The benefits of submitting your ‘elf’-assessment tax return before Christmas

The tax return final submission date of 31 January 2020 is a deadline, not a target - and it's the last day for paying 2018/19 tax liabilities without incurring late payment interest charges. So why not get your tax return out of the way before Christmas this year?

Not everyone has to submit a self-assessment tax return, but if HMRC asked you for a tax return, you will be fined if you forget. Also remember, it is up to you to tell HMRC if you have a new source of income or have made capital gains, for example on selling shares or property.

If you are already in the self-assessment system you should act now if your tax return has not yet been submitted. Those tax papers cannot lie in a cupboard indefinitely and may be more difficult to find again come January.

The benefits of submitting your return early

Sorting out your tax affairs now will make you feel better over Christmas. A surprisingly high number of people submit their tax returns online on Christmas Day, but do you really want to be one of them?

There are very good financial reasons for doing your tax return early too:

  • Employees submitting tax returns before 31 December can have their liabilities coded out over the following year so need not pay up on 31 January.
  • You know what tax you have to pay on 31 January and can plan accordingly.
  • Complex issues take time and expertise, whether calculating a pension annual allowance tax charge or reviewing if a profit is income or capital in nature.
  • January is the busiest month for tax professionals – spare a thought for the long-suffering personal tax team burning the midnight oil in the office!

Need a hand?

If you have any queries or need help completing your tax return, get in touch with one of our personal tax experts.