The current financial year is in full swing (6th April 2021 – 5th April 2022) but as we pass the halfway point, there are some particularly pressing deadlines on the horizon.
We’re here to make sure you’re well prepared for all the upcoming dates and deadlines, so you don’t run into any unnecessary penalties or trouble with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
In this article, we cover:
- Key tax year dates and deadlines for business owners
- What happens if you miss a tax deadline (and ‘reasonable excuses’ for filing late)
- Tips on how to make sure you never miss a tax deadline (such as investing in great bookkeeping software and staying well organised with your accounts admin)
Let’s jump right in – there’s no time to waste.
What dates are important for business owners every tax year?
The start of a new tax year, and usually the point when any announced changes to tax rates and thresholds take effect. For instance, the Personal Allowance is a tax-free allowance which means taxpayers start to pay tax on earnings above the £12,570 threshold.
This is also the date that new tax codes come into force, if applicable.
The deadline for issuing a P60 certificate to employees. A P60 is a summary of all the employment income and tax deductions that have taken place in a tax year.
Top tip: using payroll software is a great way to automate and streamline this process.
If you need to make payments on account to pay your Self Assessment tax bill, this is the deadline for your second payment.
Newly self-employed? Anyone who needs to register for Self Assessment must do so by this deadline, following the end of the tax year that they started trading
Should you choose to submit a paper Self Assessment tax return, this is the deadline you’ll need to do it by. See the alternative option below.
This is the due date for submitting your online Self Assessment return, as well as the payment deadline for your first payment on account (or for the total amount if you don’t qualify for payments on account).
This is a hard deadline that, if missed, carries notorious penalties.
This marks the end of the tax year, ready for the cycle to begin again on the 6th!
Now you know what dates to jot down in your diary, let’s take a look at what it might mean to miss one.
What happens if I miss a tax deadline?
According to research by HMRC, 10.7 million people submitted their Self Assessment returns on time this year. Unfortunately, 1.8 million others missed the deadline.
Life gets in the way sometimes – we get it – and as a busy small business owner, the months can fly by in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re getting Self Assessment email reminders months in advance, the next it’s February 1st and you’ve missed the deadline. In this case, an honest mistake but alas, one which still has consequences.
The good news: if you have what you believe to be a valid reason for missing the Self Assessment deadline and filing late, you can contact HMRC and present it to them as a ‘reasonable excuse’.
Some common instances of reasonable excuses include:
- Delays relating to a disability
- Death of a close relative near to the deadline
- Life-threatening injury or illness
- Postal delays out of your control
- HMRC service disruptions
- Fire, flood, or theft impacting your ability to file your Self Assessment return
How to make sure you never miss a tax deadline
Now you’ve got all the most important dates and deadlines on your radar for the tax year ahead, stick around for a few top tips on how to make sure you hit them on time, every time.
Be vigilant with your bookkeeping
Bookkeeping can feel like your worst nightmare but when used correctly and efficiently, it can become your very best friend.
Staying on top of your bookkeeping and being meticulous about doing so means you can spread the workload over the whole tax year, rather than traumatising yourself with a mad rush when year-end rolls around.
Investing in cloud-based bookkeeping software means you can access your accounts from anywhere in the world, at any time. You can upload receipts and invoices as you go, and even integrate your banking transactions to cut down on tiresome data-entry. The automated reminders about upcoming dates and deadlines, particularly ones which remind your clients to pay, aren’t bad, either.
With a reputable bookkeeping software in your arsenal, you can’t go far wrong.
Hire an accountant
Having a qualified accountant on hand is one of the most effective ways to stay ahead of deadlines and ensure you’re always operating in the most tax-efficient way possible.
It’s an accountant’s job to know tax year dates and deadlines like the back of their hand, and they’ll usually send you reminders to keep you on track. But just remember, as far as HMRC are concerned, it’s still your responsibility.
Don’t leave your accounts admin to the last minute
As an SME owner, there’s no such thing as spare time – there’s only wishing there were more hours in the day to tend to your ongoing to-do list.
With such a hectic schedule, it can be tempting to push the things that don’t come with immediate deadlines to the back of the priority queue – like your Self Assessment tax return, for instance.
To prevent any last-minute chaos or errors, stay on top of your accounts and bookkeeping throughout the year, rather than leaving it until a few days before the deadline.
Don’t forget, you can submit your Self Assessment return any time before the official deadline so slot it into your schedule earlier on to give yourself some valuable wiggle room.
Submitted by Pandle.
Pandle provide powerful, easy-to-use cloud accounting software, designed to help make bookkeeping more straightforward.