Even though the deadline for filing 2017 self assessment returns online is long past (31 January 2018), it is never too late to get information that can help for subsequent ones. Of course, if you missed the deadline, you may have to pay a penalty, unless you have a really good excuse, such as a long stay in the hospital (with hospital records to back it up), but for subsequent tax filings, the following minute tips from personal finance experts will help you cut your tax bills in the future.
Cut your tax bill when you donate to charity –
If you are an additional or higher rate tax payer, you can legally cut down your tax bills by being charitable. You are essentially killing two birds with one stone. Donating for a good cause and slashing your tax bills. When you add up your charitable donations on your tax returns, you can claim tax relief. Mathematically, you can save 25p on every £1 charity donation. Not only can you earn tax relief from major charities, you can also lower your tax bills by sponsoring minor events like scouts or brownies at your children’s school. All in all, you get to save by giving.
If you are a basic taxpayer, you can earn as much as £1,000 interest on your personal savings without paying one penny in tax. The same thing applies to higher rate tax payers, you can earn up to £500 in interest without paying tax. However, you may need to check the tax certificate for your bank account. The same thing applies to investments. You are entitled to £5,000 a year in tax free dividends if you own any investments outside your pension or personal savings account, although this figure will reduce to £2,000 from April 2018. You can actually save up to £20,000 every year with an ISA without having to pay capital gains tax or income tax.
Better mortgage alternative –
The new property and mortgage rules that will take full effect within a few years will see landlords progressively lose valuable tax relief on their buy to let properties mortgage costs. Before the introduction of this new rule, landlords only have to declare rental income after they have paid mortgages, and this system help cut tax bills by thousands of pounds. But, since April 2017, the method of declaring rental income has changed; meaning a lot of landlord will be expecting significant increase in their tax bills. However, because mortgage rates have dropped in recent years, landlords may be able to make savings by exploring other mortgage opportunities. Additionally, landlords can talk to tax experts to ensure they are claiming all they can against their rental income.
Self employed allowable expenses –
If you are self employed, you can slash your tax bills by taking note of what is called allowable expenses. For every £1 you spend on ‘expenses incurred exclusively in the performance of your business’ you can get 20p back in your wallet. For example, if you work from home and have to travel to London for a business meeting, you can claim travel costs which can cover food and drinks. Unfortunately, the taxman will not appreciate 5 star restaurants in your fillings, but the odd meals and drinks can add up. The secret is to keep track of all these seemingly insignificant expenses. One way to do this is by ensuring you get a receipt every time you carry out these little trips.