28 January 2021

Self-assessment tax teturns: the deadline is nearing

The deadline to complete and submit your self-assessment tax return, and pay any tax due, is always 31st January following the end of the tax year. For 2019-20 tax year, the deadline is 31st January 2021. Read our latest article below to ensure you don't get hit with a late submission penalty...

Submitting your self-assessment tax return

With what seems like such a long time to get the return completed and submitted, it can be tempting to leave it whilst more pressing matters are attended to and HMRC sees many returns submitted on deadline day, late, or not at all. Of course, any late or non-submitted returns attract a penalty and interest also accrues on a daily basis on any outstanding tax.

The penalties for late submission or payment of tax are as follows:

  • There is a £100 fixed penalty which is applied even if there is no tax due, or if the tax is paid on time but the return is late.
  • If the return has not been submitted after 3 months, then daily penalties of £10 in addition to the fixed penalty may be charged, with a maximum penalty of £900
  • If the return has not been submitted after 6 months, then HMRC imposes a further penalty of the greater of 5% of the tax due or £300.
  • If the return has not been submitted after 12 months, then another penalty of the greater of 5% of the tax due or £300 is imposed.
  • The additional penalties for paying late are 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, again at 6 months and also at 12 months

Is everyone required to submit a self-assessment tax return?

HMRC does not require everyone to complete a self-assessment tax return. Returns are filed to report income relating to self-employment, capital gains and income from property, amongst other things. Returns are categorised as ""expected"", where HMRC has written to a customer and asked them to complete a return, and ""unsolicited"", where a return has been completed voluntarily.

Unsolicited returns often occur due to one-off circumstances, for example, the sale of an investment property, where capital gains tax would be due. If an individual feels their PAYE income tax has been deducted incorrectly, they can complete a self-assessment to check the calculation and if a refund is due, this can often get to them more quickly through the automated self-assessment system than if they waited for the checks to be completed by HMRC.

In February 2020, HMRC reported that 10.4 million self-assessment tax returns, a record number, were filed online. 11.1 million returns were submitted on time, which was also a record, for the tax year 2018-2019. This number included expected and unsolicited returns. There were still plenty of returns coming in at the last minute, with 700,000 submitted on 31st January and 26,562 of those between 11:00pm and 11:59pm.

The busiest time on deadline day was between 4:00pm and 4:59pm when 56,969 returns were filed. Around 11.7 million returns were due on 31st January 2020, and 958,296 missed the deadline, so, the majority were submitted and paid on time, even if it was with minutes to spare!

At the end of December 2020, HMRC reported that more than 2,700 self-assessment tax returns were submitted on Christmas day. The peak time for submissions was between 2:00pm and 2:59pm, with over 200 customers hitting the submit button during this time. This demonstrates the benefit of digital taxes, being able to file returns at any time of the day or night even on Christmas day. For many hard-working business owners, Christmas day may be the only day they have taken off all year, so they completed this important task while the rest of the family was taking their post-turkey nap in front of the television!

Questions? We can help!

Get in touch with us, let us help you! Our team of tax experts can offer business advice and help you maximise your tax efficiency. Contact our Director, Nick Bonnello, today on 0115 964 8860 or email him at nickb@rwbca.co.uk tofind out how we can help you across all areas of your business.

The views provided in this article are for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article represents advice of any nature whatsoever. Accordingly, RWB CA Limited does not accept any liability or responsibility for the information contained in this article or any decision or other action that may be taken in reliance upon the information contained within it. RWB CA Limited accepts no responsibility for any errors of fact or opinion and assumes no obligation to provide you with any changes to its assumptions.