Self Assessment: more tax return tips

If you're filling in a tax return, it can be confusing to work out which figures go in which box, especially given how large HMRC's website and help documents are.

Here are some useful tips to help you with some of the more common figures as you put them on your tax return.

Bank interest

If you have any bank or building society accounts that are held jointly with your spouse or partner, don't forget to only include a half-share of the interest and tax on that account(s) on your tax return. The other half is your partner's.

Also, if you receive any bank interest free of tax, such as interest on an ISA, don't put that on your tax return at all.

Dividend income

If you receive dividends on shares you own in a company, that company will give you vouchers showing the amount of dividend paid.

Dividends go on to a tax return depending on when they're paid - not when they were declared. So if a company declared a dividend on 1st April 2009 but then didn't pay it out until 1st May 2009 - that dividend goes on your 2009/10 tax return, not 2008/09. For more information about tax years, please see our last article about filing your tax return.

Donations you make to charity

If you make donations to charity under Gift Aid, and pay higher rate tax (which you almost certainly will do if your income is over £40,835 in 2008/09) then you can claim tax relief on the donations. That means you get back the difference between the higher rate of tax (40%) and the basic rate of tax (20%) on the donation.

So if you're a higher-rate taxpayer, it pays to keep a list of your Gift Aid donations and put the total on your tax return.

Select here for more information from HMRC about claiming tax relief on Gift Aided donations to charity.

Pension contributions paid

You could also get tax relief on contributions to a pension.

But that doesn't apply to contributions you make directly from your salary, because you'll already have had relief on those.

Add up how much you've actually paid in the year and put that figure on to your tax return.

These are just a few examples of some of the little wrinkles you need to bear in mind when you're filling in your tax return.

If you get stuck - check out HMRC's guide here or ask your accountant for help (that is if your accountant doesn't complete your tax return on your behalf).

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