Completing your tax return can be a complex and time-consuming process. It’s for this reason why many individuals choose to employ the help of an experienced accountant. However, even with the help of an accountant, there are specific documents, records and evidence that must be collected by the company owner, throughout the working year. Your accountant will need these records prior to completing your tax return.
When it comes to self-assessment, it can be easy to leave everything until the last minute, but this can lead to anxiety and avoidable mistakes. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to record, collect and store evidence as and when you receive it. This means copying and filing receipts, invoices, records and any other relevant documentation. It can be helpful to have a specific area in the office or home for these records, even if it’s just a drawer or folder. Of course, with so much more business happening online now, having a digital folder of evidence can be just as important.
So, what documents and records should be collected in order to complete your tax return?
Account records include all financial documentation pertaining to the business. Whilst you may assume it’s a simple case of recording invoices and expenses, it can actually include much more. It’s also worth pointing out that each individual case is different, and the evidence you are required to collect will differ accordingly. As a general overview, account records include:
- Bank statements for all of your business accounts.
- Loan statements.
- Business credit card statements.
- Finance agreements.
- Payroll records.
- Sales invoices.
- Receipts- including expenses, purchases and petty cash.
- An estimate of current stock value.
- Mileage log (only applicable to limited companies).
These records are all based around the business itself, but HMRC also requires information on the individual who is completing self-assessment. This includes details on income outside of the business, which they use to calculate the overall tax that is owed. Whilst these records may not relate to the business, they’re just as important for self-assessment, and therefore the same attention to collection and storage of documentation should be applied. When it comes to further income, HMRC will require information on the following:
- If you have any other employment, you will need to provide the relevant P60 or P45.
- If you receive private pension payments, you will need to provide further details.
- Any bank interest you may have received, not including ISAs.
- Any rental income, including mortgage interest.
- Any other income that you may be receiving, including property sales and other self-employed income.
The amount of information that you need to collect and handover to HMRC may seem daunting, but the more that you comply, the more straightforward the overall process will be. Withholding information, whether knowingly or due to a mistake, can lead to HMRC investigating your business and could potentially result in fines.
If you are unsure of what documentation is required or whether specific information is relevant, you can contact HMRC directly for further help. Obviously, you can also go directly to your accountant with any queries. As already mentioned, with all aspects of self-assessment, sooner is better than later.