Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

HMRC: Paper self-assessment tax return deadline is today – what happens if you miss it? | Personal Finance | Finance

The deadline for submitting a self-assessment paper tax return is midnight tonight, on October 31. So, while others may be marking Halloween, some will need to take heed of the deadline in order to avoid missing filing the paper return in time and be slapped with a penalty. Ahead of the deadline, Zena Hanks, partner at Saffery Champness, has shared some expertise on the matter.

Ms Hanks said of the deadline: “While all eyes are firmly trained on Westminster it’s easy to forget that the world does carry on, and people may get a fright this Halloween if they suddenly realise they’ve missed HMRC’s paper tax return deadline.

“There are many reasons why paper tax returns are still being used, including that some taxpayers simply don’t want to use the online system or are unable to due to issues such as access to a computer and the internet.

“However, a key issue is that, because of the complexities of the tax system, in certain circumstances and for some individuals with particularly complex affairs, HMRC’s online systems can’t always calculate the tax liability correctly.

“To get around this a paper tax return needs to be filed.”

READ MORE: Tax: HMRC issues worrying phone call scam warning – how to spot bogus communication

What happens if the tax return deadline is missed?

Ms Hanks explained: “If the paper return is filed with HMRC after the 31 October paper filing deadline, a reasonable excuse form needs to be submitted to stop unnecessary late filing penalties being levied.”

The government website says that a person gets a penalty of £100 if their tax return is up to three months late.

Should it be any later, or if they pay their tax bill later, they would have to pay more. Interest will also be charged on late payments.

Ms Hanks continued: “HMRC ‘s ambition is to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world.


“For those who do use HMRC’s online system we are starting to see a small amount of pre-populated information landing in the taxpayer’s self-assessment record; information such as employment income and state pension income.

“As HMRC’s systems become more sophisticated no doubt we will see more of the information that is already being fed directly into HMRC in turn being pre-populated against the tax payer’s self-assessment records – and this will hopefully help to streamline the tax return process for taxpayers.

“However, before we see the final demise of the paper tax return much will have to be done to overcome the increasingly complex tax system and the plethora of calculations needed to calculate a tax liability where there are particular taxpayer complexities.”

Jamie Morrison, Head of Private Client at HW Fisher, has also shared some insight into paper self-assessments.

He said: “More and more people are filing their tax returns online, however those who are filing paper tax returns, must remember to submit three months early, on 31st October.

“It is always worth finding all the relevant paperwork at least a few days before, to avoid dealing with any last-minute skeletons.”

He added: “Anyone who has become self-employed, received high levels of investment income, or has capital gains tax to pay must complete a self-assessment return.

“However, this list is by no means exhaustive; if you aren’t sure whether you need to complete one, please seek professional advice or contact HMRC directly.”

Mr Morrison explained how to complete a paper tax return on time, breaking it down into five steps.

1. Allow plenty of time to gather paperwork.

He said: “This includes your P60 which will confirm the total tax you have paid on your income.

“You will also need a record of benefits and expenses which can be found on your P11D or P9D forms. If you have left a job in the last tax year, you will also need a P45 from your previous employer.”

2. Pension contributions

“Make sure you keep details of any pension contributions made to allow you to claim the right tax relief for them.”

3. Gift aid payments

“You will also need details of all your gift aid payments – e.g, have you sponsored a friend to run for charity? This can be included as HMRC provides some tax relief on charitable giving.”

4. Don’t forget to make a copy of your completed tax return and keep a proof of postage, on file.

“If you are employed or a pensioner, please keep all paperwork for 22 months from the end of the tax year to which it relates to. If you are self-employed or letting a property, you should keep all paperwork for 5 years and 10 months.”

5. Personal savings allowance

“Don’t forget that this can be applied to interest earned on your savings. You could receive up to £5,000 in interest on savings tax-free.”

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