Don’t delay, sort your tax today

GEORGE HARDEY: 'File it quickly.'
GEORGE HARDEY: 'File it quickly.'

THE annoying problem of tax returns could linger in people’s minds over the festive period unless they sort it out now.

The message comes from experts at Hartlepool-based chartered accountants Waltons Clark Whitehill who urged people not to delay filing their returns.

The deadline for online returns is midnight on January 31, with penalties starting at £100 if this is missed by even one day.

Tax expert at Waltons Clark Whitehill, George Hardey, said: “We all want to be able to put our feet up and relax over the Christmas period, but if you have it at the back of your mind that you need to file your tax return, then it can be an annoyance.

“Additionally, once the New Year is here, with the return to work and normal life, the time can fly by and the January 31 deadline is upon you very quickly.

“Getting your tax return filed before Christmas not only gives the satisfaction of the job done, it also means you are never faced with the prospect of suddenly realising you have only a couple of days left to avoid a fine.”

The penalties for missing the tax return deadline grow as the gap between January 31 and the date it is filed increases.

At one day late, the fine starts at £100. At three months late, for each following day, there is an additional £10, up to a 90 day maximum of £900 on top of the £100 fixed penalty.

At six months, there is a fine of the higher of £300 or five per cent of the tax due, again on top of the earlier penalties.

A further six-month delay doubles the six-month fine and may, in serious cases, lead to a penalty equalling 100 per cent of the due tax.