No-one really enjoys filing their Self Assessment. It’s that unwanted chore that you put off until the last minute, before flying into a mad January panic when you realise time’s almost up.
It might not surprise you to know that, historically, Self Assessment deadline day (31st January each year) is an extremely busy day at the offices of HMRC. It also might not come as a surprise that they rake in millions from late-filing penalties every year.
The moral of this story is simple: file early. There’s a roster of brilliant reasons to get your Self Assessment out the door as soon as possible, but for now, let’s look at the three main reasons why filing your Self Assessment early is the best way to go.
It takes ages to register
You can’t just rock up on deadline day and file a Self Assessment - HMRC has to be expecting you. This means you’ll need to register in advance, and that can take time. How long depends entirely on the time of year. Out of peak times, it can take a fortnight or so, but if you wait until the January rush, it could take far longer - and even drag you over the submission deadline.
You’ll avoid penalties
Speaking of missing the deadline, HMRC are known for dropping some hefty fines on the late-comers. You’ll be on the receiving end of an automatic £100 fine if you miss the January 31st deadline, £10-a-day fines (for up to 90 days) if you haven’t filed by April 30th, and a range of additional penalties if HMRC believes you’re intentionally delaying your filing.
HMRC’s call centres are overwhelmed in January
If you’ve ever attempted to get in touch with HMRC in January, you’ll likely know their on-hold music off by heart. According to HMRC’s own data, released in May 2018, 14% of customers were left waiting for more than 10 minutes for an operator to answer their call in between February 2017 and February 2018. That’s stressful enough as it is - now imagine it’s January 30th and you still need help with your Self Assessment.
The moral of the story, folks, is that if you think you might need help with your Self Assessment, don’t leave it to to the last minute.
Thankfully for those who do need some support, help is at hand. We recently held a Self Assessment webinar, covering everything you need to know about Self Assessments. Whether you’re a Self Assessment novice or a seasoned pro, our webinar has all the tips and advice you need to make this year’s submission the easiest yet. Check it out here!
We’ve also got a range of helpful Self Assessment articles, including “Do I need to complete a Self Assessment?” and a handy jargon-free business guide to Self-Assessment. If we still haven’t convinced you to get that Self Assessment in early, you can find another four reasons to file early here.