Now is the ideal time to complete your self assessment tax return
The summer has come to an end, the nights are drawing in and the children have gone back to school. There is always a lull in September and this provides a few quiet weeks before the hard work involved in getting ready for the festive period. So, if you need to complete a self assessment tax return for the 2011 tax year now is the ideal time to do this mundane, but necessary, task.
The taxman is now moving toward a paperless tax return system and gradually forcing all the taxpayers that are required to complete a self assessment returns to file their returns online, however it is still possible to complete a paper tax return and file it with the taxman, at least for the 2011 tax year. If you want to file a paper return for the 2011 tax year you are going to have to get motivated and act fast to ensure you meet the filing deadline. All paper prepared self assessment returns for the 2011 tax year must be filed with the taxman by midnight on the 31 October 2011.
Failure to meet the 31 October 2011 return filing deadline won’t result in a fine, but it does mean you will have to file your 2011 self assessment tax return online. Filing your 2011 tax return online is fine if you are computer literate and have an internet connection, but there are people who are unable to file their 2011 self assessment return online for a whole variety of reasons. If you fall in to this category you must either make sure you meet the 31 October filing deadline, or get an accountant to prepare your 2011 tax return and file it online for you, which is going to cost you.
If you are going to complete your 2011 self assessment tax return online you have plenty of time left as the online 2011 tax filing deadline is midnight on the 31 January 2012. Even though there is plenty of time left at the moment, time has a habit of ‘disappearing’ and the 2011 tax filing deadline will be here before we know it.
If you miss the 2011 self assessment tax online filing deadline you are going to get an automatic £100 penalty, which is payable regardless of how much additional income tax you have to pay. In days gone by any late filing tax penalty was restricted to the lesser of £100 or your income tax liability which means if you had no income tax liability you had no late filing penalty to pay. However, things have changed and this is no longer the case. It really isn’t worth getting a £100 penalty for filing your tax return late just because you ‘forgot’ to do your self assessment tax return, ‘mislaid’ your self assessment tax return or were simply ‘too lazy’ to do your self assessment tax return. As a result of the stricter tax penalties it is advisable to get your tax return for the 2011 year filed by the filing deadline.
So, the September lull provides the ideal time to sort out your 2011 income tax affairs and get your 2011 self assessment tax return filed with the taxman. Dealing with your 2011 tax affairs in September gives you the flexibility of how you want to file your tax return since you will meet the 31 October 2011 deadline if you want to file a paper self assessment tax return and you will definitely meet the 31 January 2012 online filing deadline if you decide to file your tax return online.
Many people are under the impression that their income tax liability will have to be paid over when their 2011 self assessment return is filed, however this is not the case. The 2011 income tax liability must be settled by the 31 January 2012 so you cannot use a lack of funds to settle your tax liability as an excuse not to file your 2011 return during the September lull. The taxman is more than happy to accept your 2011 tax return now and payment of the liability at some point in the future, which must be before the 31 January 2012.