With the self-assessment deadline looming – if you are late to the party, you should be thankful you dropped in that box of chocolates to your accountants before the Christmas break. (If not, shame on you!)

We’ve decided to create a helpful guide to help you not only become one of our favourite clients, but to avoid stress, errors and more importantly, an unexpected tax bill with only days to spare before its due.

Tip one.
Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail. But we didn’t need to tell you that!
It sounds like the most simple advice but preparing your paperwork is key. Ensuring all documents are ready means you aren’t waiting in long queues at the bank for your interest statement or on hold to an ex employer for your P45.

If you aren’t sure exactly what your accountant needs, just pick up the phone. We would rather know early so we can try to source the documents together than on the last day. Some documents are more simple than you think when it comes to retrieving the information without the original. Not so simple at 11:59pm on January 31st.

Tip two.
Check, check and check again.
You would be surprised at the amount of information we receive relating to the wrong tax year, or the number of spreadsheets that don’t add up.
Online systems such as QuickBooks or Free Agent can help massively reduce errors. This will save time for the both of us and by making sure your information is correct you are reducing the risk of HMRC rejecting your return and potentially imposing a penalty.

Tip three.
Beat the rush.
It’s like that milestone birthday you’re in denial about. No matter how much you pretend is isn’t happening, it soon comes around. Plus, January blues are already bad enough without the stress of getting information together and a bill to pay just a few weeks into the new year.
Your tax year runs 6th April – 5th April so try get it together sooner. If you run a business, try to aim to bring in your self-assessment information at the same time as your business records. Not only will it help us with your tax planning, it means less visits to see us.


We aren’t expecting you to be one of the 3000 people who filed a return on Christmas day, sit back and enjoy the Queen’s speech. But in 2019 758707 returns were filed on 31st January ALONE! Over 30,000 were filed after 11pm.

Surprisingly there were still 3 quarters of a million returns filed late, all of whom received a £100 penalty immediately. These penalties get even more harsh when we reach the 90 day overdue mark too where HMRC can charge you £10 per day.


If there is a reason you are struggling to prepare your information please contact us sooner rather than later, we are here to help. We have a very experienced team who want to ease the stress, reduce your tax (legally) and make tax return season a doddle for us both.


One last point… Excuses don’t wash with HMRC. Here are some of our favourites sent to HMRC as a reason for not filing on time.

-A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return was destroyed.
-My tax return was on my yacht and it caught fire.

-My boiler broke and my hands were too cold to type.

-I’m too short to reach the post box.

-My mother in law is a which and put a curse on me.

Talk to us today, about accounting for tomorrow 01482 646440