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When you do your first tax return, getting Self Assessment help is vital. The world of tax can be very complicated, especially if you’re new to it.
Since 2015, the number of fines for tax returns being filed late has risen every year for three years. For tax returns filed more than 30 days late, HMRC fined 283,000 people; in 2016, HMRC fined 291,000 people; in 2017, HMRC fined 331,000 people.
And what with the financial strain that the pandemic has caused, it seems likely that these numbers will continue to rise.
First of all, preparation is key. The more you know about the penalties that you might be liable to pay, the less likely it is that you’ll end up in a situation of having to pay them.
Otherwise, there are three things to bear in mind:
This is what you’ll be charged for being late on any of the above, not including interest (which currently sits at 6.5%):
Although this probably looks daunting, keep in mind that if you have a reasonable excuse for not paying your tax return on time, HMRC will be lenient. But your excuse needs to be reasonable – take a look at a few excuses that HMRC will not accept…
Let’s start with the basics. What is your Self Assessment?
It’s the way that you declare your untaxed income to HMRC. Just head over to HMRC and fill in a few details about your income. And this includes everything:
And this must be done by 5th October of the same year the tax year ends. If you work during the 2023/24 tax year, it ends on 5th April 2024 – and you must register for Self Assessment by 5th October 2024 and pay by 31st January 2025.
After doing your Self Assessment, you’ll be sent what’s known as a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. You’ll then use this information to pay your tax bill. Some businesses (especially those in the financial space) will ask you for it before you’re able to work with them.
There are a few options:
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