A mum, dad and child hold hands as they walk along a beach

Taxing times – are you prepared?

How did you spend your Christmas Day? Eating too much and falling asleep in front of the TV? Playing charades or assembling the children’s toys? 1773 people may have taken part in these activities, but they also spent part of the day completing and submitting their Tax Return. Perhaps not the ideal task to undertake after too many Christmas sherries, but at least they will have been well within the online Tax Return deadline of midnight on 31 January.

If you complete a paper Tax Return then sadly your deadline passed before you even started the Christmas shopping as these returns had to be with the tax man by 31st October. You still have time to get your return in online, although you do have to register to use online Self Assessment services with HMRC before being able to start.

You should take careful note of the deadline if you are male, aged 18-20 and living in London as HMRC statistics show that this group is the most likely to fail to file their return on time. And don’t forget that, even if HMRC haven’t asked you to send in a return, if you have income or capital gains that are liable to tax then you should notify the tax man so a return can be requested from you. If you fail to submit a return on time once requested then you will have to pay a £100 penalty (which increases the longer you fail to comply).

Once you have sent in your return make a note too to pay any tax that may be due by 31stJanuary as otherwise you will find yourself liable to a surcharge (interest) on the amount due.

The earlier you start the less fraught the process is so make a diary note for this year to begin thinking about your return before you take your Summer holiday, but perhaps set the laptop aside whilst sipping cocktails by the pool…