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Every month, Peter Watters, ACA, shares some useful financial tips especially for Business in Hastings readers. This month, he looks at Self Assessment.

All Self Assessment taxpayers have to meet several important deadlines throughout the tax year or they could incur penalty charges. Here is our useful guide to this year’s Self Assessment deadlines.

Filing Your Tax Return

McPhersons, Chartered AccountantsEast Sussex

Peter Watter from Mcphersons sheds some light on tax returns

 There are generally three deadlines for filing your Self Assessment Tax return. Which of the three you should use depends on the filing type of tax collection you choose.

You must ensure HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) receives your completed return by midnight on 31 October 2014, if you choose a paper return. However, if you decide to file your tax return online, you gain more time than paper filing, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January 2015. Remember that you will need a Government Gateway username and password in order to file online, and this could take around a week to arrive in the mail. So be sure to leave yourself enough time before the deadline.

If you owe less than £2,000, and you want HMRC to collect your tax through your Tax Code, you will need to submit your tax return online by 30 December 2014. If however, HMRC is unable to alter your tax code, you may still be required to file again by 31 January 2015.

Making a Payment

As with filing there are several payment deadlines throughout the year. The most common is 31 January 2015, on which you may need to make several different payments. The first being the balancing payment, this is the tax you owe for the previous tax year. If you made payments on account in the previous year, it is likely you have paid some of this tax. You may also have to make the first payment on account.  This will normally be 50 per cent of your previous tax bill; excluding student loan repayments and Capital Gains Tax.

The second payment deadline is 31 July 2015. On this date you will be required to make your second payment on account, which is normally the second 50 per cent of your previous tax bill.

Financial Penalties

Legally you have to meet the Self Assessment deadlines. If you fail, you will receive the following financial penalties:

  • 1 day late – A £100 penalty charge.
  • 3 months late – A £10 charge for each following day, up to a 90 days (maximum of £900).
  • 6 months late – A charge of £300 or  5 per cent of the tax due, whichever
  • is the higher.
  • 12 months late – A charge of £300 or 5 per cent of the  tax due, whichever is the higher. In serious cases, you may have to pay up to 100 per cent  of the tax due instead.

However, you may not have to pay a penalty if you have a supportive reason for missing the deadline. These could be:

  •  You have a life-threatening illness that has prevented you from completing your Self Assessment Tax return.
  •  You have experienced technical problems with the online service.
  •  Your documents have been lost in a fire, flood or theft.
  •  Your partner has died shortly before the deadline.

Should HMRC accept your reasoning for late filing, they may reduce or decide not to pursue the fine.

Need more help?

This feature on Business in Hastings aims to give some informal hints and tips.  Mcphersons are offering businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your meeting. Simply email Peter Watters p.watters@mcphersons.co.uk  or call our Head Office on 01424 730000 for a free consultation at mcphersons’ London, Bexhill or Hastings offices. www.mcphersons.co.uk