Whether through busyness, dread or pure apathy, if you haven’t submitted your tax return yet, you’re not alone.
Last year, over three quarters of a million people hung around until the day before the self-assessment deadline to finalise their returns. A further panicked 30,000 left it right down to the wire, hitting the submit button between 11pm and 11.59pm on 31st Jan 2018.
Whatever your reasons, no amount of wishing will turn back the clock, but with a late return liable for an initial fine of £100, it’s got to be done, stat. Here are our tips for getting through last-minute tax return chaos.
Make sure you can log in
Even if you leave the actual number crunching until the 31st January, the first thing you should be doing right now is ensuring you are either registered or have your existing log in details for filing online. Formerly done through the Government Gateway, the system has slightly changed this year – you can still use your existing Government Gateway login, (alongside some alternatives), but there are tighter security measures in place. As long as you know you can log in, that’s the first battle out of the way!
Don’t rush it
Well, there’s been no rush so far for getting your figures in, so don’t start now! Doing your books takes time, thought and diligence (which is probably why you haven’t done them already), and rushing through them will do you no favours. Not only are you more likely to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry, which could mean over or underpaying your taxes, but if you’re audited by HMRC and they spot ‘careless’ discrepancies, you may end up paying a fine.
Be prepared to wait (perhaps)
The online system has long been susceptible to the sudden flurry of activity, with the site slowing down noticeably the closer the deadline approaches. With a newer, shinier system in place, we can only hope this has improved, but we won’t hold our breath.
In years gone by, wait times for the actually-very-helpful HMRC helpline were astronomical, though figures released show that despite 195,000 calls on January 31st last year, the average wait time was a reasonable 3 minutes and 6 seconds.
Draft in some help
If it’s all too much, it’s still not too late to get someone else to do it for you. Our team of accountants all work especially hard at this time of year, and we can often squeeze you in if you need it, but as always, the sooner the better! We’re bang up-to-date with our knowledge of new tax laws and the intricacies of expenses, ensuring you get a timely, accurate and stress-free service that in some cases can even save you money!
Need us to swoop in and save the day? Give us a call to discuss your last-minute tax return now.