January 31st is quickly approaching, which only means one thing – those tax returns are due, whether you like it or not. You’ve just short of two weeks to finish the entire thing, so if you haven’t already, it’s about time you got on with it.
Whilst paper entries were expected back in October, those hoping for a little bit more time had somewhat of a lucky escape. In other words, for any slackers out there, there was ample opportunity to instead file it online, with an extended deadline given in January.
Getting three months extra is seemingly a perfect choice for the individuals who would prefer not to face it until the last conceivable minute. We hate to break it to you though – time’s up.
Whilst tax time is undoubtedly a stressful time, if you’re a freelancer of any kind, or self-employed, it’s imperative to have everything prepared and submitted by the end of January. This will avoid ridiculous, harsh punishments being doled out to you. As a result, it’s recommended you keep a close eye on your books throughout the year, so you can get it done efficiently.
If that sounds like too much of a headache? Get an accountant.
Keeping poor records stands out as the most widely recognised reason for failing to complete the tax return on time. To avoid problems, you should be keeping receipts for any (reasonable!) expenses, and of course, invoicing all your work properly. It’s also advisable to keep money aside for tax and National Insurance purposes – nobody wants nasty bills headed their way unexpectedly.
If you’re just one day late with this stuff, you’ll be slapped with a £100 fine. This only gets worse with time, meaning some people get bills of up to £1000. Fines can likewise be demanded for a scope of unlawful practices, for example, lying on an expense form, and actually wilfully distorting data.
Whilst the excuse of ignorance is cute, it’s not going to wash, and any instance of lack of caution and consideration will be punished. HMRC aren’t messing around.
Shockingly, these punishments don’t put everyone off. Whilst we don’t think it’d be funny to be in that situation, admittedly, some of the excuses people actually give are hilarious.
From the infographic above by AA Accountants, you can see just a fraction of the silly reasons that individuals gave for not handing in their returns on time. It’s tricky to accept that these individuals are genuine, let alone that they accepted their reasons would be fine and dandy.
There are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. Don’t be scared to death by yours, and just get it done.
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