The tax filing countdown has started in the UK – and soon taxpayers will find it’s too late to avoid automatic fines if they ignore the deadlines.
HM Revenue & Customs is expecting 11.7 million tax returns to arrive before the midnight deadline on January 31 – most filed online.
But tax experts are warning first-time filers that they can only access the self-assessment online system if they have the right tax references and passwords.
Although applying for a unique tax reference (UTR) is easy online, the document can take up to three weeks to arrive in the post, especially for expats overseas.
Missing the deadline because a UTR was late is not a reasonable excuse for late filing and automatically clocks up a £100 fine, says Victoria Todd, head of Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG).
“There is time to avoid a penalty if you are one of the millions of people yet to complete and submit a tax return online for 2018/19. If you have not yet registered for online filing this process can take a few weeks so you will need to act now. HMRC urge anyone who is expecting to find it difficult to pay their tax to get in touch with them as soon as possible,” said Todd.
Deadline already passed
“You may have started your tax return but are stuck with the tax treatment of a particular expense. Or you may be unsure if parts are correct or even if you still need to file a tax return.
“You should double-check that you have correctly submitted your return online once you have fully completed it. You may complete your tax return and print off a draft return and tax calculation but not realise that you also need to submit the return as the last step of the online process. You should get a submission receipt from HMRC once the process is completed if you have used HMRC’s online filing system correctly.”
Expats should also be aware that the deadline for filing a paper tax return passed on October 31