Posts Tagged ‘Self Assessment’

Filling in the Inland Revenue self assessment online tax form

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

If you need to file a self assessment tax form in the UK to work out your income tax you have a number of options. You can fill in a paper tax return, do the online return, use some 3rd party tax software, or pay someone else to do it for you.

I’m going to show you what the HMRC online self assessment forms are like, from the beginning to the end.

To start off you log into the system and choose the option to ‘File a return’.

01 self assessment overview

You’ll get an explanation of who can use the online self assessment, and who can’t. As long as your financial isn’t too exotic you should be able to use the online tax forms.

02 self assessment welcome page

To get started you’ll need to confirm some personal details about your name, national insurance number, etc. Most of these should have been filled in for you already, so you only need to update them if necessary.

03 self assessment tell us about you

In the ‘Tailor your return’ section you need to enter some high level details about your financial situation, such as whether you are employed, self-employed, have received bank interest, have other income, and more. The answers to these questions will set up which parts of the form you’ll see later on. Don’t worry too much about getting your answers correct first time. Up until the point that you make the final submission, you can go back and change any parts of the self assessment form later.

04 tailor your return

06 3 tailor your return

If you are stuck on any section you can click on the green question marks next to the boxes, and you’ll get a pop-up with help messages in it.

05 help screen

Got to the next page (1 | 2 | 3)


Self Assessment and clever PDFs

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

For 05-06 I was able to use the HMRC free online self-assessment tax form which proved to be very easy to fill in and which did most of the tax calculations automatically. This year I wasn’t able to do this as I needed to fill in the Capital Gains Tax supplement. This supplement isn’t included in the sections available on the HMRC free online tax software.

There were therefore two option:

  1. Fill in the paper forms. Complicated, not fun, and easy to screw up.
  2. Investigate some 3rd party software to fill in the tax return.

The Inland Revenue has a list of approved software listed on their website. The software from ftax looked the best to me – they have a demo on their site if you want to see. The look and feel is identical to the paper forms. It allows you to fill in the main form and all the supplemental sections.

I purchased the software and downloaded it to my desktop. I went to my desktop and was expecting to find an exe or a zip file. I could find anything that looked like an installable application so I went back to the ftax site and downloaded it again.

Once more I could see nothing that looked like an install file for this software. I did however spot a PDF called SA2007. I was puzzled as I was expecting some software to be downloaded, not a PDF.

I opened the PDF and it became clear. This is no static, dumb PDF. This is the King of PDFs. You can fill in fields, save the data and press buttons to calculate your tax figures, and to submit your final return. It really is an amazing use of the PDF file format, I never realised PDFs could do this kind of thing. Many of the tax calculations are automatically done for you which makes it really easy to fill in. There is a lot of field validation in there as well, so you don’t mess up the form as you can easily do with the paper version.

The official (and free) HMRC software also does automatic calculations and validation, but if you need to fill in any supplemental pages that aren’t covered by the free software then I can definitely recommend a package like this. I haven’t yet submitted my return so I won’t be fully convinced until I have my submission receipt from HMRC but it is looking good so far.

Update 2010: The online self assessment tax forms from the HMRC do now allow you to declare capital gains.