Friday, 9 December 2016

It’s the Season of Goodwill! So Here’s a Self Assessment Gift from HMRC…

Why do something now when you can leave it to the last minute?

Unsurprisingly, that’s not the Christmas message from HMRC – especially with the 31st January deadline fast approaching. And yet, when it comes to submitting tax returns, it’s exactly what most people do.

That’s why HMRC have come up with a seasonal incentive that has win-win written all over it: the festive period is an ideal time to get your tax return out of the way and make yourself scarce from all the cooking, washing-up and forced cheeriness with distant relatives who you’ve been dreading all year.

Apparently, last year more than 2,000 taxpayers filed their tax return online on Christmas Day whilst nearly 25,000 others filed theirs on New Year’s Eve. There were even 600 taxpayers who submitted between midnight and 10am on New Year’s Day!

That’s a lot of people who regarded their tax affairs as a much more attractive prospect to whatever else they had going on at the time. Or perhaps they were made up of excited accountants who simply couldn’t wait to try out their new calculators. Or who were just bored and lonely.

Either way, it’s the perfect ‘out’ for anyone wanting to duck their yuletide responsibilities – just remember to mention that it’s a particularly complex return this year and you absolutely can’t afford to neglect it…

For the record:
  • Any tax due should also be paid by 31st January, including payment of any Self Assessment liability (for 2015-16), and any payment on account (due for 2016-17).
  • As it’s so late in the year, returns can only now be filed online so if you’ve not yet registered for the online service, you need to do this asap.
  • A £100 penalty also applies for late submissions, even if there was no tax to pay or any tax due was paid on time.
  • Taxpayers with certain underpayments for 2015-16 can have this collected via their tax code (in 2017-18), provided they’re employed or receiving a UK-based pension – but need to request this by 30th December 2016.

Incidentally, copious amounts of mince pies and sweet sherry have been non-scientifically proven to be the perfect accompaniment to completing your online tax return at this time of year. And best consumed whilst hidden from view under the stairs, away from endless chores and annual Aunty Flora.

Until next month...