No need to be spooked by the October Tax Return deadline

October 2012

Failure to file your tax return on time, now leads to automatic penalties being issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which go far beyond the £100 limit. The Department recently revamped the late filing penalty regime to make it much more severe and gone are the days where penalties could be mitigated if you had little or no tax outstanding.

31st October 2012 is the deadline for the filing of paper tax returns for the year ended 5th April 2012 (2012 tax return), and although the filing deadline shares a spot on the calendar with Halloween, it doesn’t have to be a scary time for small business owners and taxpayers.

There are many advantages of filing your self assessment tax return ahead of the deadline:

What if I don’t need a tax return?

HMRC should write to you annually if they think you need to file a tax return. However, if your circumstances have changed and you think you no longer need to file a return, you can contact them and if they agree with you, they can remove you from the self-assessment system.

A word of warning though - try to do this ahead of the filing deadline. Otherwise, the system will automatically start sending you late filing penalties. Although you could get these removed too, it’s preferable to avoid being issued with penalties in the first place.

What if I think I now need to file a tax return?

You may need to complete a tax return if any of the following apply:

There are also other instances when a tax return may be required, but these are less common.
You need to inform HMRC by 5th October following the end of the tax year in which it happened. The tax year runs from 6th April to the following 5th April.

So, if your self-employment started October 2012, that would fall into the tax year ended 5th April 2013. Therefore, you would need to inform HMRC by 5th October 2013. But it’s best practice to inform HMRC that you may need to complete a tax return as soon as possible, so avoid leaving it until the last minute.

Posted by

Jo Nockels