The start of the year is always the time when anyone who needs to file a self-assessment return should get their skates on if they haven’t filed yet. The deadline for filing your self-assessment is January 31, and anyone not hitting the target could be setting themselves up for a fine and possible interest payments on any tax that is owed.

It may come as a surprise that a considerable number of people choose to deal with their tax return over the Christmas period. HMRC said that last year 22,000 people filed their tax return over Christmas, with 3,725 filing on Christmas Day itself. But whenever you choose to file your return, you should make sure you are claiming all the allowances you are entitled to, so you keep your tax bill to a minimum.


Reclaim tax relief on pension contributions

One of the reliefs that often gets forgotten is the tax relief on pension contributions. How much you can or need to claim will vary depending on your personal tax position, and how your pension tax relief is dealt with by your employer or pension provider.

Anyone who is a 20% taxpayer and is paid through PAYE will usually have the pension tax relief claimed on their behalf through the company pension scheme at source. But if you are a 40% or 45% taxpayer, you will need to find out whether your company scheme claims these additional reliefs for you, or whether this needs to be done via your self-assessment.

Typically, the additional 20% or 25% relief is the part that you may need to include on your self-assessment return. If you work for yourself as a sole trader or within a partnership, then you will need to claim all your pension tax relief on your return.


Tax relief on charitable donations

If you like to give money to good causes over the year, then you may have tax relief you can reclaim on the donations you have made. Any donation made through Gift Aid will ensure that the charity will receive the 20% tax relief directly. But again, if you are a 40% or 45% taxpayer, you can reclaim the difference on your self-assessment.

Once you get this rebate, which will be for the full gross value of the donation you made, you can decide whether you want to give it to the charity or not. This applies for both regular, and one-off donations, so keep any details of single donations you have made throughout the year too.

You can claim for donations for the entire tax year and up to the date you file your tax return. This means if you file on the last day, you can claim for donations made from April 6, 2022, to January 31, 2024.


Claim for any work-related expenses

If you are someone who pays their tax through PAYE, that doesn’t mean you can’t file a return, and if you pay for some of your work-related expenses out of their own pocket, then it is a sensible thing to do.

You can reclaim tax rebates on various items solely used for work, which could include memberships of professional associations, reading materials, or even clothing that you need to have for work but is paid for by you. These costs can add up, so it is wise to claim for these items if you can.


We can help you

If you want to find out what you can claim on your self-assessment, and make sure you’re complying with all the relevant tax legislation, then please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help you.