Now that Christmas is over and the new year has begun, we’re drawing ever closer to those important tax return dates.

With just a matter of weeks before 31 January, self-assessment taxpayers will need to start thinking about filing their returns if they want to avoid missing the deadline.

If you haven’t already made a start on your return, here’s why you should file it sooner rather than later.

Self-assessment deadlines

Every year, the self-assessment tax return deadline for online submissions falls at midnight on 31 January. You must not only submit your returns by this deadline, but also pay any tax you owe by the same date.

As a self-assessment taxpayer, you’ll have had to register for your return by 5 October 2022, with the paper tax return deadline falling on 31 October 2022.

According to figures released by HMRC on 3 January 2023, there are still 5.7 million taxpayers who need to submit their returns.

While many people prefer to file their returns before Christmas, HMRC reported that 3,275 taxpayers submitted their self-assessment on Christmas Day itself.

Unfortunately, if you are still yet to submit your return, you’re at risk of missing the deadline and incurring penalties.

Missing the deadline

As mentioned, missing the 31 January deadline can lead to HMRC issuing you a fine. Those fines will increase the longer you wait past the deadline to file your self-assessment.

Submitting your return past midnight will land you an automatic £100 penalty. After three months, late payers will also face an extra £10 fine per day up to a maximum of £900.

If you miss the deadline by six months, you might have to pay a further penalty of 5% of the tax you owe, or £300, whichever is greater.

Paying 12 months late will result in a 5% penalty of the tax you owe, or £300. In some cases, you may have to pay up to 100% of the tax you owe on top of your original bill.

Although the deadline is getting closer, acting now will help you to avoid getting fined. We’re always on hand to help you file and submit your self-assessment return with HMRC, mitigating any risk of late submission.

Minimise the risk of errors

Leaving something until the last minute can increase the likelihood of errors, even for the most seasoned accountants. In 2022, 630,000 taxpayers waited until the very last day to submit their self-assessments, 20,947 of which filed within the last hour.

By waiting until 31 January, you may end up rushing to meet the midnight deadline– and even the most minor of errors could result in further fines.

Anyone found filing their return carelessly could receive a penalty between 0% and 30% of the tax owed, but if you take reasonable care when completing your self-assessment, you’re less likely to pay that price.

Don’t hesitate any longer

Although the clock is ticking, you still have time to submit your self-assessment return before the deadline – but as always, the sooner you get started, the better. We’re here to help if you need any assistance.

Get in touch to discuss your self-assessment tax return.

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