The end of the year is approaching, and although Christmas and merriment takes precedence, it is also incredibly important to be reminded that the deadline for online tax returns is also only just around the corner. By completing your tax return form and getting it in on time, or even earlier if possible, you don’t just save time and avoid a late penalty fee, you are also covered if there are any faults within the system.
The HMRC will have contacted you in April or May of this year with details of when to send your tax return back. This will normally be reflective of the format in which you send your tax returns; in an email if done online, by paper if you send in your return forms on paper. If you do not need to complete a tax return form, you should not receive a letter like this from the HMRC. If you are unsure about whether or not you need to fill in a form, and would like to find out the HMRC website has a wealth of helpful information.
The deadline for paper returns was the 31st October, and the deadline for online tax returns is the 31st January, and it is incredibly important to ensure you have everything ready, as computing systems are not always as reliable as more traditional paper submission formats. If there is a genuine fault in your system, or in the HMRC system, exceptions can be made in terms of late tax returns, but only if you make sure to submit it once more as soon as the fault has been resolved.
If the systems fault is on your end, there are a few things you would need to provide when contacting the HMRC to make a claim for reasonable excuse. These are;
- Your name or your client’s name
- Your authorised agent’s name, address and contact details if someone else acts on your behalf
- Your reference number
- The date you attempted to file your tax return with details of the IT error message; it helps to get a print screen of the error
- The full details of the error and why you filled in your return form late
The Penalty fee for late submissions is £100 just for the first day, and increases significantly over the following three months, so unless you want to start the new year off by paying some harsh fines, it is better to be over prepared when submitting your tax return form.
It is important to note that even if you have an accountant that fills in and submits tax return forms for you, it is yourresponsibility to ensure that they send them in on time. You are still held responsible and subject to a penalty fee if your accountant does not submit your forms on time, so make sure to use an accountant you trust in regards to tax returns.
Plus, by filing in your tax return form ahead of time, once it is done it is done for this year, and you can be free to enjoy the holiday season in relative peace!
About the author:
Claire Byfield is an independent tax adviser who has contributed this post on behalf of Dominic Hill Accountants, specialist tax planning accountants based in Eastbourne.