If you haven't sorted out your Self Assessment tax return for 2015-16, you'd better get your skates on. HMRC's countdown timer's ticking ever closer to the 31st of January deadline. That means more and more people are risking a New Year full of fines and penalties.

Thousands have already filed their returns over the festive season, barely a month before time runs out.

  • Close to 2,000 Self Assessment tax returns were submitted on Christmas Day itself.
  • Both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day saw over three times as many returned submitted, with 6,200 people filing on each.
  • That's a total of 14,000 tax returns for HMRC to sort through in just 3 days!

There are 10 million people regularly using Self Assessment to handle their taxes, and far too many are leaving it to the last minute. Remember that it's not just the self-employed who have to file this way. In fact, almost anyone with more than one source of income will probably be expected to use the system.

For starters, that includes:

  • People with over £2,500 in untaxed income (from property rental, for instance).
  • Company Directors.
  • Anyone with untaxed savings or investment income over £10,000
  • Anyone with taxable income from abroad.

There are actually lots of reasons why you might need to file a tax return. If you get a demand for one from HMRC, never assume it's a mistake and never ever ignore it. If you don't understand why they're asking you for a return, talk to RIFT. If it's a mistake, we'll help sort it out. If it's not, we can do even more!

The fines for late filing start at £100 and just keep getting worse. The rise of the so-called “gig economy” means we're set to have a lot more people in the system, too. With so many people leaving it so late, even a slight technical hiccup can end with a painful penalty. You might be able to convince HMRC that your internet connection died at the last minute, but don't count on it. There are not many reasons that HMRC will accept as being valid for late filing.

As always, come to RIFT with any Self Assessment questions or problems  you have. We can walk you through the system, explain how to get the best out of it or even take care of the whole mess for you. If you're not sure if you need to submit self assessment then give us a call or drop us a private message through our Facebook page. It will only take us 2 minutes to confirm whether or not you need to file and it's better to have peace of mind.

Just call or email to get the UK's leading tax experts on the case. In the meantime, have a very happy, penalty-free New Year!