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HMRC will require a personal tax return from you, known as a Self Assessment, if certain income received was not taxed at source and you are paid the gross (before tax) amount of it. Wages and pensions usually have tax deducted before you are paid them and therefore no further tax is owed to HMRC, but if you are self-employed with income greater than £1,000 in the tax year, are a partner in a business partnership, receive income from a rental property, savings, investments, dividends or foreign sources then HMRC will usually require you to complete an annual return from 06 April to 05 April each tax year. Other less common reasons for triggering the need for a Self-Assessment can include the sale of assets and the need to pay Capital Gains Tax on them, and if you have any other unusual income throughout the year.
We can register you for Self Assessment and handle the production of your tax return using the latest HMRC-recognised software before sending it to you for approval and digitally submitting it to HMRC in good time before the January deadline.
What will happen if I don't make the 31 January deadline?
The UK tax year ends on 05 April and HMRC generously give you almost 10 months to compile your information and submit a Self Assessment tax return. An extension can sometimes be granted if you contact HMRC as soon as possible before the deadline to explain your circumstances and why you might need a little longer. If you miss the filing and payment deadline then automatic penalties are applied, which escalate severely if not paid. These can be appealed if you feel you have a reasonable excuse.
What counts as a reasonable excuse?
Believe it or not, HMRC are accepting of genuine circumstances that precluded you from submitting your Self Assessment by the 11:59pm 31 January deadline. Reasons such as an unplanned hospital stay, serious illness, death in the immediate family or a home flood or fire are usually considered reasonable excuses but of course, these will need to be backed up with evidence and it will still be down to HMRC’s discretion. At the opposite end of the spectrum, HMRC publish a humourous annual list of the most outlandish excuses for taxpayers not making the deadline such as ‘the dog ate my tax return, and all of the reminder letters’, ‘my tax return was on my yacht, which caught fire’, ‘I store my paperwork in the garden shed and it got eaten by rats’, and ‘my mother-in-law is a witch and she put a curse on me’.
How long does my tax refund take to process?
Upon submission of your Self Assessment, HMRC will usually send the refund to your nominated bank account within 2 weeks. If it is an unusually large refund or HMRC choose to conduct extra checks on your account then this can sometimes take a little longer. We are able to contact HMRC on your behalf using the dedicated accountants’ phone line to check the status of any refund.
When can I stop filing a Self Assessment?
Just because you no longer meet the criteria for filing a Self Assessment tax return doesn’t mean you should ignore the annual reminders to submit one. You can contact HMRC, or we can do this on your behalf, to explain why you think you should no longer be required to file a Self Assessment. If HMRC agree, you could be entitled to have any tax paid over to HMRC for that year refunded.
I've tried phoning HMRC, but the hold time is too long.
This is one of the most common frustrations we hear about HMRC. Accountants and authorised agents (someone authorised to act on your behalf) have access to dedicated HMRC phone lines which bypass the wait encountered by individuals. Once we have obtained authorised to act as your agent, we can contact HMRC and get immediate answers to any issues.