Be an early bird
Procrastination is the thief of time, the saying goes. It can also land you in hot water with the taxman if you’re not careful
“By submitting your return early, you can claim any refunds you are owed early too”
NOBODY enjoys submitting their self-assessment tax return; it’s simply a necessity, a necessity that’s often left to the last minute or forgotten entirely. The opportunity to submit a paper tax return to HM Revenue and Customs has already passed and we are fast approaching the deadline for submission of digital returns. In order to ensure that you don’t incur any penalties, you must make the submission by January 31, 2018.
While January 2018 may seem a long way off, in reality it’s just around the corner. If this year’s summer has taught us anything, it’s that time moves quickly. One minute you’re sunning yourself on the beach, the next you’re shivering, hot chocolate in hand and wondering where the time went.
The all-too-common mindset of ‘that’s ages away’ has caught many a taxpayer out; don’t let yourself become one of them. Right now, this present moment, is the perfect time to submit your tax return.
WHY SUBMIT EARLY?
Perhaps the number one reason to get your tax return done early is the peace of mind you will inevitably achieve by knowing it’s done. Besides the obvious, there are plenty of other reasons to file your tax return early:
You’ll have ample time to gather information
Rather than having to rush around to gather receipts and other necessary paperwork at the last minute, you’ll have plenty of time to pull together all your financial information.
More time to budget
If, in the unfortunate circumstance your tax bill is higher than you expected, then at least by submitting early you’ll have time to budget before paying your bill.
Claim your tax refund early
By submitting your return early, you can claim any refunds you are owed early too. You should receive any refunds owed very quickly as HMRC tend to be considerably less busy around this time of year.
WHAT FINES ARE THERE?
If you submit your tax return late, there is an immediate £100 fine payable to HMRC. If you fail to submit your tax return after three months, this becomes a £10 a day fine on top of the £100, which grows to a maximum of £900. If you still haven’t filed your return after six and 12 months following the deadline you get an additional £300 fine or 5% of your tax bill, whichever is higher. Yes, you can appeal the fine, but your excuses must be valid and hold up to scrutiny.
As you can see, HMRC offer little sympathy when it comes to late submissions, so it really is best to get it done early. I always advise submitting your tax return before Christmas, because once you’re in January, it’s safe to say you’re cutting it fine. Have yourself a merry little Christmas and get your tax return done before the festive period!