Alan Laing, tax manager, Thorntons, puts the spotlight on some taxing matters.
Q I retired last year, and next month I am due to receive a tax return to April 5 2015. What records should I maintain to complete the return?
A You should have your bank and building society statements, and any certificates you receive from them detailing interest that has been received.
If you own any shares you should retain any dividend vouchers, both from UK and foreign companies.
You should also keep any chargeable event certificates, and a record of any trust income received.
If you have any property income, maintain a record of rents received and expenses.
In addition to your state pension, you will receive a P60 for any occupational pensions, which will include any tax deducted.
You should also maintain a record of any payments to charities under the Gift Aid scheme.
Q When does the tax return to April 5 2015 have to be completed?
A It must be completed by October 31 2015 if you are sending a paper return or January 31 2016 if you are filing online.
If your tax return is received after January 31 you will be liable to a fixed penalty of £100, which applies even if you have no tax to pay or have paid all the tax you owe.
There are additional penalties if you have not filed your tax return after three, six and 12 months, so it is advisable to pay close attention to filing deadlines.
Q In the next tax year, I am thinking of selling shares which I have held for a number of years. How do I calculate if I have any capital gains tax liability?
A For each share disposal, you should deduct the original cost from the sales proceeds, after any selling expenses.
Any shares with a loss on disposal can be set against those with a gain.
You should calculate the overall gain for all share disposals and deduct the annual tax-free exemption of £11,100, so any gain above this level would be taxed at 18%, or 28% if you are a higher-rate tax payer.
The share disposals would be reported in your tax return to April 5 2016.
Capital gains tax is payable by January 31 after the end of the tax year in which you make the disposal, so any liability in the year to April 5 2016 will not be payable until January 31 2017.
Q Is there any way I could reduce the capital gains tax liability?
A Yes. If you are married or have a civil partner, you could consider transferring some shares to them.
Since there is no capital gains tax on transfers between a husband and a wife or between civil partners who are living together, you can effectively double your tax-free band by gifting assets.
If you transfer 50% of the shares prior to the sales then any gain is split 50/50 and each would have the annual tax-free exemption of £11,100.
Q I let a room in my home and I gather I can benefit from rent-a-room relief. What is this?
A Rent-a-room relief is a government scheme that lets you receive up to £4,250 a year in rent from a lodger, tax-free.
This only applies if you rent out furnished accommodation in your own home.