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Tax Return Tips

The 2018/19 self-assessment tax return must be filed online by midnight on 31 January 2020 if a late filing penalty is to be avoided. What can you do to help ensure this deadline is not missed?

Help us to help you

The tax return season is a very busy time for accountants and tax advisers. With the best will in the world, there is a limit to the number of tax returns that can be filed on 31 January. To ensure that your tax return is filed on time, it is prudent to help us to help you.

  • Check what date your accountant needs tax information from you in order to meet the filing deadline, and make sure that you provide the information by that date.
  • Collect together all the relevant paperwork and make sure that nothing is missing. This will include your P60 and P11D, dividend vouchers, bank statements, details of trading income and expenses, details of rental income and expenses, details of sales of capital assets and associated expenses, and details of pension contribution and charitable donations.
  • Make sure your paperwork is organised and easy to follow, whether supplied digitally or in hard copy format.
  • Keep copies of the information supplied to your accountant.
  • Advise your accountant of any changes in your personal circumstances – such as change of address, whether you have got married or divorced etc.
  • Deal with any queries promptly.
  • Pay any tax due on time.

What are the penalties for late returns?

A late filing penalty is charged if the self-assessment tax return is filed late. The normal deadline for filing the 2018/19 tax return online is midnight on 31 January 2020. A later deadline applies if the notice to file a return was issued after 31 October 2019 – this is three months from the date of the notice.

Returns must be filed by 30 December 2019 if you want an underpayment (available for underpayments of up to £3,000) to be collected through PAYE via an adjustment to your tax code. Paper returns had to be filed by 31 October 2019 (or three months from the date of the notice to file where this was issued after 31 July 2019) to avoid a penalty – however, if this deadline was missed, a penalty can be avoided by filing online by 31 January 2020.

Returns filed late attract a late filing penalty of £100. This is charged even if there is no tax to pay or the tax is paid on time. Further penalties are charged if your return has not been filed three months after the due date – from that point daily penalties of £10 per day start to accrue for a maximum of 90 days (£900). At the six month and 12-month point, additional penalties set at the higher of 5% of the tax due and £300 are charged.

Penalties are also charged if tax is paid late, in addition to any interest that may accrue. The trigger dates are 30 days late, six months late and 12 months late. At each date, the penalty is 5% of the tax outstanding at the trigger date.