9 reasons to submit your self-assessment tax return early

Sam Burston

Sam Burston

Management Accountant

9 reasons to submit your self-assessment tax return early

Are you putting off filing your tax return? Is it something you’d rather worry about next year? 31st January is ages off!

Getting your tax return submitted early could bring you several benefits. We look at 9 reasons why we think getting your tax return prepared and submitted early is a great idea.

1. Avoid a penalty

Tax returns usually need to be submitted by the 31st January each year. Submitting after this date will cause penalties which can be avoided, unless you have a reasonable excuse.

Although nobody plans to leave their tax return until after the deadline, should anything out of your control happen in January, this could cause a late return.

2. Ease the stress of submitting your tax return

It feels great to get it done, so don’t spend the Christmas period worrying about it. Submitting early gives you peace of mind, and you can look forward knowing you don’t have to be involved in the January tax return rush.

3. Got a payment to make? This doesn’t need to be made until 31st January.

Some people wrongly believe that submitting a tax return early means that the payment will also need to be made early. This is incorrect. Any tax payable in the 2018/19 tax return will need to be paid on the 31st January regardless of when the tax return is submitted.

Submitting your tax return early gives you the added benefit of being able to manage any payment due.

4. Do you owe less than £3,000.00?

If you owe less than £3,000.00 in tax, there is an option to have this tax collected through an adjustment to your tax code.

This means any tax owing would be collected from your monthly salary over 12 months. This is effectively an interest free loan from HMRC. However, you must file your return before 31 December and elect to pay this way.

5. Are you expecting a tax refund?

Are you expecting a tax refund? The sooner you submit your tax return the sooner you are likely to receive the refund. Submitting towards the end of January could mean it gets caught up in a back log, leaving you waiting longer for the money you’re owed back.

6. Avoid rushing to avoid mistakes

Avoid rushing your tax return through on the evening of the 31st. This could cause mistakes as you haven’t double checked any calculations prior to submitting. Preparing your tax return now gives you plenty of time to look through and ensure you haven’t missed anything off.

As part of your 31st January payment, you also need to make a payment on account towards the 2019/20 liability, and you can reduce this payment if you need to. Doing this last minute can cause real headaches.

Also leaving filing until the last minute could mean not being able to get important information, such as dividend certificates and bank interest details, before the deadline. Preparing early gives you time to request any missing information well in advance.

7. Need to contact HMRC?

Do you need to discuss anything with HMRC prior to being able to submit your tax return? Ringing them now will help you beat the rush and avoid the long phone queues that come with calling HMRC in January.

8. Do you need the information for anything else?

Are you self-employed and looking at getting a mortgage or a loan? You are likely to be asked for proof of your income, usually in the form of an SA302. Your SA302 is available from HMRC once you have submitted your tax return.

Submitting your tax return as soon as possible will mean you can access your latest SA302 sooner and provide the mortgage or loan providers with more recent, up to date figures.

9. You might get a discount

Your accountant might offer you a discount if you file your tax return early when they aren’t too busy. You’ve probably missed it this year but next year you should ask.

How can we help?

BPR Heaton’s tax team can make filling your return painless. We are also pretty good at planning your taxes. If you need any help this tax return season, feel free to speak to us.

Making sure that you prepare for and minimise any tax liabilities is a part of our tax team’s strength.

We can help you with preparation of your personal tax return and can advise on any personal tax liabilities.

For further information please email us at info@bprheaton.co.uk or call 0113 257 4506 and ask for our tax department.

Sam Burston

Management Accountant at BPR Heaton