There’s less than a week to go before the self-assessment deadline for the 2022-2023 tax year. And as of Tuesday this week, 3.8 million people were yet to submit their tax return.

The deadline for completing an online tax return, and paying the tax owed, is 31 January 2024. So, if this job is still on your to-do list, you should get your skates on.

To ease your stress, read our 7 tips to help with your last-minute tax return…

1. Don’t panic

Try to stay calm and focus on what you need to do to complete this crucial task.

Get all your documents and information ready, so you don’t have to scramble around as you work your way through the form. You’ll need things like your unique taxpayer reference (UTR), National Insurance number, income records, etc.

2. Take care

When filling out your tax return, make sure you include all the necessary information and that it’s correct. One of the common triggers for an HMRC enquiry is missing or incorrect data, so take care when working through the document.

Instead of leaving something out, you can estimate the figures and tell HMRC the information is estimated. You have 12 months from the self-assessment deadline to update your return with the correct amounts. After amending your return, you’ll find out whether you owe more or less tax, and if there’s any interest.

3. Be patient if you have a tax adviser

This is an extremely busy time of year, and you won’t be their only client who has left their tax return to the last minute.

Remember, your tax adviser or accountant could be under as much pressure as you, so treat them with respect and don’t expect an immediate response to your queries.

4. Consider your options if money is tight

If you’re on a tight budget right now, consider whether you can reduce your ‘payment on account’.

Payments on account are payments towards your next year’s income tax. The amount you must pay is based on 50 per cent of your previous year’s tax bill. So, if you’re expecting to receive less income next year, can you reduce your payment on account now? But remember that if you under-estimate the payment on account due, you’ll pay interest on the underpayment.

5. Make sure you have the funds to pay the tax

If you don’t have the money, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible to see if you can put a Time to Pay (TTP) arrangement in place.

Extra charges apply if tax remains unpaid at the end of February, so it’s important to pay as soon as you can. And be aware that interest is also charged at a higher rate now.

6. Get in the habit of filing early

Many of us lead busy lives with seemingly endless demands on our time.

But if you get your tax return done and dusted early in the future, you’ll be able to sit back with your feet up this time next year. And your accountant (if you have one) will thank you for it!

So, put the dates in your diary now, and start the process as soon as you can.

7. Use an expert to take the pressure off

If you need help with your tax affairs, you can get support from a tax adviser or accountant. But bear in mind this is an extremely busy time of year for them. So, it’s worth booking their services early to avoid disappointment in the future.

Talk to our team on 07813 434195 or email: stephanie.churchill@churchilltaxation.co.uk

Steph Churchill

Stephanie Churchill

Managing director & co-owner of Churchill Taxation