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Have you filed your tax return? Or are you one of the three million who have yet to do so? If you are, it’s time to get organised, because late submissions will incur penalties.

The final countdown

With only a few days to go before the 2016-2017 tax return submission deadline of 31st January, HMRC has announced that just over three million customers are yet to file their return.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “The seven-day countdown to 31 January has now begun. Put a stop to that niggling feeling and do your Self Assessment now.

“Our helpful online services offer support and advice so you can complete your tax return quicker than you think!”

If you are one of the eight million who have already done so, congratulations. But if you’re one of the three million still to file their return, you need to ensure you’re on track to get it in on time.

Once it’s submitted, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time thinking about how you can avoid such a risky strategy next year. While you may think there’s no risk, and that there’s not a problem providing you file your tax return by the deadline, consider what might happen if you leave it just a little too late, and miss the deadline in the scramble for the relevant fact and figures.

Paying the price of late submission

HMRC is reminding customers that if you do submit your tax return after the deadline, you will receive a £100 penalty, even if you don’t owe any tax or your tax due is paid on time. And the longer you delay, the more you will have to pay.

After three months, an additional £10 per day is added to your fine, up to a maximum of £900. After six months, there is a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater, and after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge. At that stage, you can be judged to be withholding information from HMRC.

Remember, too, that the 31st January 2018 is not only the deadline for submitting your 2016 to 2017 Self Assessment tax return to HMRC but also the deadline for paying any tax owed. Paying the tax you owe late also incurs separate penalties of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months.

File that return NOW

Don’t leave it until the last minute. Ensure you have all the relevant information, including interest you have made on bank accounts, then make a start.

If you’re struggling to complete your return, there is a Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 and useful guidance at www.gov.uk/selfassessment.

The deadline for filing your tax return paper has already passed, so all remaining 2016-2017 returns must be filed online. Unfortunately, if you’re submitting your return online for the first time, you will need to register for the service first. Although this can be done quite simply at www.gov.uk/selfassessment, it can take a few days for the registration to arrive in the post. Contact HMRC if you’re concerned that this may mean you miss the deadline.

A tax return resolution worth making

Do you always leave your tax return to the last minute, and always swear you’ll never put yourself through the stress of doing so again? Then perhaps it’s time to look at what contributes to this last-minute scramble and consider what needs to change.

The best way to ensure that your tax return is correctly completed and filed on time in future is to leave it to an expert, so consider saving yourself time, stress and probably money too by hiring an accountant next year.

While paying an accountant may not seem an obvious way to save money, accountancy services may be cheaper than you think, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how much an accountant can save you when tax return time comes around. Accountants know exactly what you can claim against tax and how to claim it, ensuring you keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible.

Hiring an accountant may be the latest but greatest New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made, so why not start now? With fees starting from just £19.50 per month, The Accountancy Partnership offer your own dedicated accountant and unlimited help and advice throughout the year.

We will handle all your dealings with HMRC, file all necessary returns and claim all the tax relief you’re entitled to – allowing you to focus on your work and business.

About The Author

Liam Yapp

Marketing Executive and Part-Time Copywriter. If I'm not working on our next big marketing project, you'll probably find me outside, basking in the sun or walking the dog. Learn more about Liam.

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