1040X individual income tax return form with calculator and pen

 The tax system is extremely complex and it can be quite a mine field to navigate and unless you are confident and know a bit about what you are doing, it is easy to fall foul of the process. Unfortunately the system is not at all forgiving and for those who file incorrect tax returns or for those who miss the deadline for completion, fines can be steep.

If you are planning to file your return by yourself, the first step would be to find out what type of tax return you need to make, if any, and when you have established that, you must make sure that you know and adhere to the deadline for completion so as to avoid a penalty.

The next step would be to gather all of your paperwork, your receipts, your payments, details of your earnings and any other form of spending or income which relates to your business or personal circumstances.

You would then need to determine how to make your return and use the correct format to make your return, are you completing your return online, in which case you my need to register if you haven’t already done so, or are you making a paper return.

You need to also determine what allowances that you can claim against tax, so if it is a business that you have, there will be certain expenses that are tax deductible and you should make sure that you know which expenses are and which expenses are not. If you are inexperienced, make sure that you read to find out what you can claim for as by claiming what you are entitled to can substantially reduce your tax burden.

You are then ready to take all of your information and complete the paperwork. You must make sure that it is completed correctly as there are no allowances for mistakes. You will have to have totalled your income and your expenditure and make sure you retain your receipts and invoices etc. All of your completed paperwork should then be submitted by the due date.

If all of that leaves you feeling somewhat cold, another way of ensuring that you do your taxes properly would be to use the help of a professional company. There are benefits to doing this

  • It takes the stress from you, a good reputable company has a full understanding of the tax system
  • It saves you the time and hence allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your personal life or business
  • You will never miss a deadline, your accountant will be able to remind you of what is required and when
  • It ensures that you get it right every time
  • A company can save you money by spotting things that you have missed
  • If you have a business, it can help your business grow as a company will be able to offer you advice and guidance and point to more efficient ways of running your business

A reputable accountant can be worth his / her weight in gold and although there is a fee attached to the service, it can be money well spent especially when you factor in the savings that you could potentially make.