'Don't panic on tax returns'

ANYONE who is set to miss next week s October 31 self-assessment tax return deadline should not panic, but should be prepared to file online, say Huntingdon Chartered Accountants Haines Watts. The October 31 deadline is for paper filing so, after that da

ANYONE who is set to miss next week's October 31 self-assessment tax return deadline should not panic, but should be prepared to file online, say Huntingdon Chartered Accountants Haines Watts.

"The October 31 deadline is for paper filing so, after that date until January 31, the only option is to submit online," said Haines Watts's Simon Laskey. "And, although most people are now used to using online resources, it is still quite simple to make a mistake that would be accepted by the system.

"I have seen clients who have put their costs in twice so have overpaid tax as a result, others entering figures into boxes that they admit they didn't understand, some who don't make the claims they are entitled to because they want to be cautious, and some who claim everything regardless. There needs to be an educated mix."

Despite the opportunity to submit right up until midnight on January 31, Simon Laskey advises people to think much further ahead. "I have a client to whom I have been promising a bottle of Champagne for five years to bring his records in early, but he never does. It has become a standing joke and he sees the funny side as much as anyone. At least I have a nice chilled bottle ready for me when the rush dies down."


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Simon recommends that people file in the first quarter of the new tax year. "The online systems are quiet at this time and don't crash with the low volume of traffic.

"You also have until the following January to pay your tax and, as you know exactly what it is going to be well in advance, there are no surprises. With profits falling for a lot of people, if you pay on account, your July payment is also an accurate one and is not based on previous year's higher profits as a simple estimate."

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INFORMATION: Simon Laskey is on 01480 434609 or huntingdon@hwca.com

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