Self-assessment tax return deadline looms

Adams Moore can help with self-assessment tax returns for individuals and sole traders.With the end of the month just days away and the self-assessment tax return deadline looming closer by the minute, any business owner who has not yet got prepared for this will need to have a very good reason for it, to avoid penalties. There will always be those who leave it close to the wire, but only a genuine reason will grant you some extra time from HMRC – albeit not a total reprieve.

The floods of December 2015 have given HMRC just cause to grant an extension, exonerating those filing late from any penalties, and even setting up a dedicated helpline for those businesses affected by the floods. Other reasonable excuses could be a failure in HMRC’s system preventing a tax return from being filed, a problem with a business’ computer system leading to a return being filed late or a situation arising such as bereavement or serious illness.

Each year brings a new flood of excuses that HMRC has recorded and shared, from businesses that have not filed their return and are thinking on their feet – some with hilarious results. It really is amazing what some people can think of!

Some of our favourites include:

  • Paperwork-loving rodents – a rat ate the accounts that were located in the shed!
  • Road-raging spouse – a husband ran over his wife’s laptop
  • When in Rome – a business owner had an argument with his wife and moved to Italy for five years

It’s quite remarkable that business owners think these excuses are not only feasible but would be believed! Our advice is to err on the side of caution and file the paperwork, on time. Last year, almost a million business owners didn’t manage to make the 31st January deadline, risking a minimum £100 fine.

It is also worth noting that if there is a genuine reason for not having filed a tax return, HMRC will require proof of the incident which has caused the delay, so it will need to be a provable situation.

Of course, business owners who work closely with their accountants to prepare accounts and provide necessary information on time will never need to worry! If any of our clients have any queries relating to their tax return, they should call our offices on 01827 54944.