If you can't pay your self-assessment bill to HMRC by January the 31st you should follow our advice and get...
Days to the HMRC deadline
The 31st January means different things to different people. For employees, it signifies the first payday of New Year and with it an end to the festive season’s fiscal drought.
For businesses, the self employed and those obliged to submit self assessment tax returns, it signifies a looming HMRC deadline for submitting tax returns and in many cases a panicked scramble for paperwork. Self assessment tax returns must be submitted by midnight on 31st January.
Self assessment tax return
As well as being obliged to file your tax return online by midnight on the 31st, you must also pay the tax you owe by the same deadline.
While it’s tempting to put things off until the very last minute and many people do stay up until midnight on the 31st doing just that (the HMRC website is extremely busy at this time) it’s much better and far less stressful to get the process out of the way well in advance of the deadline.
If you’re filling in your tax return for the first time, you’ll need to have registered for a user ID and pin. These are sent by post once you’ve registered, so if you don’t have one already, it may already be too late to meet the self assessment deadline. Even so, make sure you register for these anyway as there’s no other way to submit your return and fines increase the later you are with your submission.
Make sure you have all your paperwork to hand
Ideally, you’ll have all the necessary receipts, statements and forms neatly filed and easily accessible for when you’re filling in your return. If not, then it’s better to collect these and put them in order. There’s nothing worse than finding that you’re missing some documents and it being too late to contact anyone to get copies – assemble everything now while you still have time.
A sting in the tail for credit card users
If you had planned to spread the cost of your tax bill by paying with your credit card then be prepared for disappointment.
Earlier this month, a new law was introduced to make it illegal to charge consumers a fee for processing their payment by debit or credit card. HMRC’s response to this new rule was, from the 13th January, 2018, to stop accepting personal credit cards in payment for tax bills. (Personal debit cards and company credit cards will still be accepted).
Struggling? – HMRC are surprisingly approachable
If you’ve left things too late and you’re not going to be on time with either your return, your payment, or both, then it’s best to get in touch with HMRC and let them know. Fines are automatic and almost certainly won’t be waived, but if you get in touch with HMRC prior to the deadline to let them know you can’t meet it, it will go on the record that you did so. Additionally, you’re likely to feel better after having spoken to a (usually quite friendly) human being on the other end of the phone.
If your finances are a cause for concern and the impending tax deadline is giving you sleepless nights, don’t keep it to yourself. We’re experts at helping businesses and individuals in financial difficulty and offer a free consultation to see how we can help lift your financial burden.
Contact Lines Henry – we can help.