Tax update: Benefits of filing your self-assessment tax return early

Gathering the information needed to file your annual self-assessment tax return can be stressful and time consuming. Many people find themselves putting off the inevitable until the last minute each year, with HMRC statistics showing that nearly 7% of all 2022/23 returns filed were submitted on the 31 January deadline day.

There are a number of benefits to beating the rush and filing your tax return early including:

  • If you have not filed a tax return before, it takes some time to register. The deadline for doing so is 5 October after the end of the tax year, in advance of the 31 January filing deadline.
  • It does not mean that you need to pay your tax liability sooner. The payment deadline of 31 January remains the same and you will have the benefit of knowing how much you owe sooner, giving more time to get your finances in order. If you are unable to settle your liability on time, you will have advance notice and can set up a time to pay arrangement with HMRC.
  • You will also find out sooner if you have paid too much tax to date and are due a refund. Although tax payments aren’t accelerated by filing early, refunds will start to be processed once filed. Although this process may take a few weeks, you will be in receipt of your refund much earlier.
  • You can avoid the chance of penalties by sending your information in, in plenty of time before the filing deadline, ensuring that your tax return is filed on time. Late filing penalties apply from the first day your tax return is submitted late, starting at £100 and increasing progressively as time passes.
  • It avoids any last minute stress — both for you as the client and us as the agent! If there are any issues or queries, it gives us plenty of time to work through and resolve these rather than being in a rush to sort it out before the deadline, leaving more chance of things going wrong and/or errors being made.

One reason clients often give us for not wanting to file earlier is that they do not want to give HMRC more time to enquire into their return. This is not the case, however, as the 12 month enquiry window starts from the date that you file your return rather than the deadline date. Furthermore, if you file late, HMRC will typically have a longer period to enquire as they have 12 months, plus some additional time up to the next quarter day (with quarter days being 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October).

Please get in touch with a member of our tax team if you have any queries about the tax return process or if you would like any assistance with filing your self-assessment tax return.

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