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Self Assessment: Do You Still Need To Register Before Thursday’s Deadline?

The tax deadline for newly self-employed individuals to register for Self Assessment is looming large and new small business owners may need to register now to avoid potentially heavy financial penalties.

Failure for individuals who became self-employed during the 2016-17 tax year, which ended on 5 April 2017, to register by the Thursday 5 October cut-off date can lead to penalties imposed by HMRC. This can amount to up to 30 per cent of the tax which is owed, unless the tax is paid in full by the online tax return deadline of 31 January. Even if you have registered, you might want to take note that if you’re planning to submit a paper tax return, the 31 October deadline is also approaching.

Research conducted by Informi this year revealed that many small business owners struggle to meet deadlines imposed by the tax regulator, with nearly one in four telling us they have previously failed to submit their online tax returns in time, and seven per cent missing the 31 January deadline on multiple occasions.

The average fine for small business owners who missed this deadline was £284.56, but for one in seven late returners (13%), the penalty exceeded £500 and two per cent had to pay more than £800.

For those who have never had to complete one before, submitting your tax return can be a timely process and it’s better to get it done sooner rather than later, when your earnings and receipts are still close to hand.

The first step – of registering for Self Assessment – must be completed by October 5 if you were self-employed or earned additional income in the last tax year. This is a fairly simple step, with HMRC providing you with a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number with which you will be able to complete the Self Assessment process.

Missing this deadline isn’t the end of the world, but with many small businesses being cash-poor, especially in their early stages, it’s a shame to waste money by failing to register in time. This guide to completing your Self Assessment form should be of help.

Earlier this year, HMRC reported that 840,000 people – around seven per cent of those required to file tax returns – failed to meet the deadline, netting the government an immediate £84 million in fines on 1 February 2017, not including additional fines accruing from that date onwards.  

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