31st January – the deadline for filing your Self Assessment tax return –– is only a few short weeks away. With an estimated 12 million taxpayers expected to complete returns for the tax year 2019-20, the January rush is likely to be bigger than ever.
For Inca – and every other accounting practice around the country – this is our busiest time of year. As always, the team will be working every day throughout January – including weekends and late into the evenings, to help all our clients fulfil their statutory obligations.
Don’t think we’re looking for sympathy – we love what we do and working flat out through this month goes with the territory. However, there are only so many days in the month for us to work on behalf of our clients (even less than usual this year (more on that shortly), and the deadline is immovable. For these reasons, the earlier in the month clients can get their accounting information to us, the easier it is for us to help them.
So, are you feeling smug and self-satisfied because you got your return filed with time to spare? Or are you in a panic because you’ve been putting it to one side for months, telling yourself there’s plenty of time – and now suddenly – there isn’t?
If it’s the latter, don’t worry, we won’t judge you – and you’re certainly not alone in leaving things late. According to HMRC, last year, more than 700,000 returns were submitted on deadline day.
Unfortunately, a similar number of people managed to miss the deadline altogether, incurring late filing penalties and interest on their tax bills in the process. We know you’re not going to deliberately allow that to happen to you, but the clock is ticking, and this year, there’s less time than usual to file your return and settle your tax bill.
Don’t get caught out by the Sunday deadline!
31st January is not only the date by which you have to file your 2019-20 tax return with HMRC, it’s also the date by which you must settle any tax you owe.
And here’s the rub: it’s a Sunday. You’ll still be able to file your online return and check how much tax you owe (the internet never sleeps), but it’s doubtful your bank will allow you to transfer money over the weekend of Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January.
To avoid getting charged interest on your tax bill then, you’ll need to have settled up with HMRC by close of business on Friday, 29th January at the absolute latest – and of course, you’ll need to have your return prepared before this date in order to know how much you have to pay.
This year of all years, expect HMRC to apply the rules on filing returns and paying bills on time particularly strictly. If you were due to make a payment on account back in July, you’ll know HMRC already allowed you – and thousands of other taxpayers – to defer payment until 31st January. And with Treasury coffers depleted by the impact of COVID, and the government’s efforts to support the UK economy through initiatives like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, HMRC will be looking to recover every penny of tax due to them.
It’s still not too late!
If you have yet to file your 2019-20 Self Assessment tax return, don’t despair, we can help you get things in order and submit your return in time to meet the deadline.
Because we can do virtually everything online, we can still take you on as a new client – even this late in the day. No face to face meetings are needed: we can communicate with you by phone and video call, and if you need to get physical paperwork to us, we have COVID protocols in place to protect you and our team when we take deliveries.
But you need to act quickly.
After such an awful year, you should be focusing on giving your business the best possible start to 2021, not spending time worrying about completing and filing your tax return.
It’s not too late, but time is running out. If you’d like Inca to take responsibility for filing your tax return by the deadline, you need to act quickly. Call us now on 01235 868888 or email us at [email protected].