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Tax Returns: Don’t Panic!!!

January 27, 2014

If you’re at all like me you haven’t done your tax return yet and you’ve suddenly realised there’s only FIVE DAYS left in which to do it.  So, as it says in large friendly letters on the headline of this piece: don’t panic!  There IS still time – just not much.  I plan to blog my way to a tax return – travel with me.

First things first, then – can I get onto the HMRC website???

If you’re in the same boat, make sure you type “hmrc.gov.uk” into your browser rather than searching for “HMRC” or “tax returns” on google.  Why?  Because there are a few websites out there that prey on people who don’t go online much.  They pay google for the kind of “advertising” which consists of bumping them up to the top of the google search page.  If you do what most people do and click on the top entry on google then you are going to them instead of to the HMRC site.  Bottom line: you can find yourself paying money to the wrong people.  So, if you’re not sure what any of this means look on your screen now – towards the top left hand side you should see a white space where it says https://tiintax.com/.  That’s what I mean.  In THAT space, type “hmrc.gov.uk” – when you do, you’ll leave this webpage and arrive on the HMRC one.  Do that now, and then press the back button to come back here.

See what I mean?

Have you done a tax return online before?  I have, so I know you need a log in and a password.  I’m afraid if you haven’t got either of them you’ll be in trouble at this point because you haven’t really got time to get both out of HMRC before Friday.  However there’s still hope – look at this screen cap of the HMRC site landing page where you’ll see it says “do it online”.   If you’re trying to do your tax return look underneath “do it online” to where it says “log in”.  Click there and here’s another screen print of what happens.  You should go to a page that offers you a list of different services and self assessment is on its own at the top of the list.  Click on self assessment and…

You should get a screen that looks like this.

At this point you might find the “user ID” is already filled in for you (mine was, from the last time I used the site, although of course I deleted it before I took the screen print).  If it is filled in, then I advise you to write this number down somewhere safe!!! Because you can get back onto the site relatively quickly if you have the user ID but not the password, but to get both will take you days, because you’ll have to phone HMRC up and they send them out by post.  And, as you can imagine, at this time of year you aren’t going to get them before Friday unless you’re very, very lucky.

All may not be lost; if you’re on a mac try file>edit>autofill form.  It may just be that you entered the user ID *and* the password some time in the past and your computer remembered it for you.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to find that I’d done this, and so I could get onto the site this morning, check that I don’t owe them any money but I do owe them a tax return.

What next?  Well, in my case, it’s clear a big old space on your desk and, at the same time, search for the proverbial Safe Place in which you’ve been putting all your receipts and payslips and odds and ends of tax-related paperwork ready to Get Serious.  Tomorrow.  Let’s not get carried away, after all!

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