Top tips on tax planning from BWMacfarlane

Missed the self-assessment tax return deadline? Don’t panic…

If you’re a freelancer or small business owner you will know that the deadline for submitting your self-assessment tax return on time was last week.

If you’ve missed this deadline, don’t panic. BWMacfarlane, accountants based in Liverpool have provided some top tips here to help you get back on track.

Act now – submit your return

Ok so you’re late submitting your tax return, it happens to lots of people. You’ve been fined £100 by HMRC and are facing possible interest charged on the amount you owe.

It’s not ideal, but there is still time to act in order to avoid any further penalties. HMRC will continue to add interest the longer your bill remains unsettles, so act quickly. It goes without saying, the longer you take to submit your tax return, the more interest you will incur so the sooner you act the better.

Get professional help if needed

You can still complete and file your self-assessment tax return directly with HMRC even after the deadline has passed.

Alternatively you can speak to a professional tax adviser who can lend a helping hand with preparing and filing your annual tax returns, chances are, if you’re in a panic, this could be your best option.

A tax adviser can also help with on-going income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax advice, even liaising other advisers on your behalf.

BWMacfarlane Chartered Accountants assist many company directors, business owners, senior executives and partners, as well as families whose wealth has accumulated over generations, advising on all aspects of taxation and financial planning.

Avoid extra costs and scrutiny

Taxpayers who persistently file and pay late are more likely to attract unwelcome attention from HMRC inspectors, as they may suspect your records are not up to scratch.

If that turns out to be the case, HMRC can also levy penalties for this, on top of the ones imposed for filing and paying your tax late, so try your best to get back on track.

If you have an excuse submit it now

Don’t wait for a penalty notice. HMRC will accept a ‘reasonable excuse’ for filing late, and you should fill in and submit a claim form to let them know tell them what has happened as soon as possible.

A reasonable excuse might be, for example, serious illness or a death in your immediate family, receiving your online activation code late despite having applied for it in plenty of time.  Needless to say you won’t avoid a fine because your dog ate your tax return…

Get organised for next year

The tax year begin again on 6th April, so it’s a great time to be getting your accounts in shape to avoid running into the same problems next year. File important documents, such as interest certificates from your bank or dividend vouchers showing money received on shares; and keep on top of your day-to-day business accounts and expenses too.

Of course we know how busy many of you are running your business, so if this all sounds like a bit of a kerfuffle, engage a friendly tax adviser and accountant to do this all for you!

To speak to our tax planning team, call Sue Stephens, Tax Partner on 0151 236 1494 or email

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