For the last three years, I have helped my 80 year old Dad to submit a tax return online.
Each year I am amazed at how difficult they make the process – even for people like me who are familiar with online forms.
Some of the questions are almost incomprehensible if you are not an accountant. And some of the fields require a 0 whilst others need to be left blank. It is very inconsistent!
This year I thought I would make a note of the things which came up this year – some of which have caused issues in previous years.
1. All figures should be net
You no longer have to add in a gross figure, a net figure and the tax you have paid – as you used to do on a paper tax return. You just add in the net figure and the submission software will work out the gross figure for you.
2. If you draw a state pension, you will have 13 payments
The state pension is paid 4 weekly not monthly so you will have 13 payments to add in. Some people receive a notification telling them the total. But if you don’t get this, you will need to look at your bank statement and add the 13 payments together yourself.
3. Do not fill out the state pension lump sum box if you only get the 13 payments
There are two different sections where they talk about the state pension. The first page is where you add in your total from the 13 payments. Do NOT add it in again on the next page where they talk about a state pension lump sum payment. If you do, you will get a nasty shock in the calculation section at the end. My Dad ended up owing the tax man over £3k! When we queried this with them, they told us that we had effectively added in his pension twice.
4. Tax, NIC (Class 4) Contributions and Student Loans Result on the final page
When we got to the final calculation, it said in bold that For Tax, NIC (Class 4) Contributions and Student Loans my Dad owed them about £40.
As he said ‘But I don’t have a Student Loan!’ This is a cover all composite statement. You don’t need to go back through your tax return to check that you have not filled out the section on Student Loans or NIC contributions by mistake – like we did!
My question? If all his figures are net how does he owe them any tax at all. Surely it is being taken off at source?
Then, of course, there was the problem of working out how to pay them. We did eventually find a ‘How to pay‘ link but to complete this, you need your SA reference
(10 digits plus letter ‘K’) also known as the UTR.
Eventually we found this in the account reference on the paying in form at the bottom of the letter from HMRC reminding him that he needed to submit his return.
Good Luck! And remember, it has to be in by 31 January or you get a £100 fine.