What to avoid when completing your tax return

Like thousands of others, you may be completing your tax return over the weekend in a hurry ahead of the deadline on January 31. As you work on filing your return, make sure you avoid the most common errors, they could cost you money.

To help, we have listed the 7 most common mistakes so you can avoid them.

1 Wrong tax code

It is estimated that thousands of taxpayers may be paying too much (or too little) tax simply because they have the wrong tax code. Double check your tax code on your tax return, it is normally 3 numbers followed by a L.

2 Losing your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) number

Your UTR number should have been sent to you when you registered for self-assessment or set up a limited company.

If you cannot find it, do not panic. You should be able to find it on previous tax returns or in your Personal Tax Account if you are registered for Self-Assessment. It's a 10 digit number and might be called a tax reference number.

3 Not including interest on income

Probably the most common oversight is not including the interest that you receive from a bank or building society account, and this can be substantial. Make sure that before you start, you have all documents relating to your savings and investments, so that you can accurately state the interest earned.

4 Giving up if you do not have all the information

Some of us hate form filling, each year resolving to be more organised but somehow it never happens. It can be easy to get disheartened with filing your return if you do not have all the paperwork but don't give up! To avoid paying a fine, you can submit an estimated tax return and update it later on when you have the paperwork. You can normally make changes to your tax return for up to a year after the filing deadline.

5 Incorrect pension contributions

If you pay into a pension you will need to enter those contributions on your tax return. Getting them correct is important, as too little and you will miss out on tax relief, but too much and HMRC could charge interest on any underpayment.

6 Getting your sums wrong

Getting a figure wrong here or there might not seem important, but you should not be careless. HMRC can issue penalties in cases of careless or deliberate mistakes. If you are completing your form online it will do some of the calculations for you but make sure you double check your own figures.

7 Missing deadline and forget to pay

Obviously, you have to pay on time. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself of the due date if you are worried that you may forget,

Finally, above all keep accurate records. Not only will it help when you come to file your return, if HMRC ever raise any enquiry into your tax affairs, you need documentation to support your submissions, so try to keep accurate and complete records of all your tax affairs.

If you need any assistance with your tax return, then of course you can always turn to your friendly experts at Lovetts.

Paul, Chris and team