Time to think about tax returns, says HMRC

Is it that time of the year already?

Today, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has reminded taxpayers that they have just 100 days to go until the 31 January tax return deadline.

The reminder comes after more than 5.5 million people left the filing of last year’s annual assessment until the very last week, risking penalties and having little time to correct mistakes.

According to the most recent statistics, some 300,000 taxpayers accepted a £100 automatic penalty last year for filing a late return – even if it was just minutes over the deadline.

Meanwhile, a further 758,000 customers narrowly missed a fine, filing their return on the evening of 31 January.

Now the financial year is over, the months leading up to the deadline are the perfect time to start preparing your annual return. Doing so allows you to find out how much tax you need to pay, and pay the money owed by the deadline – which HMRC says will take away a lot of stress over the holiday period.

Preparing ahead will not only help you calculate what you owe, but what HMRC might potentially owe you. Use the time you have now to think about the running costs of your business and what items are potentially tax deductible. These can include office costs, travel costs, clothing expenses, staff costs, financial costs and advertising or marketing costs.

Likewise, if you use something for both business and personal use, you may be able to claim allowable expenses on the part used for business. Common examples include mobile phone bills, and if you work from home, heating, electricity, council tax, mortgage interest or rent and internet and telephone use.

Commenting on the report, Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said getting in early and beating the Christmas and New Year rush is the best way to “avoid the stress” and enjoy the festive activities.

“We want to help people get their tax returns right – starting the process early and giving yourself time to gather all the information you need will help avoid that stressful, late rush to file,” she said.

For help completing your tax return, please get in touch with our expert team.