Filing your self-assessment by 28th February
Have you taken a sigh of relief and welcomed the news of no penalties for filing late? Are you one of the millions yet to file your self-assessment due to being adversely affected by coronavirus? If you are yet to file your self-assessment tax return for whatever reason, it may pay to read on.
Having your self-assessment up to date has aided the self-employed with claiming government schemes, and filing now may aid any further claims as and if they become available. GoSimpleTax look at filing your 19/20 tax return, the changes that have been made and what help there is for you.
HMRC recognised that there would be an increase in late filing of self-assessment tax returns due to the coronavirus pandemic and therefore updated their guidance to state that they would not be issuing fines for late self-assessment tax return submissions until 28th February 2021.
However, the deadline of 31st January remained for payments and any late payments will incur interest at 2.6%.
So, the deadline has been and gone, are you one of the 1.8 million people whose tax return is now late? Whilst there will be no late penalty for filing late until 28th February, GoSimpleTax suggest you complete your self-assessment to know your tax liability and at least pay what you owe as soon as you can. If this is not possible you should pay an estimated amount as soon as possible.
I have filed, but I am struggling to pay
If you cannot pay as your income has been affected by coronavirus you may be able to pay your self-assessment tax bill via a payment plan. HMRC have an online application for Time to Pay.
You can spread the cost of your latest self-assessment bill if:
- You owe £30,000 or less
- You do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC
- Your tax returns are up to day
- It is less than 60 days after the payment deadline
You can see if you are eligible and apply for a payment plan online, you do not need to phone HMRC.
If you cannot access the online service or are not eligible you should call HMRC at your earliest convenience to discuss your situation. The self-assessment payment helpline is 0300 200 3822.
Think ahead for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax
With MTD for income tax over the horizon, it is mandated for 2023, now is the time to begin converting to digital software. HMRC’s portal can be confusing - so now is the perfect time to switch.
Digital software allows you to calculate your tax liability in real time if you chose to use it from April 2021 and update your finances weekly, monthly or quarterly. You can be one step ahead, plan your finances and spend more time concentrating on your business.
GoSimpleTax would suggest submitting your 20/21 tax return on 6th April and then utilising software to stay up to date with your finances. By updating your tax return in real time you will always be one step ahead and with the uncertainty of the pandemic, it pays to be, as you are likely to be ready to claim any future help the government may offer.
To conclude, if you are one of the 1.8 million people yet to file or pay your 19/20 tax return, we advise you take action soon as possible. Whether you need to file your return, pay your tax bill or to seek help from HMRC through the Time to Pay, the sooner you do it the less onerous any ramifications will be.
Delaying is just putting off the inevitable – so seek help if you need it.
More on freelancer tax advice.