5.4m tax returns still to be filed before 31st January deadline

6th January 2020

With less than a month to go until the 31st January deadline, 5.4 million people have yet to complete their tax returns.

Of the 11.7 million self-assessment tax returns due, around 54% of taxpayers have filed theirs, with more than 5.6 million of those completed online (89% of the total returns filed).

Among those who have already submitted their tax returns, a record 3,003 people filed their tax returns on Christmas Day – 15% up on 2018 when just over 2,500 used Christmas Day.

In total, 12,257 taxpayers used Christmas Day and Boxing Day to file their tax returns – a 9% increase on 2018.

Don’t delay, file today

As with Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, leaving your tax return until the last minute will increase the risk of mistakes being made. Incorrect tax returns could not only be costly in penalties but could also mean that a tax return needs to be redone and miss the deadline.

Of the 11,564,363 self-assessment tax returns due for the 2017-18 financial year, 735,258 returns were submitted on 31st January itself, with the peak hour being 4-5pm, when 60,000 returns were received by HMRC. However, leaving it too late meant 731,186 taxpayers missed the deadline, earning instant £100 late filing penalties.

According to HMRC statistics published last month, the average wait for your call to be answered is over 5 minutes but more than 17.3% of callers are waiting more than 10 minutes to speak to a HMRC adviser. The statistics covered November 2019, so there’s a good chance the wait has increased since then, and will continue to do so, the closer it gets to the tax return deadline.

If your tax return is outstanding

If you are completing your own tax return, HMRC’s online filing system can calculate your tax liability for you. However, it will not check whether your figures are correct or that you have claimed your full entitlement to expenses, reliefs and allowances.

Also bear in mind that HMRC’s helplines will only deal with ‘simple’ queries such as questions surrounding PAYE coding notices or the Marriage Allowance. HMRC helplines do not offer tax advice.

Therefore, why not use TaxAssist Accountants, we will look after all your tax affairs for you – from registering with HMRC, to completing your tax return, to calculating your tax liability and the due dates. We will ensure your affairs are as tax efficient as possible too.

If you are using an accountant, the main thing you need to do is make sure you get your records to them in good time and give them as much information as possible.

Penalties for late tax returns

A late tax return is subject to the following penalty regime:

  • An initial £100 penalty, which will apply even if there is less than £100 tax to pay or the tax due is paid on time
  • After three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day - up to a maximum of £900
  • After six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300 – whichever is greater
  • After 12 months, another 5% of the tax due or £300 – whichever is greater. In serious cases, the penalty after 12 months can be up to 100% of the tax due

Each of these penalties is in addition to one another, so a tax return filed a year late could face penalties of at least £1,600 - and this could escalate depending on the level of tax due.

Need help with your tax return?

If you are not sure if you need to complete a self-assessment tax return, or are doing so for for the first time, we can help.

At TaxAssist Accountants, we use HMRC-approved software to complete your tax return, calculate your tax liabilities, submit the return online and liaise with you on the amounts to be paid and their respective due dates.

Our service is available for a fixed, competitive price. To arrange a free initial consultation on self-assessment ahead of the 31st January 2020 deadline, call us today on 0800 0523 555 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form.

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