The Self Assessment deadline is upon us and your Self Assessment will be due by the 31st January. To avoid penalties and further fines, it’s always a good idea to get everything together and processed well before the deadline date. This ensures that if there are any errors, there is time to correct them.
If you like to leave things to the very last minute, you may be wondering what will happen if you miss the deadline? We’re going to take you through some of the consequences of missing the deadline and how you can avoid the penalty fees that come with missed deadlines.
Make sure to register for Self Assessment
If you aren’t already, it is important that you set-up your HMRC online account and get signed up for Self Assessment. This takes very little time and can be done easily through the HMRC website. When it comes to actually filing your Self Assessment tax return, you may be surprised by how straightforward it is. Read our guide on hassle-free tax returns for more!
You will need to keep all of your login details and memorable information safe and secure, as you’ll need this when completing any tax returns or changing information going forward.
With Making Tax Digital coming into effect, it is advised to do as much of your tax processes online right from the start. This will make it much easier for you when the Making Tax Digital scheme comes into full effect.
Avoiding late payment penalties & filing your tax return
When it comes to filing your Self Assessment tax return, you will need to collect all of your business accounts and expenses. This is easily done through your accounting software, but if you have not yet made the switch, it can be slightly more time-consuming.
When filing your tax return, there are a couple of key things you will have to know and declare:
- The business income for the tax year
- The cost of employees (if you have hired any freelancers etc)
- The amount spent on expenses
- Any costs incurred by donating to charity
- Any student loan or other loan payments
For the full list, you can head to the HMRC’s page on Self Assessment.
In order to avoid late payment penalties, it is advised to complete the Self Assessment tax return around 2-3 weeks in advance of the deadline. This ensures that the assessment can be carefully checked over and submitted with no errors or missing information.
Missing the deadline will result in penalties, including a £100 fee that is subject to interest and further fines if the balance is left unpaid for longer than 3 months.
Here’s a little more information on the fines.
I failed to file my return on time…
People who failed to file their return on time will receive a £100 penalty. If you are more than three months late in filing the return, you will be charged a further £10 a day. This will continue for a maximum of 90 days.
I failed to pay my tax bill on time…
If it’s your actual bill that’s you’ve missed, there will be a £50 penalty, as well as 3% interest on what you owe. If you’ve missed the bill by more than six months, there will be a further £50 charge.
There are a few things that HMRC can do if it’s not paid. Enforcement action can be made against you, they can collect what’s owed through your earnings, a debt collection agency will be contacted, court action can even be taken.
Appealing the fine
Of course, there will be certain circumstances that may mean you miss the deadline. If you have missed the deadline due to circumstances out of your control (circumstances which we will cover shortly), then you should speak to HMRC. You’ll need a reasonable excuse, and proof that your excuse is valid.
Here are some of the circumstances which HMRC may take into consideration.
- Issues with HMRC online services
- You couldn’t complete your tax return because of a fire, flood, or theft
- You had a serious, life-threatening illness
- Your partner (or close relative) died before or during the tax deadline
- An unforseen hospital stay prevented you from heeding the deadline
What to do if you have been given a late payment penalty?
You can pay your full balance, including penalties by logging into your HMRC account. Here, you’ll be able to see how much your tax bill is and any fines that have been added to your balance.
If you believe you have been wrongly fined, or if you have a legitimate reason why you could not fill in your Self Assessment tax return, then there is a procedure that allows you to contest the fine. You will have to provide sufficient evidence when applying for this, but it can be easily sorted by phoning the HMRC Self Assessment helpline.
If you are looking for a chartered accountant to help you with all tax procedures and help you never miss a deadline, why not get in touch with one of our tax accountants? As 31st January approaches, you’ll thank yourself for getting organised.