We’re at the end of 2017 already. Christmas is less than a week away. New Year, a week after, and most importantly, the HMRC self assessment tax submission deadline is looming fast. But this tax filing season brings with it a raft of changes that you will have to consider before hitting the “File Tax Return” button on the HMRC online portal. Do not fret! We’ve done all the hard work for you – here is your Liberty Bishop HMRC Self Assessment tax roundup 2017!
It seems a very long time indeed since Alec Guinness, in the guise of Hector the Tax Inspector, encouraged us to complete our self-assessments. Since 1995, a lot has changed. Online submissions are now favoured by the taxman and are growing in popularity and gaining momentum with tax payers. However, with so much to consider, know and understand to avoid penalties, online self-assessment submission can be a confusing business.
How you pay your tax return is about to change – no more credit card payments from the 13th January. With just weeks to go until the deadline hits, HMRC have announced they will no longer accept personal credit card payments to clear the balance of a personal tax bill, but they will still accept payment via a company credit card. The change is a result of the amendments to rules governing credit card surcharges – they are to be scrapped in January – in 2015/16, HMRC collected £13.2 million in credit card fees. This will have a huge impact on many (positive and negative) – for a little perspective, 800,000 people paid their tax bill by credit card in 2015/16. In the previous tax year, 423,347 people cleared their tax liabilities with a credit card, and this year, the number was expected to be higher still.
Fines will no longer be automatic, rather, they are to become point-based. HMRC have decided that, should you file your returns a day or two late, and this isn’t a bad habit you’ve formed (i.e. you don’t submit late every year), you will be excused the standard £100 fine. It was mentioned in the Chancellor’s budget and could easily have been missed (if you weren’t paying attention):
“The government will reform the penalty system for late or missing tax returns, adopting a new points-based approach.”
For the 840,000 people who filed a later return and were hit with a penalty, this will be welcome news. We should point out that at this time, there has been no announcement regarding the date for introducing the points-based system.
Completing and filing your tax return is not a simple process, if it were, accountants across the UK would most likely take January off. But they don’t, because their skill and expertise is needed by millions of people to ensure a smooth, hassle-free, penalty-exempt tax filing. Tick tock. Time is running out and you still have so much to do before you even think about completing your self-assessment tax return. Stop wasting time, cut the stress and pick up the phone to Liberty Bishop today.