 is the moment of truth: it gives the detail of what exactly HMRC thinks you now owe. Based on the information you have given, the online service automatically produces a calculation of the tax that is to be paid. This may include tax, National Insurance and student loan payments due, repayments that you are owed and any payments on account you need to make for the following tax year. If you have already made a payment on account, this won’t appear on your tax return, but you will be able to see it by looking at your self- assessment statement online. This section of the tax return continues with a page that breaks down your calculation in more detail, and then a third page dedicated to payments on account. These tell you what advance payments are required, but also give you an opportunity to make a claim to adjust this payment downwards — if, for example, you expect to earn less in the tax year following the one that this return covers.
- Section 7 of the return enables you to save your tax return to your computer and also to print it out so that you have a hard copy of the return. Alternatively, you can return to Section 6 and just print out the tax calculation. There are several options for different ways to save and print the whole return, but it’s important that you have electronic or hard copies (or both) of the return to refer to at a later date if you need to do so.
Section 8 asks you to formally submit the return to HMRC. Before doing so, you must confirm that the information you have supplied is accurate — deliberately supplying incorrect information is a criminal offence.
You will also need to give your user ID and password once again as a further security check.
Once submitted, HMRC will acknowledge that it has received your online tax return with a submission receipt number for the form. In most cases, this acknowledgement happens instantly, though you may have to wait a few minutes during the busiest periods