It will be about now that your Accountant will start chasing you quite hard about filing your tax return.
Those of you self employed, in a partnership or have income that has not been taxed at source in the year to 5th April 2011 are required to complete a personal tax return which needs to be lodged with HMRC by 31st January 2012. By that day any tax that is due also is required to be paid over.
If you have previously completed a tax return the chances are your Accountant has been chasing you for a few months now but the reminders and chasers will become more frequent between now and Christmas time. Most of my clients that appear in January will be the same people as last year and they will think that they are the only people that have left it that late but I can guarantee your Accountant will be dealing with many ‘late arrivals’. If we are able to complete a few returns a bit earlier then life could be a bit less stressful in January (my wife is used to not seeing much of me in the month of January).
But it is not all about making things easier for your Accountant! More importantly, imagine how much better you would feel about things if your Accountant was able to tell you before Christmas what you are due to pay at the end of January thus easing pressure on cash flow. In the current climate, where every pound needs to be watched carefully, there can be great benefit to planning ahead – you might even be able to buy that special Christmas present after all!
Also on 31st January 2012 you are required to pay the first instalment on the tax due on the year to 5th April 2012. This payment is usually 50% of the tax payable in the previous tax year i.e. year to 5th April 2011. If profits or income are down in the year to 5th April 2012 then your Accountant can apply to have the payments on account reduced accordingly. The earlier your Accountant gets the information the quicker he can assess the position and perhaps take away some of your worries.
One final point – just because HMRC have not issued you with a notice to complete a return doesn’t take away your responsibility to file a return. The whole basis of self assessment is that it is up to you to decide if you need to make a return. If in doubt seek advice – your Accountant shouldn’t charge you for helping you decide your statutory responsibilities!
Before finishing up it is worth mentioning the couple of talks I did recently. Our Intellectual Property Conference at Glasgow University went very well and it was great to be involved with something very new. We are currently looking at plans to take the presentation round the country or cover the topic from a slightly different angle – more to follow in due course.
Glasgow for Business Week was nothing short of a huge success. As well as speaking a couple of times, I also attended a couple of the events held throughout the week. Glasgow never fails to get behind such events and the buzz in the city was fantastic to be part of. It was great to meet lots of new people and I am currently following up with lots of them. There can be great advantages to your business by getting involved with such events
– perhaps a thought for us all for the new year?
Until next time
Simon can be contacted on 0141 226 8484 or follow him on twitter @simonmurrison
Some interesting websites