Guide: Completing Your First Self Assessment
As a trustee you have a range of important responsibilities. As well as a requirement to fulfil your obligations with regard to the trust itself, you will also be expected to complete a Self Assessment tax return.
This can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you have not previously had to complete the process. But, with a bit of preparation, it need not be too difficult.
Get your records in orderEnsuring that you have the correct paperwork to hand is vital if you want to make the Self Assessment process as simple as possible. The range of documents you may need will depend on your circumstances, but it might include details of: any interest or dividends you have received; assets that the trust has disposed of; and assets settled into the trust during the relevant period.
You should make sure that you set these records aside in an orderly way during the year in order to make the Self Assessment process as simple as possible.
Choose a formatYou can file your return online or on paper. HMRC is trying to encourage all Self Assessment taxpayers to file online, and there are several very good reasons for doing this. Primarily, the online service will automatically calculate your liability for you, thereby taking out a significant proportion of the work. Furthermore, the deadline for filing is later.
If you choose to file on paper, you will need to request specific pages. You will definitely need the main Trust and Estate Tax Return, also known as form SA900. You may, however, require additional pages including SA905 if chargeable gains have been made, or SA904 if foreign income is received by the trust.
Learn the deadlinesThe dates by which you are expected to file your return will vary depending on the method you choose. If you choose to file on paper, you must ensure that it is received by HMRC by 31 October. If you miss this deadline you will be fined £100.
The deadline is also 31 October if you choose to file online and want HMRC to work out your tax for you. If you file online but intend to work out your tax yourself, you must file by 31 January. Again, if you miss this deadline you will be fined £100.
Complete the returnProvided that you have all of the relevant information to hand, actually filling in the return should not be too arduous. Problems tend to arise when you lack the figures. The form itself, on the other hand, is fairly self-explanatory – particularly if you are filing online.
It is worth noting, though, that there is guidance and explanatory material available on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you are filing on paper you should have received this material with your return.
Check, check, check
Finally, it is vital that you properly check through your figures before submitting your return. If you make mistakes you could end up paying more tax than you should. In addition, there are theoretical penalties in store for those who enter incorrect information on their Self Assessment – so make sure you check thoroughly.
As with all tax matters, if you are in any doubt it is vital that you seek independent advice.