Should You File Your Self-Assessment Tax Return Early?

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It’s easy to put off dealing with your taxes until nearer the deadline. But many people do choose to file their tax return early.

Maybe you left yours until the last minute last time around or self-employment is new to you. Here are some reasons why you may want to file your tax return early.

When Is Your Self-Assessment Tax Return Due

Your tax return is due for filing by 31 January each year for the previous tax year. You also need to pay any taxes you owe and payment on account by this date.

So your tax return for 2018/2019 is due by 31 January 2020.

You cannot file your tax return until after the tax year ends. So even if HMRC start to send you reminders, you won’t be able to do anything.

HMRC do not make the return available in your online account until after the tax year ends since you need to include everything that happened on your return.

So once the tax year has passed, why is it better to get it done sooner rather than later?

Avoid the Last Minute Rush

Filing your tax return early avoids the rush of looking for paperwork or expenses to reduce your tax bill.

It also gives you time to request copies of any missing information like payslips or rental statements.

Filing early also gives you time to fill out your tax return slowly. If you are filling out your own tax return you’ll have time to make sure you claim all the deductions and allowances you’re entitled to.

Read More: Reasonable Excuses from Missing the Tax Return Deadline

You’ll How Much Tax You Need to Pay

Even if you file your tax return early, your tax is not due for payment until the 31 January.

So even if you submit your self-assessment tax return you’ll have time to prepare for the payment.

Knowing how much tax you have to pay will give you peace of mind. You may even be pleasantly surprised by your tax bill being lower than you expected.

If you are due a tax refund the sooner you get your tax return in, the sooner you’ll get your repayment.

Get a Better Price From Your Accountant

Some accountants charge more for last-minute tax returns or refuse to accept clients as it gets closer to the 31 January deadline.

If you choose to file your tax return early and want to use an accountant you’ll be able to:

  • Shop around to find the right accountant for you;
  • Negotiate a better price at a quieter time of year;

Read More: Do You Need an Accountant if You’re Self-Employed

Avoid Penalties and Interest

If for whatever reason you get close to the tax return deadline but don’t manage to get it filed, then you’ll face penalties and interest.

If you file your tax return early you’ll be sure to avoid penalties. And, if any issues come up while you’re getting your return prepared, you’ll have plenty of time to deal them.

Read more: Fines and Penalties for Missing the Self-Assessment Deadline

When Should You File Your Self-Assessment Tax Return

Once the tax year has finished it is up to you when you choose to file your tax return.

To help you decide when you could:

  • Call your accountant to find out when they can book you in;
  • Choose to complete your tax return when you have a quiet time at work;
  • Set aside a weekend to get it done and dusted;
  • If you are worried about your tax bill, get it filed ASAP to set your mind at rest.

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Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self-employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy. She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which is her corner on the internet where she makes self-employment less terrifying.