"Of our figures, the last person to submit on the day left it to 235943 in 2018 indicating just how late people are willing to leave it."
A tax-return software provider has revealed that, with just two weeks to go, almost a third (29%) of North West's small businesses are still yet to submit their self-assessment before the 31st January deadline; putting them at risk of paying more tax than what they owe.
Oldham-based GoSimpleTax – which makes use of Artificial Intelligence to aid clients through submitting their self-assessment – estimates (from previous years’ trends) that a total of 3.3 million British people haven’t yet filed their tax return for the year 2017/18.
The figures align with HMRC’s findings last year, that 2 million people left it to 29th January in 2018.
Plenty of business owners are even set to leave it to the very last minute, according to GoSimpleTax.
“We usually experience a sharp submission spike in the last hour before the January 31st deadline,” commented GoSimpleTax’s technical director, Mike Parkes. “Of our figures, the last person to submit on the day left it to 23:59:43 in 2018 – indicating just how late people are willing to leave it.
“It’s due to a combination of factors; people are strapped for time, as well as being reluctant to complete – and of course pay – their tax return. So, they avoid it for as long as possible.”
But leaving it to the last minute can cause further stress and monetary consequences for business owners.
Mike explained: “There are a number of reasons that dwelling on a tax return can create headaches. Rushing through the process can mean that mistakes are made, leading to costly fines. For example, you can be penalised up to 30% of tax owed, if careless errors are submitted. On the flipside, an oversight could even lead to an overpayment of tax – money which is better in your pocket.
“Forward-planning, if possible, is therefore hugely beneficial. It also means that business owners can take advantage of all the ways to be tax-efficient, such as claiming expenses on travel and marketing – so the benefits are two-fold.”
Providing some reassurance, he added: “There’s not much time left, but our advice is not to panic. Those yet to submit should set some time aside to go through it without having to rush.
“And an accountant isn’t imperative. There’s software, like ours, which is slick, intuitive, and can save people time, stress and money."