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Procrastinators must pay heed to Self Assessment deadline

Posted by simontoffel on January 25th, 2013

Among the many things that sole traders across the UK will spend their January doing, one of the most urgent for many of them will be completing and submitting their Self Assessment Tax Return. With a deadline of 31 January for the submission of returns relating to the most recently ended tax year, many firms will now be contacting Guildford accountants, like those of Sherwin Currid (http://www.sherwincurrid.com), for that vital late guidance.

However, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) continues to derive great financial benefit from the many such businesses that still contrive to miss the deadline. The present penalty system is a deliberately harsh one aimed at averting this issue, with £100 fines being imposed for late filing even if eventual payment is complete and accurate. This is followed, for those that continue to fail to pay over the following three months, by daily £10 fines running up to £900. The absence of payment six months after the deadline triggers an additional £300 or 5% penalty, depending on which is higher. Should a year pass, a further penalty of £300 - or 100% of the owed tax - is imposed.

For all of the technological changes that have taken place over the years relating to the Self Assessment process, the weakest part of the chain remains the simple fallibility of human beings. Procrastination ahead of the deadline remains widespread, even with the aforementioned penalties in place and a HMRC ‘find inner peace’ advertising campaign appealing to the sense of relief felt by taxpayers after getting such an important task done. Time and time again, our own tax accountants in Surrey find themselves being contacted in droves by sole traders who simply haven’t taken advantage of the great amount of notice given to them.

A small pilot is taking place this year of taxpayers being sent lost or forgotten email or password details by email instead of physical post. Developments like these, however, may only further will people into a false sense of security. It’s also worth remembering that HMRC will need to have been given your email address in the past for even this new feature to work. As always in life, there is simply no substitute for personal responsibility and thorough preparation.

If you are yet to complete your own Self Assessment Tax Return, then we would urge you to gather together and scrutinise the relevant paperwork without delay. There are queries that may arise now that you still have time to contact an informed tax accountant in Surrey about. Get in touch with Sherwin Currid (http://www.sherwincurrid.com) now if you are one of the many affected individuals who are still required to take action.

Editor’s Note: Sherwin Currid (http://sherwincurrid.com/) is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: louise@jumpingspidermedia.co.uk or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.