As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the dreaded Self Assessment return deadline (31st January) has just passed. Good riddance, right?

For some, it might have been a pretty streamline process and for that, we commend you.

For most others, it probably involved numerous sleepless nights, multiple bottles of wine and wondering if the powers that be would really notice if you bought a fake identity and fled the country.

Tax return time is a drag, there’s no two ways about it. However, there are a few simple ways you can make the whole ordeal significantly more bearable next time around.

So, if you’ve just registered as self-employed, started up your own business or had a complete nightmare in January that you want to avoid at all costs next year, keep reading.

Leave it to the professionals and hire an accountantSelf Assessment Filing

We say it all the time but enlisting the expertise of a trained finance professional really is worth its weight in solid gold.

A good quality accountant will be able to prompt you about important dates, ensure due payments are boxed off, make sure you stay tax efficient and make you aware of all allowable expenses.

Get a head start and stick to good habits

Having a qualified professional on side is a great start but it will help to instate some good habits of your own too.

Things like keeping your books in good shape and carrying out regular reconciliation checks to make sure everything is as it should be and rule out human error well ahead of time.

Make sure you have everything you need to hand

This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at just how many people don’t have essential account details available when it comes to the crunch.

Sit down and collate things like passwords, usernames, Unique Tax Reference (UTR), Government Gateway ID, National Insurance number and a recent pay slip so they’re all in one place when you need them.

Jump the queue for a phone call to HMRC

Okay, so, there isn’t really a way to skip in line when you’re on hold to HMRC (unfortunately) but to avoid wasted time and raised stress levels, stay ahead of the game.

Don’t leave it until January to give HMRC a buzz because as you can imagine, it’s their busiest time of year and HMRC hold music takes no prisoners. Trust us, we should know.

Consider the move to cloud accounting

There is plenty of modern technology and advancements in software out there to help you hit deadlines and stay organised from tax year to tax year so take advantage of it.

Cloud-accounting streamlines traditional processes and makes keeping your paperwork in order way, way easier so you don’t end up playing catch up come January.

If you’ve got any of your own HMRC hacks or Self Assessment stress relief tips, do your good deed for the day and share them with us in the comments below.

Alternatively, if you’d like to know more about our services or our cloud-accounting software, Pandle, get in touch with our team of accounting experts.