The final stretch: Navigating tax planning for the Income Tax deadline

January 11, 2024

The next Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) deadline is just around the corner, so make sure you start the year off on the right foot.

If you are self-employed or an individual taxpayer, you have until 31 January 2024 to get your tax return in order and strategically minimise your tax liabilities, with our team’s help.

Here’s what you need to know to get through ‘the final stretch’:

Do you need to submit a Self-Assessment tax return?

Don’t get caught out by not submitting a tax return if you are required to.

ITSA is an annual process where individuals need to declare their income to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and pay any tax due.

It applies to various income sources including:

  • Profits from self-employment
  • Sole traders’ income
  • Rental income
  • Earnings from savings and investments.

If you’re unsure whether you need to submit a tax return, contact our team for advice.

What is the deadline?

The 31 January deadline is non-negotiable. It’s the final date for submitting your online tax return and paying any tax you owe.

Missing this deadline results in automatic penalties, starting with a £100 fine.

Keep in mind that there are other deadlines throughout the year, such as the 31 October deadline for paper returns.

Why you should do your tax planning well in advance

We recommend you start planning your tax return at the start of the new year, rather than waiting until the last minute.

Not only does this take some of the stress off the whole process but filing an early tax return also provides you with some tangible benefits.

  • Early tax planning will tell you how much you owe early on, so payments won’t come as a surprise later.
  • It allows you to check you are not paying too much tax with enough time to make the necessary changes and reduce your liabilities.
  • Proactive tax planning gives you the opportunity to reconsider your pension contributions and alter the amount you are putting in.
  • It gives you peace of mind that you are remaining compliant with regulations so you can focus on your business.

Planning strategies for your next tax return

At Knights Lowe we recommend our clients follow some simple steps to achieve an efficient tax return.

  • You should maintain accurate financial records, as it ensures you can claim all relevant deductions and reliefs later down the line, which ultimately reduces your overall tax liability.
  • It’s important to familiarise yourself with allowable expenses such as business, travel, and home office costs, as well as understanding your Personal Allowance (£12,570) and other allowances like the Trading Allowance (£1,000).
  • Make use of reliefs and exemptions like Marriage Allowance and Gift Aid donations, and consider how your pension contributions could positively impact your taxable income.
  • If you anticipate a large tax bill, think about using Payments on Account to distribute your tax payments throughout the year, easing the financial pressure of a big, one-off payment.

Finally, when it comes to tax mitigation, the best advice we can give you is to seek professional advice.

Our tax advisers are on hand to provide personalised guidance tailored to your circumstances and we are always happy to answer any questions you have when it comes to tax returns.

Use MTD for ITSA to your advantage

Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD for ITSA) is a key aspect of the Government’s mission to modernise the tax system, ensuring an easier compliance process for taxpayers.

With MTD for ITSA set to become mandatory for individual taxpayers earning over £50,000 annually from 6 April 2026, and extending to those earning above £30,000 from April 2027, you may as well get used to the system soon.

While there will be exemptions for certain individuals, the majority of taxpayers will need to adapt to these changes.

The HMRC app is also a valuable tool for Self-Assessment and has really streamlined the process for self-employed individuals.

The Knights Lowe perspective

We firmly believe that being proactive about tax planning benefits businesses and individuals in both the short and long term.

By having a firm grip on your finances, you are effectively setting yourself up for a stress-free tax year in which you can focus on running your business, growing your operations, and ultimately improving your bottom line.

We have found that those who pre-emptively file their Self-Assessment in the first half of the year perform better than those who wait until the last minute.

As a result, we invite you to get in touch with one of our team to discuss your current tax planning strategies, your upcoming Self-Assessment tax return, and to start your journey to efficient financial management.

Don’t leave tax planning until the last minute. Contact us today for tailored advice and support to navigate this crucial period with confidence.

Further reading

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