All we want for Christmas… is your self-assessment tax return

You’ve placed the presents underneath the Christmas tree, and ordered the turkey – but don’t forget to file your tax return before you switch off for the festive break. 

More than 11 million people needed to file self-assessment in the UK last year, including those who are self-employed or have significant income from savings. 

Some 8,623 of those completed a return on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in 2017, with 92 sending them in between 11pm and midnight on Christmas Eve. 

In addition, 1,290,948 taxpayers left it until after Christmas to submit their tax returns, with 30,348 of those leaving it until the hour before the midnight deadline on 31 January 2018. 

If you missed our earlier reminder, this year’s tax returns relate to 2017/18 and the deadline for registering came and went on 5 October 2018. 

Some 745,588 missed the 31 January 2018 deadline, so our festive message is to get your receipts to us before you tuck into your Christmas pudding.  

Self-assessment: late penalties

Those who fail to submit a tax return before midnight on 31 January 2019 face an automatic fine of £100, with interest charged on late payments. This applies to returns which are up to three months late, and could substantially increase the longer you leave it. 

After three months, the Revenue can hit you with an extra fine of £10 a day – up to a maximum of £900. If you fail to settle your tax bill after six months, you could end up with a further penalty of 5% of the tax due, or £300 – whichever is greater.

You can expect another penalty of 5% or £300 charge if no resolution has been reached after a year, while fines of 5% of the unpaid tax can be charged after 30 days, 6 months and 12 months. 

Self-assessment: appealing a fine 

It is possible to appeal a penalty, although the conditions for appeal are restricted. 

HMRC considers the following grounds for appeal:

  • if a partner or close relative has passed away prior to the deadline
  • serious illness
  • an emergency hospital stay
  • unexpected delays in the post
  • an IT failure (hardware or software) when preparing your tax return
  • external causes (fire, flood or theft) which prevented you from completing a return
  • problems with HMRC services.

Allow time to process self-assessment

Even though our experts use Xero, QuickBooks and Sage to file tax returns efficiently and securely, you still need to give us time to deal with HMRC. 

We’re happy to process your personal tax or company tax return ahead of the 31 January 2019 deadline, but require your authorisation to deal with the Revenue on your behalf. 

Another reason we ask for you to get your records to us before Christmas is to enable us to apply any tax reliefs that may reduce your tax bill. 

Christmas office hours

Our office will be closed between Friday 22 December, and Friday 28 December, while limited staff will be on call until the office fully reopens on Wednesday 2 January 2019. 

Get in touch by emailing advice@dunkleys.accountants or calling 01454 619900 to find out more. 

From all of us at Dunkley’s, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a compliant New Year. 

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