Don’t put off filling in your tax return

The Momentum UK Team 24 December 2013

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is urging those that fill out Self Assessed tax returns to get theirs sorted in time or risk facing a hefty fine.

The deadline for online tax returns for the tax year 2012-2013 is 31st January 2014. The deadline for handing in paper returns has already passed, and was the 31st October 2013.

In 2012 HMRC sent out 850,000 fines for late and incorrect returns.

If you miss the 31st January deadline then you will receive a fine of £100, whether or not you owe any tax. This fine will increase by £10 a day for 90 days, if it’s delayed further, there are additional fines on top of these amounts at various markers including 6 months and 12 months. Chas Roy-Chowdhury, the Head of Taxation at ACCA said:

“The end of January may seem like a long way off but it will come round quicker than you think. My advice would be to get your return done as early as possible. The earlier you start to do it, the more time you have to check that you have everything to complete it. As you may find for instance that you do not have all the interest statements you need. HMRC won’t hesitate in fining you if there are mistakes in your tax return. The last thing anyone needs is a wholly avoidable fine from the tax return man, especially after the expense of Christmas.”

“For many people filing an online self-assessment return is a straightforward process but if you are unsure about the information you are submitting seek the advice of a professional accountant. The cost of a professional accountant will be less than any accumulated fine from HMRC. Don’t be one of the, almost, a million people caught out each year.”

The ACCA also highlighted the changes to Child Benefit payments. Where one parent earns between £50,000 and £60,000, the couple can choose to still receive Child Benefit but must fill out a Self-Assessment tax return. They may then have to pay a portion of the benefit back in tax. The salary of the highest earning parent is taken into consideration. Various changes to Child Benefit were made in January 2013, and if you receive Child Benefit, then you should examine the changes, to see if they affect you.