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Plumbers, doctors, hairdressers, graphic designers and copywriters – anyone who is self-employed, in fact, should be aware of the importance of January 31, 2020.

That’s the date when online income tax returns for the year 2018/19 must be filed by. Failure to do so means a fine of £100 – even if you’re just one day late.

Those who pay three months late are fined an additional £10 a day (capped at 90 days).

As the months go on and the return doesn’t appear, HMRC will keep adding on the charges. So, it makes sense to file within the deadline.

The only reasons HMRC accept for not filing in time is down to unavoidable and personal circumstances such as the death of a family member or close friend, unexpectedly ending up in hospital for a lengthy period, or a fire/flood in your home or business premises.

Meanwhile, the exception to the January 31 deadline is those who opted to send in a paper return, and which was due at the end of October, 2019.

If you’ve never filed a tax return before then contact HMRC and register for Self-Assessment today.

You are too late to file a paper return but it’s still possible to pay online.

If you used to pay tax but quit your business last year, or took a year out, you still need to file a tax return as HMRC will be expecting one. You should also write to let them know.

Help with form filling

The HMRC form itself – whether on paper or online – can be rather daunting if this is your first time. Not only that, but the online filing system itself can be confusing, with its multitude of choices and passwords.

The good news is that there is help in the form of tax advisors and an IT team – both of whom can be contacted via telephone.

The bad news is, you can find yourself hanging on the line for quite a time (10 minutes isn’t unusual). For this reason alone – never mind the stress – don’t leave filing your online return to the last minute.

Incidentally, an inability to understand the online system is not regarded by HMRC as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for not filing your tax return in time.

Changes to your persona or tax status

Another reason for contacting HMRC is if you happen to change the name of your company or your own name (by getting married, for instance).

If you have a business partner and he or she ends up going bankrupt or dies, then you also need to contact your local tax office to update then on your new circumstances and that of the business.

Probably the most common reason to get in touch with the tax office is if the legal structure of your company alters. That could be someone who initially registers for self-assessment altering their status to a limited company, or going in to partnership.

At this point it’s necessary to hire an accountant as you will start to pay Corporation Tax instead of Income Tax and the paperwork becomes much more complicated.

Thinking about altering the legal status of your company or just need help with your 2018/19 tax return? Then why not call us today for advice and/or assistance. Tel: 0203 151 9002 or email us via our website accountantseastlondon.com

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