Every year without fail the end of January is a panic. The self-assessment deadline looms and people rush to get their return in before the deadline.
This year almost 750,000 people have had an automatic £100 fine imposed on them by HMRC for late filing. You could say that 1st February is Christmas for The Revenue. Last year saw 840,000 people slapped with a fine.
Ultimately, it boils down to three reasons.
- Something unforeseen
- Lack of planning; or,
- Not using tech to your advantage
What do you do now? If you can deliver a ‘reasonable excuse’, my dog ate my return doesn’t cut it, you can appeal the fine. But what if you can’t? you should just pay it and look at your professional relationships in close detail. The fines compound after three months and six months. You could end up with a hefty top up to your tax.
Now what should you do moving forward?
Keep your records together and organised and, if you use an accountant, and you probably should, send them the relevant information whenever you have it.
Use the technology and tools available to you. Cloud accounting systems and data capture software, means that the time spent on admin tasks is minimal. Your accountant can also give you real time updates and will help them support your business.
Finally, and this one may seem a bit left field, file your return in May. No rush, no panic, no fine. No problem. With the use of modern technology, you should have all the data available immediately.
We strongly suggest that if you’ve been affected by late submission this year, that you get in touch with an accountant whose clients like tax, because they deal with it for them.