As far as possible, it’s better that your money is in your pocket rather than paying excessively to HMRC - so try to get your Tax Return submitted in time!
The annual HM Revenue & Customs Self-Assessment deadline, for online completion of your Tax Return, is midnight on 31 January. You’ll need to make sure that you have your online registration details in good time, so it’s worth checking that you have these now, as you still have time to apply for these to be sent to you by post. If you haven’t done it before, you’ll need to register for access to HMRC’s online services and you’ll need to do this by 21 January – another important deadline to bear in mind.
If your expenses and financial affairs are more complicated, you could employ an affordable accountancy firm to do it for you. Fairman Davis in Hammersmith could help as they provide comprehensive taxation, and other financial, services within their portfolio.
Try to avoid potential penalties by submitting your return in good time, and bear in mind that the website is likely to be extremely busy on 31 January. Also try to avoid the last day, and definitely avoid the eleventh hour! On 31 January 2011, 572,000 (of a total of 6.9 million) Tax Returns were filed online and almost 50,000 of these were filed in the hour from 4pm to 5pm, which is very close.
Penalties for missing the deadline, and late payments, are going to be steep this year. If you submit a day late, even if you don’t owe any tax at this point, you’ll be fined £100. The fees escalate, and compound, if those are not paid: thereafter and if up to 3 months pass before settlement, HMRC will fine you £10 per day (up to a maximum of 90 days, or £900) in addition to the £100; for 3 to 6 months’ delay, they will expect 5% of the sum owed (or £500, whichever is greater); at 6 months, 5% of that increased sum with the penalties, and so on for 12 months elapse. Don't get caught out!