Tips for filling out your tax return in 2021

Stephen

Bills & Payments

The deadline for self-assessment tax returns is Sunday 31st January. But while over 96,000 people filed their tax return back on 6th April 2020 (the first tax day of the year), it is believed that over 4 million people are still to fill theirs out ahead of the deadline. In the rush to get tax forms filled out, people often miss opportunities to save themselves time and money. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything, take a look at our top tips for your tax return.

Pay your tax bill in instalments

There is help available for people who cannot afford to pay their tax bill if their business has been hit by the ongoing effects of lockdown. As long as you owe less than £30,000, you can set up a payment plan to ease the financial burden. You can set up monthly Direct Debits to pay off your tax bill by calling the helpline on 0300 200 3822 or by using this site:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/pay-what-you-owe-in-instalments/arrangement/determine-eligibility

The sooner you set up these payments the better. If you leave it more than two months beyond the January 31st deadline, you won’t be eligible to pay in instalments. You must also have no other payment plans or debts owed to HMRC to be eligible.

Be aware that you’ll still be charged interest on any tax you haven’t paid even if you agree to pay in instalments. Get more information on the interest rates here.

Claim extra help if you’ve been working from home

If you worked from home anytime last year up until April 5th, you can claim costs for working from home. Costs can include purchases of equipment that enabled you to work from home (e.g. office supplies) and added household costs, such as heating and broadband.

Check if you made any donations to charity

If you’ve donated any money to charity throughout the year, you can claim back 25p for every pound you donate. When filling out the tax forms, you don’t need to calculate how much you can claim back - simply fill out how much you’ve donated under the “Charitable giving” section of page TR4.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply for any donation made under a payroll giving scheme as these donations will already have tax relief applied.

Get tax relief if you’re a member of an approved professional organisation

Members of professional organisations and learned societies can apply for tax relief for any fees or subscriptions paid to these institutions. You can check the full list of HMRC-approved bodies here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/professional-bodies-approved-for-tax-relief-list-3

Before adding this to your self-assessment tax form, bear in mind that you can only claim relief if being a member is relevant to your job and if you’ve paid the fees yourself.

See if you’re eligible for a marriage allowance

The marriage allowance allows you to transfer £1,250 of your personal allowance to your spouse, which can knock £250 off your tax bill. To be eligible for this tax break, the following must apply:

  • You are married or in a civil partnership
  • One partner doesn’t pay income tax or has an income below their personal allowance (usually £12,500)
  • The other partner is taxed at the basic rate (usually earn between £12,500 and £50,000)

The tax break essentially works by transferring the unused allowance from the partner not being taxed to the other, which means that less of their income is taxable, resulting in the £250 saving.

Get more information on how marriage allowances work here:

https://www.which.co.uk/money/tax/income-tax/tax-rates-and-allowances/marriage-allowance-explained-a5zku9t98m3j

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