ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
The end of January may seem like a long way off but it will come round quicker than you think. My advice would be to get your return done as early as possible. The earlier you start to do it, the more time you have to check that you have everything to complete it. As you may find for instance that you do not have all the interest statements of you need. HMRC won’t hesitate in fining you if there are mistakes in your tax return. The last thing anyone needs is a wholly avoidable fine from the tax man, especially after the expense of Christmas
—Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation, ACCA

The Christmas holidays may be just around the corner, but don’t let the season of goodwill cost you more than it should. Forgetting about your self-assessment tax return could leave you facing a fine from the tax man, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has warned today. 

HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) requires anyone completing a self-assessment online return to send their forms to them by the end of January. The January deadline for self-assessment has been in place for the last six years, in 2012 HMRC issued 850,000 fines for late and incorrect filing. 

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation said: 'The end of January may seem like a long way off but it will come round quicker than you think. My advice would be to get your return done as early as possible. The earlier you start to do it, the more time you have to check that you have everything to complete it. As you may find for instance that you do not have all the interest statements you need. HMRC won’t hesitate in fining you if there are mistakes in your tax return. The last thing anyone needs is a wholly avoidable fine from the tax man, especially after the expense of Christmas.

'For many people filing an online self-assessment return is a straightforward process but if you are unsure about the information you are submitting, seek the advice of a chartered certified accountant. The cost of a professional accountant will be less than any accumulated fine from HMRC. Don’t be one of the, almost, a million people caught out each year.'

If you miss the 31 January deadline you will be fined £100, regardless of whether you actually owe any tax. From then on, the fine will be £10 per day for the next 90 days. Meaning if you are three months late in filing and even if you owe no tax you will have a fine of £1,000.

  • More details about self-assessment, the deadline and penalties, and if you need the help of a professional qualified accountant, see the 'Related Links' section, left of this article.