Self Assessment – Are all your tax affairs in order?

As the Halloween and Christmas decorations start to appear in the shops, it’s a clear reminder to all accountants that our busiest season is quickly approaching. There are a few deadlines to consider if you are within Self Assessment and we go through these below.

Firstly, for anyone that started to trade or had income that means they need to complete a Tax Return for the 2016/17 tax year, the deadline was 5 October and has now passed. If this is the case for you and you’ve not yet contacted HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) please do this as soon as possible in order to minimise any penalties.

Anyone that choses to file a paper return with HMRC has until 31 October after the end of the tax year  to do so, but any tax liability is not payable until the 31 January. If this is how you submit your information, you are quickly running out of time to get this to HMRC.

For the majority of people, the deadline for filing a return is 31 January following the tax year. This is the deadline that accountants work to as we file returns online, and is also the deadline for paying any tax liability.

Many individuals leave gathering their records together until the Christmas break knowing that this is before the January deadline but this adds pressure on both them as individuals and us as accountants as we rush to get the returns prepared and filed with HMRC in time. Being last minute can also mean surprise liabilities if an individual has had a better year than expected with little time remaining to gather the funds to make payment to HMRC.

A successful year can also push someone into payments on account for the first time, or mean they are much higher than before. If you have large payments on account for 2017/18 following a successful 2016/17 year, getting your records in early can have its advantages. If you have an accounting year end that means you can prepare your accounts for the 2017/18 tax year before the 31 January deadline, your payments on account may be able to be reduced on these figures.

From the above, it is clear to see why this time of year is the peak in tax season for individuals. Of course, with the introduction of Making Tax Digital in the future these deadlines will change. But for now whilst they remain, as a plea for all accountants, please get your records organised as soon as possible so we can all enjoy the Christmas season!

If you would like any more information or advice about upcoming deadlines, get in touch

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