Thousands file tax returns over Christmas period

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Thousands of individuals filed their tax returns over the festive season, completing the task a month before the deadline of January 31st. 

This is according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which found that around 1,944 people sent in their self-assessment forms online on Christmas Day, before 6,214 did the same on Christmas Eve. 

What’s more, 6,200 did so on Boxing Day, allowing them to get their finances in order before returning to their regular working routine. Returns that are up to three months late will be lead to a fine of at least £100 and those putting in forms by paper are already late, as these needed to be in by October 31st. 

Both self-employed workers and people with more than one source of income need to file their accounts and, with more people turning to work as a contractor rather than taking on a standard full-time job. 

As the appeal of working in the gig economy causes more people to move away from standard nine-to-five shifts, it is vital that Britons are well aware of the current tax rules and how to comply with them. 

According to HMRC, there was a slight fall in the number of people putting in Boxing Day submissions compared with 2015, but the total of submissions jumped by almost 800. 

The group suggested that the rise over the Christmas period could be due to submissions from people who do not celebrate the occasion, while others may be using their time off to finish off their admin before starting work again in 2017. 

Tax returns can be submitted through the HMRC website, which has a simple guide on how to put in your self-assessment returns. You may need to register and set up an ID code and password, allowing you to receive an activation code through the post that allows you to easily file online. 

This code can take up to seven days to arrive, so it is crucial to register well ahead of the January 31st deadline. After you have received a code, it must be activated within 28 days or it will expire. 

If you are unsure over how to handle the admin work involved, it could be best to use a freelance accountant to take the burden off your shoulders and allow you to focus on other areas of your job. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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