Haven't Completed your Self Assessment Tax Return Yet?

January 27 2014, 0 Comments

Author: George Talbot (Accountz)

The deadline for submission of your online tax returns is rearing its ugly head. If you haven’t submitted your tax return yet, remember, you have until midnight Friday 31st January, and it is definitely time to get going!

Remember not everyone has to complete a tax return. If your finances are straight forward enough, simply pay what you owe by utilising your tax code! However if you’re self-employed, a company director, a trustee or you've been receiving foreign income. You will undoubtedly have to file a submission with HMRC. If you are questioning whether or not you have to file a return, look through this comprehensive list. Or contact the HMRC Self-Assessment Helpline on 0300 200 3310.

Remember if you didn't have to submit last year, changes such as a taxable income increase may have changed your circumstance, so it is always best to check!

What happens when you submit your tax return late?

You will have to pay a penalty fee to HMRC. Regardless of whether you have tax to pay, or have paid the tax you owe. How much depends on the length of the delay, there are 4 stages. You have to pay the penalty for the category you fall into as well as the penalties for the previous stages.

Stage 1, a day late: £100 fine.

Stage 2, up to 3 months late: For 90 days, you are charged £10 a day. As well as the stage 1 fine.

Stage 3, 6 months late: £300 fine or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher. As well the previous fines.

Stage 4, 12 months late: £300 fine or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher. In some cases this may go as high as 100% of the tax due. As well as the previous fines.

Long story short, failure to submit your return can land you in some serious, unnecessary financial trouble.

What to do if you couldn’t fill the form out in time?

HMRC does accept what they call ‘reasonable excuses’, if you genuinely couldn’t fill in your return on time for reasons beyond your control you can apply for a claim and avoid the penalties.

1. HMRC computer system fails

2. Your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online tax return

3. Serious illness, disability or mental health conditions have made you unable to file your return

4. Registered with online services, but didn’t get an activation code in time (this will not count if you apply the day of the deadline)

These are some of the ‘reasonable excuses’ laid out by HMRC. However, if HMRC believes you did not make a reasonable effort to meet the deadline. You can expect to be fined the penalties in the stages stated above.

The form you need to fill in and send to HMRC to make a reasonable excuse claim can be found here.

Is it too late to file and pay my return, without incurring penalties?

Unfortunately the deadline for the Online Self-Assessment Tax Return is so close. That if you were to apply for an online activation code, which arrives by post (7 working days), you wouldn’t be able to file your return without incurring penalty charges!

Don’t panic.

If you apply for an activation code between 22nd-30th January. You will receive an extension on your submission deadline. To the 15th February, you will still need to pay your return by the 31st January.

If you are self-employed this is simply a case of working out your turnover and subtracting your expenses incurred. This is simple to find within our Accounting Software. Find out your Tax Code and pay HMRC by calling 0300 200 3300, to find out their sort code and account number.

Don’t worry if you overpay. HMRC will refund you the difference.

Once your activation code arrives simply fill in the return online, by the 15th February.