Tax return. Bah humbug
The mere thought of a looming tax return in the run up to the festive season can put a dampener on the Christmas spirit of even the most cheerful. With the deadline for filing paper returns now passed, the only remaining option is to file returns using HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on-line system.
Anyone who has received a taxable income that isn’t covered by PAYE in the year to 5 April 2015 needs to complete an online self assessment by 31 January 2016. And it pays to be prepared: late returns face hefty fines of £100, plus £10 a day up to a 90 day maximum of £900. So, making the time to get your self-assessment underway now will ensure that you are in for a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year!
Here is some helpful guidance to ensure you are on the right track.
The sooner the better
If we are doing your self-assessment tax return for you and you haven’t yet sent us your information, there’s no time like the present! Allowing some time for your tax return to be prepared gives us the best chance of being able to make the most of tax saving opportunities.
Reminder from HMRC
HMRC will start sending out statements to confirm tax payments and their due date from around mid-December. If we prepared your return, the Tax Payment Schedule we sent with your completed tax return should show the same information, so please contact us if there are any differences or anomalies.
First payment of tax due by 31 January 2016
If your tax return has already been completed, you should receive a payslip advising you of the amount of the tax that is due on 31 January 2016.
HMRC will charge interest daily on any amounts which remain unpaid by the due date. Surcharges will also be payable starting at 5% on any balancing payment remaining unpaid at 28 February 2016. If you are going to have difficulty in meeting the due date, please contact us to discuss how we can help.
Our ways to pay fact sheet will help make it easy to settle your tax account.
Do you have to make an additional payment on 31 July 2016?
There may be a further payment on account for 2015/16 due on 31 July 2016. If we complete your tax return for the year to 5 April 2015, we will advise if this is relevant for you and the amount of any payment. You should also receive a reminder from HMRC in June or July, but remember, if you have a payment to make, this is due whether or not you receive the reminder.
Reductions in payments on account
If you have payments on account due, the payments for 2015/16 have been based on your total income received in 2014/15. If your total income in 2015/16 is likely to be less than in 2014/15 it is possible to have your payments reduced. However, if the payments you make turn out to be too low, HMRC will charge interest (currently at 3%) on any under payment.
If your primary source of income is employment or private pension and you want any balance due for 2014/15 to be collected by adjustment to your PAYE code, rather than paying a lump sum, your tax return must be filed by 30 December 2015. Only amounts due of less than £3,000 can be collected through the PAYE code. However, HMRC cannot collect it by adjusting your PAYE code if:
- you don’t have enough PAYE income for HMRC to collect it
- you’d pay more than 50% of your PAYE income in tax
- you’d end up paying more than twice as much tax as you normally do