If We Haven’t Received Your Self Assessment Paperwork - We Could Turn Violent!
We’d like to state here and now, for the record, that normally we are a cool, calm, kind and highly civilised group of people, in fact, thoroughly well Balanced. However, we must confess that even we can become a little frayed round the edges as Christmas and the New Year appear on our horizon.
Please don’t misunderstand, we love Christmas-time as much as the next person, it’s even been known for a rousing chorus of Fairytale of New York to ring out from our office as we move through December. But whilst we’re relishing the odd box of chocolates and possibly, a small, celebratory sherry after work, we’re also acutely aware that once we’ve all finished having fun, January 31st is lurking just round the corner. And if there’s one thing January 31st doesn’t care about, it’s the stresses and strains it puts on everyone who has to toe the necessary line.
We know it’s coming, you know it’s coming, yet every year there are those who put their hands over their eyes, their fingers in their ears, sing la la la loudly to themselves and pretend if they can’t see the deadline, the deadline can’t see them. May we suggest though that this year you save yourself stress (and money) by planning ahead, and if not exactly welcoming the deadline with open arms, at least not trying to slam the door in its face.
When you plan ahead we’re able to forecast what your tax bill will be. You then won’t have any surprises and will have been able to decide where that money is coming from. Being proactive instead of reactive is so much easier on the nerves (yours and ours) so why would you not work that way?
Your bookkeeper and accountant aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to submit your paperwork – they’re dealing with a lot of other clients – who may also be late. So if you’re relying on always being reminded by someone else, don’t. You could slip through the net. The other aspect of late submission is that making someone work late into the night to try and make up lost time and beat the deadline, isn’t ideal for a warm relationship and it should be noted, there are some accountants who penalise later submitters and charge extra for doing things at the last minute.
There really is no downside to forward planning and submission because no matter how early you submit your tax return, you still don't pay what’s due until January. In addition, should it be the case that you have previously underpaid, you can get your tax code changed so you can repay over the year rather than in one lump sum. Not planning ahead on the other hand means that if the 31st January deadline is missed you will immediately be fined £100.00 by HMRC who aren’t well known for either their kindness, nor their patience!