If you’re a dentist, doctor, landlord or private tutor submitting your Self Assessment online this month, you may be under more scrutiny than other professions.
In recent years, the Government has developed a super-computer that collates data from key sources. The data helps pinpoint discrepancies in an individual’s Self Assessment tax return and, as a result, identifies the occupational groups most likely to file late or inaccurate returns.
Doctors and dentists are high on the “watchlist”. Already HMRC has collected at least £10m in unpaid tax from these professionals by, for instance, using data collected from drug companies, locum agencies and other organisations to spot errors in individual returns.
Landlords also receive this kind of special treatment. HMRC is actively examining people who rent out properties abroad or who own three or more properties in the UK. Landlords we’re told often “accidentally” include traditional mortgage capital repayment as an expense.
Elsewhere, tutors teaching subjects as disparate as horse-riding and music are also coming under HMRC’s close scrutiny.
Give yourself more time to get your Self Assessment right this time
If you’re in one of the professional groups prone to filing your return late and inaccurately there’s one new first step you can take to make a better start in 2017.
The future is now with GOV.UK Verify
The new, simple and straightforward way to access Self Assessment online is to use SecureIdentity and GOV.UK Verify. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes to create an account and you can begin filling in your Self Assessment tax return immediately. You’ll need to download the SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in App from the Apple store or Google Play. Have your identity documents to hand (ie: your passport, driving licence and bank statements) and choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify.
Tax returns and other Government services have gone digital, which can be daunting for some people, especially the elderly, disabled, infirm or vulnerable who may be reluctant to go online themselves.
You can help friends and family access the Government services they need online by becoming a “trusted helper”.
A trusted helper can:
- confirm that their friend or family member’s Income Tax assessment is correct
- update or check their friend or family member’s personal tax account
- claim their friend or family member’s tax refund
- check their friend or family member’s company car tax
You can be a trusted helper for up to 5 people using SecureIdentity and GOV.UK.
Here’s how it works
If you already have a SecureIdentity just use your Simple Sign-in app to login. If you don’t already have a SecureIdentity you can create one in 10 to 15 minutes. Just choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify).
After verifying your identity, you’ll need the following details for each individual that you will be helping:
- first name and surname
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
The person that you are helping will need to verify their identity on GOV.UK Verify. They will have to sign in to their account and accept you as a ‘trusted helper’.
Remember that even if you are helping someone with their tax, they are still responsible for their own taxes.
More about becoming a trusted helper
Is a company car the best way to save money on your tax bill or is it more tax efficient to opt for the company car allowance? Both perks have their own pluses and negatives in terms of the tax breaks on offer.
One of the quickest ways to work out the best option for you is to use the handy cash or car decision tool provided by Comcar. Just enter the make and model of car you’re considering, add the monthly allowance your company makes available plus your Monthly PCP/PCH payment and the decision tool will calculate the best option for you in seconds.
In addition, the HMRC website provides all the detail you need and offers it’s own useful online calculator to help you assess your company car options.
As you’d expect, the accuracy of the calculation depends on the level of detail you are able to provide regarding the age of the car, fuel type, CO2 emissions, engine size and list price of the car, along with other information.
An allowance is paid as part of your salary, meaning it is taxed at the normal rate.
Do remember that if you are likely to have quite high private mileage then the allowance is likely to be the better option.