HMRC is chasing taxpayers who have submitted tax returns for 2021/22 containing unresolved provisional figures, while also extolling the benefits of filing early for 2022/23.
What are provisional figures?
A provisional figure is not the same as an estimated one.
- An estimated figure is used when it is not possible to provide a more accurate figure – so it is intended to be final. For example, small amounts of income might be estimated, or records could have been lost, making an accurate figure impossible.
- A provisional figure, on the other hand, is one that is used temporarily, with the intention to submit a more accurate figure later.
On a tax return, a box needs to be checked if a provisional figure has been supplied. HMRC will then be aware that an amended tax return is due.
HMRC is not chasing taxpayers directly, but via letters to tax agents. The strict deadline for amending a 2021/22 tax return is 31 January 2024, but HMRC is pushing for amendments by 30 November (if actual figures are now available), or otherwise by 31 December.
If the missing information is now too old to obtain, it will instead be necessary to confirm the provisional figure as final.
Why filing early is often a good idea
The deadline for submitting 2022/23 tax returns is also 31 January 2024, but there are benefits to earlier filing:
- Tax liabilities will be established sooner, enabling more accurate financial planning throughout the year.
- Using HMRC’s budget payment plan, as a taxpayer you can make regular weekly or monthly savings towards your tax bill.
- Any tax refunds you are owed will be received earlier.
- It is always advisable to contact HMRC well in advance if it’s not going to be possible to pay a tax bill in full.
If you submit your tax return early, you will avoid the worry of last-minute filing – always a stressful task and especially so if your record-keeping is not all that it should be. HMRC’s guidance on self-assessment tax returns can be found here.