Why should you file your self-assessment return before Christmas?

Dec 5, 2023

With the days getting shorter and Christmas just around the corner, tax may be the last thing on your mind. But while it may be tempting to forget about your self-assessment tax return until the new year, leaving your obligations until the last minute can put a dampener on your celebrations.

Still not convinced? Here’s why you should get your self-assessment tax out of the way before 2024.

Give yourself peace of mind

While the festive season isn’t always the most relaxing, it’s a lot harder to put your feet up if you have a deadline hanging over you. So why not give yourself the gift of peace of mind?

Filing your self-assessment tax return early gives you one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on spending time with family and digging into your Christmas dinner.

Stay on HMRC’s nice list

In an ideal world, your self-assessment return would take five minutes out of your day, but just getting the right paperwork together can be a time-consuming process. If you want to stay on HMRC’s nice list, you’ll need to leave yourself enough time to gather the necessary information.

Put off your tax obligations for too long, and a lump of coal in your stocking will be the least of your problems. If you miss the 31 January self-assessment deadline, HMRC will issue an automatic £100 late-filing penalty. Wait even longer, and you’ll need to pay interest on the outstanding balance, along with further daily penalties of up to £900.

Checking it twice

You should always give yourself plenty of time to double-check your calculations. If you only submit your self-assessment in the nick of time, rushing through the task can make it harder to catch mistakes and maximise your expense claims.

Calculating your liabilities before the new year means you’ll have plenty of time to get your return right. That way, you’ll stay compliant while ensuring you don’t pay more tax than you should.

Step up your budget game

With presents to buy, cards to send and family to entertain, the Christmas period isn’t exactly cheap, which is why cashflow management is especially important this time of year.

The good news is you don’t need to pay your income tax bill on the same day you file your return, so working out your liabilities early can give you more time to budget and put money aside before the filing deadline. That way, you’ll avoid any nasty surprises in January.

Quicker tax refunds

If you’re owed a tax refund, HMRC will let you know when you file your self-assessment return. While you might not receive your refund straight away, submitting your return early can certainly speed up the process.

Avoid the seasonal rush

Much like your local supermarket on Christmas Eve, HMRC helplines are often slammed in the weeks before the self-assessment deadline. If you want to discuss your case with the tax authority, it’s best to get a headstart on your return now.

This can also give your accountant more time to maximise savings on your income tax bill. With a solid tax-efficient strategy on your side, you’ll have more money to spend or save over the holidays.

How can we help?

Don’t let the self-assessment deadline dampen your Christmas spirit. Making a start on your return isn’t just a practical decision; it’s a gift to your future self.

But with so many other responsibilities on your plate, finding the time to go through the self-assessment process can be easier said than done. So why not bring in a professional?

At JTP, we take the stress out of self-assessment season. With years of experience helping clients manage their tax affairs, we’re experts at keeping you compliant and minimising your liabilities.

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call to find out how we can help.

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