Accountancy body warns to complete self-assessment tax return early

Last year, there were 823,000 tax returns submitted on the final two days of January, and the accountancy body ICAEW has issued a warning to start early.

The 30 and 31 January were the two busiest days, as people rushed to beat the midnight deadline at the end of the month. Meanwhile the busiest hour was on 29 January, when 50,358 people filed their online self-assessment tax return.

If you fail to submit your assessment before 01 February, you will receive an initial £100 fixed penalty, regardless of whether any tax is due, or if you paid any tax due on time.

The penalty rises three months later, on 01 May, with the amount you are charged being dependent on the amount of tax owed. It can rise up to a maximum of £900, so it is strongly advised that you file your self-assessment tax return early to avoid receiving this hefty fine.

“Don’t forget, if you are submitting your return online for the first time, you have to register and that takes time,” said Anita Monteith, Technical Tax Manager at ICAEW.

“You will need your 10-digit unique taxpayer reference number (UTR) which you can typically find on HMRC letters. When you enrol, you will be sent an activation code in the post, which could take up to seven days to arrive.

“This means you need to register as soon as possible to ensure the activation code arrives in time, ahead of the 31st January deadline.”