Common tax return mistakes made by SMEs

Melanie Richardson


Filling in your tax return can be stressful; for most SMEs, it becomes one of the most stressful periods of the year. Innocent mistakes can lead to hefty fines and greater future scrutiny from HMRC, both of which you want to avoid. As such, here are four of the most common tax return mistakes made by SMEs, according to our experts, that you need to watch out for and avoid.

graph icon

1. Forgetting to include interest


You need to include all income sources on your tax return, and this means every source of income no matter how small. Most SMEs have an interest-earning account, or perhaps an off-shore bank account, and HMRC is going to know about these. Therefore, even the smallest amounts of interest accrued need to be included, to avoid any further investigation which is both costly and time consuming.


data graph icon swindells east sussex tax and accounting services

2. Not explaining unusual variations


Tax returns provide you with a white box to explain anything strange or unusual about your declarations. Use this box to provide all and any information you think might be necessary for HMRC to understand your submission; doing so will mean HMRC is less likely to start an official enquiry if something looks amiss which hasn’t been explained. You don’t need to be overgenerous in your explanations, but ensure that you keep them simple, honest and easy to follow.


low fixed costs icon swindells east sussex tax and accounting services

3. Miss-claiming for expenses


The rules and regulations on what can or cannot be claimed on expenses are not as simple as it first seems – if you are claiming for lots, or a wide variety, of expenses, it may be worth checking these with your tax advisor or accountant. HMRC has been cracking down on expense claims in the past few years and is challenging these more frequently. Making sure you know the complicated rules around this area is key to avoiding problems further down the line.


shop till icon swindells east sussex tax and accounting services

4. Trying to save money by doing tax returns in-house


Not many people are trained in tax, and it’s unlikely that getting your IT analyst to help with your tax returns will be as successful as hiring a professional. While HMRC suggests that ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing’, correctly completing your tax return is not as straightforward as it seems, and it’s not a show of bad business management to ask for help from local accountants in Seaford and Uckfield. In fact, by hiring someone to assist you, you may well be avoiding future fines from HMRC for mistakes that you would otherwise make. If you do decide to do it yourself, use the HMRC website for clarification and don’t leave things until the last minute.


To discuss your specific situation and for help with your small business tax return get in touch with our Business Services Partner Robert who can discuss this with you:


Tel: 01825 763366

Robert east sussex accountants


Sign up to receive our private content
straight to your inbox


We use social media to deliver our updates to you on the go, wherever you are. We only post relevant content that will help you run your business.