04 Jan 2016 12:00 AM

As the annual deadline of 31st January approaches, many of you may be either involved in or about to start your online personal income tax assessment.

In a bid to help make this onerous task a little easier, here are suggestions to help you avoid the 5 most common mistakes people make whilst filing online tax returns.

1.Missing Pages - Complete all the pages you need to, including all relevant supplementary pages. While HMRC says it’s made it easier, it’s still not totally clear and missing any information could result in you being fined.
2.Forget to Submit - Don’t do all the work then forget to press ‘submit’.  Again HMRC has tried to make the submit option much more obvious but as failure to submit your return on time will result in a fine of £100, do take the time to make absolutely sure you’ve clicked it.
3.Missing Pensions - Make sure you include details of all of your pension provider/s in the in the 'Pensions Box'.  Any omissions or errors (including trying to use punctuation in your answers) will generate an error message that can only be resolved by calling HMRC’s helpline, a service infamous for making customers endure long waiting times.
4.Incorrect Entries - Double check your numbers before you enter them online.  Every year thousands of people miscalculate the amount of tax they need to pay in relation to all of the other information they enter and this can lead to delays, errors and even unnecessary fines.
5.Special Characters - Don’t use anything other than letters and numbers in the boxes. They won’t be accepted and this will again lead to error messages and/or fines. For example statements such as 'as per accounts' will not be accepted, you must enter the actual numbers in the boxes otherwise your return will be rejected.

And finally, try not to leave this task until the last possible minute, as systems can easily become over burdened and slow down or even crash, potentially losing you precious time. You have until midnight on Sunday 31st January to file your tax return and pay any tax due.

If you have any questions or concerns related to completing and submitting your online self-assessment, I’m here to help.

Please email me at david.gibbs@alliotts.com or call me on 0044 (0)207 240 9971 today.