If you have to complete an income tax return, it really is not too soon to start gathering together the information you need, advises Top 30 advisory firm, Bishop Fleming, who point out that people are already planning their Christmas parties.

The firm, which delivers accounting, tax, corporate restructuring and advisory services to businesses and private wealth advice to individuals, is currently asking clients for their information to prepare their 2018 returns.

Bishop Fleming Partner, Alison Oliver, points out that starting early by bringing together all the papers you need to fill in the return, means you can avoid the panic later on of having to track down various bits of information in the shadow of the approaching deadline.

Alison commented: “The filing deadline is just over five months away for paper returns or eight months if filing online. And whilst some information may yet be missing, such as forms P60 and P11D, other documents should have been received.”

The Bishop Fleming partner also points out that as well as a more relaxed Christmas period where the return has been done, taxpayers can also avoid financial penalties.

Alison explained: “Where a return is not filed on time, there is an automatic £100 penalty. This is followed by penalties of £10 per day for up to 90 days where the return is three months late – that’s £1,000 in total on top of any tax owed. At least a further £300 penalty can follow on after that.”

She added: “These automatic penalties take no account of the amount of tax an individual owes.  Even if nothing is owed or a refund is due, the penalties still apply.”

The Bishop Fleming Partner said there were possible ‘get out of jail’ cards where an individual believes they do not need to be in self-assessment, but they will need to ask the tax office to withdraw the notice to file a return. There can also be some reasonable excuses for late filing, but these are limited and can rely on the discretion of the tax office.

Alison added: “If you haven’t registered for self-assessment and you need to, there are deadlines for registering which if not met could create further financial penalties for an individual. If in doubt about whether you need to register, speak to a tax adviser.”


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