Don’t miss the October paper tax return deadline!

How often have you sat down to do your tax return and then a pressing business matter rears its head which needs immediate attention? Nobody enjoys filling in a tax return, so it often gets pushed to the bottom of the pile until it can’t be ignored any longer.

There are a number of different deadlines every year for filing a self-assessment tax return, depending on the method you choose to complete it. Whichever route you take though, the deadline always approaches with alarming rapidity.

If you’re filing online, you have a bit more breathing space as the deadline isn’t until 31st January 2020, but if you’re intending to file a paper tax return, the HMRC deadline is midnight on 31st October 2019.

There are a number of reasons why it’s a bad idea to leave your tax return until the last minute:​

  • Tax returns take time. This is probably why you’ve been putting it off, but wading through a towering pile of paperwork, finding lost receipts or invoices and working out calculations as the clock ticks in the background is bad for your accuracy as well as your blood pressure. Mistakes happen when people are under pressure, and errors in a tax return can lead to fines and increased surveillance by HMRC.
  • If you’re filling in your form and encounter a problem which you need to discuss with HMRC, you’ll be on hold so long you’ll be able to play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on the violin yourself by the end. The helpline is always inundated as deadlines approach and, if you do finally get through, finding the correct department to answer your query can take time. It’s also annoyingly easy to get cut off while this happens.
  • Late completion can mean spending more on special delivery to ensure your form arrives on time.
  • If you miss the 31st October deadline and then are unable to submit online for any reason, you could receive a late filing penalty as the paper return deadline has passed.

Penalties for late filing are severe:

  • One day late – £100
  • Up to three months late – £100 plus £10 for each additional day (capped at 90 days) with a maximum of £1000
  • Up to six months late – either £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher, in addition to the penalties above
  • Up to twelve months late – an additional £300 or 5% of the tax due on top of the above penalties. There is also a possibility of being fined 100% of the tax due which means your tax bill is doubled.

These penalties are for late filing only, and there are further penalties and interest for any late tax payments.

You’ll feel a huge weight off your mind when you finally send off your tax return, so why not make a firm decision to tackle it this week? If you need guidance or want to unload the burden onto a professional expert, get in touch and let us deal with it all while you concentrate on running your business.