I have received a reminder from HM Revenue & Customs to file my 2017/18 tax return. I always file mine online in January. Why do they want it submitted earlier?
The tax return filing deadline for manual tax returns is fast approaching on 31 October 2018, but there is an extended deadline for online submissions of 31 January 2019. These are, however, the very latest dates for submission to avoid automatic penalties and it is advisable to submit your tax return earlier if you can. Contrary to popular myths, submitting your tax return earlier does not mean you pay your tax earlier or that HM Revenue & Customs are more likely to enquire into it. In fact there are several benefits to submitting your tax return earlier as follows; Preparing your tax return earlier gives you time to plan your cash flow for your tax payment due to be paid on or before 31 January 2019. Additionally, if you submit your return by the 31 December 2017 and the balancing tax liability is less than £3,000 and you pay most of your taxes via PAYE you can elect to have the underpayment collected through your PAYE code in 2019/20. It is a well-known fact, that tax returns prepared at the last minute are quite often prepared in haste and more likely to contain errors and it is these last-minute tax returns which may come under extra scrutiny from HM Revenue & Customs. With regards to the enquiry opportunity for HM Revenue & Customs, the enquiry window is one year after the date of submission by the tax payer, therefore early submission does not extend this time limit. Finally, the date by which a tax payer can amend his/her tax return is unchanged by an early submission date, which is the 31 January 2020 for 2017/18 tax returns.
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