Have you done your tax return yet?
If you haven’t, you are not alone- almost half a million people finally sent in their tax return online on the peak filing day at the end of January last year. With 10.6 million people having been sent a return this year, and with online filing figures last year coming close to 80%, that’s a lot of online returns winging their way towards HMRC right now.
Of course, online filing is not compulsory- you could still complete a paper return if you filed before 31 October- but the UK people do seem to have embraced the online revolution. One huge advantage is that if you are due a repayment of tax, sums can be credited to your bank account within days of filing online. HMRC have also been urging people to get ‘inner peace’ by filing their return as soon as possible. Because agreeing to pay lots of money to the Government often soothes wearied souls.
And it seems to have worked. 1,548 people filed online on Christmas Day and 4,685 on Boxing Day, and increase of 40% and 33% on previous years. A massive 14,330 people filed online on Christmas Eve- a 248% increase. Perhaps there weren’t so many presents to wrap this year.
But what if you haven’t filed online yet? If you still have your HMRC username and password you can simply log on and file it, remembering of course that the submission system might be a little busy at this time of year, so don’t try sending at 11.59pm.
If you haven’t got these details, you can try calling HMRC, but given they take up to 7 days to arrive, you may not get them in time to miss the £100 penalty. Alternatively you can try and find a friendly accountant or tax adviser, who may be able to file electronically on your behalf. For a fee, of course.
If you do end up being late, you will get a £100 penalty (unless you had no need to complete a return) even if you do not owe any tax. Continued failure to submit can result in daily penalties of £10 after 3 months of non-compliance.
Any tax due also needs to be paid by 31 January to avoid interest charges, and although HMRC accept ‘faster payments’, if your bank does not, you need to send the money today to avoid being late. Amounts outstanding at 28 February will attract a 5% surcharge.
And won’t you feel so much better after you’ve done it?