So, you were too busy and missed the self-assessment deadline of 31 October 2013 and are now you are frantically trying to complete and submit online by 31 January to avoid the £100 penalty, interest and potential penalties.
Yep that deadline is approaching far faster than you appreciate but equally with every passing day goes the need to be stuck in some detox vortex where you are forced to have a green smoothie for breakfast and eat more greens than a rabbit does in an average year.
However, what to do when you and/or your accountant , (though hopefully not your accountant but you’d be surprised ) can’t decide what or how to declare a complex transaction or one which may be open to a different interpretation by HMRC?
The law states “you must provide any additional information you think HMRC will need to check your tax bill” and this is where the ‘white space’ comes into its own. That said there is a degree of crystal ball gazing as who knows what HMRC think some days
Here are a few situations where I’d suggest you use the white space:
1. To back up a complicated entry on a tax return, for example, a capital gains tax calculation on the sale of your home where you have used part of it for business.
2. Where you’re claiming Principal Private Residence Relief on a property that’s been let out but used to be your main home.
3. Where you aren’t sure of a figure for example, where the tax rules require you to make a judgement, say, on the amount of a business expense to claim
In the majority of cases, not using the white space to explain a questionable tax return won’t cause you any trouble, but should HMRC question your tax return and thinks you haven’t declared information you ought to have, the result may be a penalty charge or a greater penalty if it turns out you made a mistake. Remember that the law does not require perfection, more that you take reasonable care when preparing the return.
As a reminder, you are responsible for the entries on your tax return, even where your accountant completes it for you. So, please don’t just check the figures; make sure the white space entry is completed if appropriate.
If you are struggling with the deadline approaching or are interested in receiving further information or booking a strategic session with Iain, please contact Jacqueline on 0191 206 4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.