Self-assessment tax return checklist

Jul 27, 2023 | Business, Tax

Some 4.3 million people in the UK are self-employed and set out to do their annual self-assessment tax return ahead of the January deadline.

Preparing everything you need to crack on with your return will make it a stress-free exercise.

This handy checklist contains everything you need to prepare for your self-assessment.


Personal information and logins

First things first, you’ll need all your details at hand to log into the self-assessment service.

Details include your Government Gateway ID, unique taxpayer reference (UTR) and National Insurance number, as well as your logins and passwords.

Your UTR is a unique 10-digit number assigned to you by the HMRC that stays with you throughout your life.

You’ll find it written on your self-assessment correspondence from HMRC.


Employment income

You’ll need to declare all income made that year, including money made from regular employment. Your employment income encompasses all income earned throughout the tax year.

A key document here is your P60, a statement issued by your employer at the end of each tax year summarising your pay and the tax deducted from it.

If you’ve left a job within the tax year, your former employer should have provided you with a P45, which shows your tax code, your earnings, and how much tax was deducted.


Benefits & p11d

You must also account for any benefits you’ve received during the tax year. This can include jobseeker’s allowance, statutory sick pay, universal credit, or child benefits.

Any taxable benefits such as company cars, health insurance, or a low-interest loan provided by your employer should also be recorded.

Remember, some benefits might be tax-free, but having this information ready to check through is always good.

If you’ve received any benefits or had any expenses paid on your behalf by your employer, you’ll need your P11D form.

This document details the cash value of benefits and expenses provided to you over the tax year and may affect your tax code and the amount of tax you need to pay.

This includes company cars, health insurance, travel and entertainment expenses, etc.


Self-employed records

You’ll need to submit all financials relating to your self-employment, including a comprehensive record of your total income and total expenditure for the tax year.

This includes all your sales and income, all allowable expenses, and the details of the VAT you’ve charged or paid if you’re VAT registered.

You should also keep income records and ensure you can separate these personal elements from your business records. Keeping accurate records is a legal responsibility.


Expenses and deductions

Meticulously record all business expenses you intend to claim as deductions – it’s worth it for peace of mind when you come to submit info for this section.

Expenses encompass a variety of costs related to travel, such as:

  • Mileage or public transport fees if you’re travelling for work
  • Home office costs if you work from home
  • Professional fees and subscriptions if you pay to be part of a professional body
  • Uniform and equipment costs if these are necessary for your job

Make sure you have receipts or other forms of proof for your expenses.


Rental income and expenses

If you’re a landlord, you must report the rental income you’ve earned, which includes the rent received from tenants. Furthermore, you can claim allowable expenses, reducing the tax you might have to pay.

Allowable expenses include costs such as:

  • Accountant’s fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Council tax
  • Interest on property loans
  • Legal fees for lets of a year or less or for renewing a lease for less than 50 years
  • Letting agents’ fees
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Utility bills

Keep all invoices, receipts, and bank statements of the above expenses and costs.


Interest, dividends, and other investment income

This section relates to any revenue generated from investments you might hold.

It includes interest accrued on savings, income from share dividends, rental income from property investments, and other earnings from assets or investments.

Remember to include not only domestic but also any overseas income if you’re a UK resident.


Pension contributions

Record and declare any contributions you’ve made to your pension schemes.

The type and amount of tax relief you get depends on the nature of the pension scheme you contribute to and your income tax rate.

Information about your contributions can be found on your pension statement.


Charitable donations

Ensure you have a record of any charitable donations, which can be a receipt or statement from the charity. Donations to non-profit organisations or community amateur sports clubs can also be included.


Capital gains or losses

This pertains to any gains or losses realised from selling assets such as shares or property.

The sale could result in a capital gain, which is taxable, or a capital loss, which could be offset against other gains.

Ensure you have the details of the asset sold, the transaction date, the amount it was purchased for, and the amount it was sold for.


Student loan information

If you’re repaying a student loan, this information is crucial, as it may impact the amount of tax you owe.

Different types of student loans have different repayment terms and thresholds, and the amount you repay could be affected by your income level.

Keep a record of your student loan statement and the type of plan you’re on.


Support for a smooth self-assessment process

Preparing your self-assessment tax return can be daunting, but with a slick routine in place, it becomes far easier.

Remember, good record-keeping throughout the year can make the process much easier when the deadline approaches.

Always double-check your return before submitting it, and if you need clarification on anything, consider seeking advice from a professional to help you navigate the process.

Contact us for tailored self-assessment advice.

Other posts you might like:

Experience our expertise yourself

You’ve got questions and we’d love to get to know you, so why not get in touch?

ICAEW logo
ICAEW logo
Xero Platinum partner logo

Contact us