Admin note: Originally published 8th August 2018.
For those of us who file for Self-Assessment tax, January Self-Assessment deadline is looming. It is time for all self-employed to be running around, looking for receipts and generally panicking about getting everything in with HMRC or to their accountant on time.
Getting everything together in order to file your Self-Assessment tax can be a time consuming exercise, especially if you are not prepared.
A few small tips can help make planning for the event easier:
- Try to run a cash book for your business – Keep good records and this should help you or your accountant file adequately.
- If you can, use a system like Dropbox for sharing documents with your accountant or use an online accounting Self-Assessment tax system such as QuickBooks – There are many free ones out there also like Wave.
- Try to file your receipts as you go along, get a folder together for everything on a monthly basis. Again Dropbox could be used as you can create folders there and upload pdfs / invoices or even images off your mobile from receipt pictures etc – Just to help streamline the process.
- Try to keep as much in order as possible, including tracking your mileage etc – This will help speed up any time when looking to file your Self-Assessment tax.
Put these key dates listed below in your diary to avoid a penalty for missing your Self-Assessment tax return deadline:
• Register for Self-Assessment tax if you are Self-Employed or a sole trader, registering a partner or a partnership – 5th October.
• Paper Tax Returns – Midnight 31st October.
• Online Tax returns – Midnight 31st January.
• Pay the tax you owe – Midnight 31st January.
• Second Payment on Account – Midnight 31st July.
It is important to know that filing late or failing to pay the tax you owe on time, would probably mean you face penalties. If you miss the deadline, you will be fined £100.00, this applies even if you won’t owe any tax. It is also important not to leave things until the last minute, especially if you have queries.
Recent figures showed that HMRC’s telephone contact centres have experienced double the queue times, with waiting times increasing year on year. Their website also has recently had tendencies to crash, meaning tax payers are finding it increasingly difficult to contact HMRC in a timely fashion. On the deadline last year – literally down to the last minute – 555,000 Self-Assessment tax returns were filed!
But what if you can’t afford to pay this bill in full?
If you don’t think you are going to be able to make this payment, it is important to seek advice from external agents and to contact HMRC as a matter of urgency. The sooner you discuss options with them and get advice, the sooner you may be able to reach a payment instalment agreement. HMRC will consider ‘payment proposals’ but they are given on a concessionary basis and the process is not always straight forward.
HMRC has become more aggressive in it’s pursuit of unpaid tax bills and legal action is starting earlier and faster nowadays. It is vitally important to act quickly. Remember – If you don’t file your Self-Assessment tax, HMRC may estimate your bill which could cause a higher debt, with higher penalties being applied.
Don’t ignore it – Seek help. You are not on your own.
In some instances, self-employed people find they just cannot come to an arrangement with HMRC or they cannot meet the payment / re-payment time criteria HMRC are looking for and the bill escalates quickly – There is help out there.
Tax Debts Help and Advice is a company that has been set up to help those that cannot pay their tax bills in full and on time including Self-Assessment tax. With over two decades experience we have helped our clients come to acceptable, affordable solutions with HMRC.
If you would like to know more about A Time to Pay Arrangement, call our friendly team on 0800 448 0293 who will happily talk through everything you need to know about paying your tax bill in instalments. Alternatively, you can visit our website – www.taxdebtshelpandadvice.com – and start a live chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org.