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Time Is Running Out for Self-Assessment Tax Returns

The 31st of January marks the deadline for British workers to submit their self-assessment tax returns. This is for the tax year that runs from April 6, 2018 through to April 5, 2019.

Yet, it has been reported that there are still millions of people who haven’t yet done this.

The Figures to Date

HMRC has confirmed that around 11.7 million people in the UK need to submit a self-assessment return this year. However, by the middle of January they had only received 6.9 million of them. This leaves close to 5 million taxpayers who still need to do this. 

The deadline is set as 11.59pm on January 31, 2020. Anyone who fails to file their return for six months after this date could be fined up to £1,000. The fee is £100 and after three months an extra £10 is levied every day up to a total of 90 days. 

Once six months have passed, an additional 5% of the tax owed is added to the bill. If this amount is less than £300, then the extra charge is rounded up to £300. Once a year has passed, if you still haven’t complied another 5% or £300 is added. 

If you feel that you have a good reason to not have done this, there is an appeals process in place that you can use. If you are currently dealing with international commercial debt collection and other issues you still need to make time for this, however. 

Who Needs to Do This?

HMRC has issued a range of guidelines on the people who need to fill out their self-assessment returns, they include self-employed sole traders, limited company directors and shareholders, along with some other cases of high earners and those who receive rental income.

To start this process, you need to obtain some codes from the tax office. These are the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and an activation code.  The HMRC website has a section called “self-assessment tax return”, where you can get started.

You can access the gov.uk website to see how much you owe. This is where you can see any fines that are applied for late returns and can also find a range of help and information. Close to 90% of the returns that have been sent off so far were completed online.

Payment by bank transfer can be made right up to the deadline, as HMRC classes it as being made when you send it, rather than when it is received. You should remember that you then have 12 months from the deadline to change your tax return, if necessary.

At the end of last year, HMRC revealed that over 3,000 people had completed their tax returns on Christmas Day. Their figures showed that the busiest time was between 12 noon and 1pm. During this period, 245 returns were filed.  

Christmas Eve was even busier. In the day before Christmas, over 22,000 British taxpayers submitted their returns.