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Expat tax return preparation: Are you ready for the tax return deadline?

Are you prepared to submit and settle your tax return before the 2016 deadline?

Written by E4E Editor on 25 September 2015

While the New Year may seem like a long time away, it’s now fewer than 100 days until we reach 2016, and therefore the deadline for submitting and settling your non-resident UK tax return.

While 2016 itself may be a very eventful year with a potential EU referendum, changes to tax rules as well as the ever changing pension landscapes, you still need to ensure your tax return is submitted and any taxes paid before January 31st, or you could face a penalty.

We’ve collated a short checklist to help your tax return preparation.

Don’t leave your tax return preparation until December

Our top tip and number one rule. Do not leave your tax return preparation until the last minute. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, leaving it until the last minute is a sure fire way of missing something. Whether a receipt, some income… and it may cost you a penalty.

Secondly, and most importantly, if you have an accountant, it is their busiest time of the year as everybody else is leaving it until the last minute as well. Your accountant will probably still be able to provide a service, but there’s a chance it would not be as good as when they are less busy.

Finally, by preparing your tax return now, you will identify if you owe the tax man any money. While this may not be a concern, what you will want to avoid are any unexpected shocks during the Christmas period and suddenly have to make money appear from nowhere.

Bring your documents and receipts together now

The sooner you bring all the necessary documents together, the sooner you can identify if something is missing, and request copies if possible. For example, ensure you have your bank statements for the past 18 months, any P60s and P45s from former UK employment as well as any receipts from bills.

Then put each document in chronological order so it is easier for you (and your accountant) to run through each item and ensure all is present and correct. Get yourself some bulldog clips as well - staples could damage your documents if you use them to keep them together.

Finally, buy a secure box and keep all your important documents together in a single place so they are easy to transport. If you can, it's also a good idea to scan your documents to ensure you always have a copy to hand.

Create a spreadsheet to track your finances

If you haven’t already, it’s a great idea to create a spreadsheet with all your expenditure and income on it. Not only will this help you and your accountant match up your financial situation, it will also give you a decent idea of whether you owe that tax man money at the end of the year.

It’s also a great idea to keep the spreadsheet “alive” by keeping a record of all your expenses and income so that you don’t have to start afresh each tax year.

If you need a template, you can download our free Excel Expenses Spreadsheet here.

Speak to an accountant about your tax return

Whether this is your first year as an expat, or you have lived abroad for a number of years, it is always a good idea to speak to a qualified accountant to ensure that you are complying with the relevant tax rules, both in the UK and your country of residence.

The complex nature of the non-residence tax status and the rules surrounding your income at home and abroad, you may be subject to certain taxes which you hadn’t considered. There may also be special rules which apply to you depending on your activities in the previous tax year.

Our advisers will be able to offer free general guidance on your tax matters, however, if you need specific assistance, you will need to explain the situation and request a quote from them.

Submit your tax return early

Once you have everything in order, there is no need to wait until the last minute. Apparently hundreds of thousands of British people submit their tax return on Christmas Day.

As with your preparation, it’s a good idea to submit everything as soon as you can, then you can cross it off your “to-do” list and relax during the Christmas break.

Start preparing for your next tax return

We’re already half way through the tax year 2015/16 and while there is still 15 months until your tax return has to be submitted and settled, it is not too early to start preparing.

After all, the more preparation you do now, the less work you will have to do to submit your next tax return.

Request independent tax advice

If you are unsure of your tax requirements or you need help preparing your tax return we have a number of tax advisers in our network which are qualified to assist anybody who is:

  • British national living abroad
  • Foreign national living in the UK
  • British national who is considering moving abroad
  • British national who is looking to return to the UK

Enter your details using the form to request an initial free tax consultation with a qualified tax adviser who will be able to provide you with:

  • Your UK tax return
  • A detailed assessment of your current tax residence status
  • Recommendations on how you could reduce your tax burden
  • Guidance on how to apply any relevant double tax treaties

Request free tax consultation (click to show form)

If you'd like help preparing your tax return, enter your details below and we will arrange for a free consultation with an expat tax accountant

Request free tax consultation

If you'd like help preparing your tax return, enter your details below and we will arrange for a free consultation with an expat tax accountant