Accountants in Spen warn of tax deadline

TAX FACTS Nigel Westman of Clough and Company in Cleckheaton.
TAX FACTS Nigel Westman of Clough and Company in Cleckheaton.

The tax returns deadline is looming, leading to a Cleckheaton accountancy firm urging people to file them and avoid forking out for a £1,000 fine.

Clough and Company, based in Centurion Way, are reminding those not covered by PAYE – the system of collecting Income Tax and National Insurance straight from employers – to fill out their forms before January 31.

Company partner Nigel Westman said: “It’s already too late to file a paper return, so people now only have until then to file it online.

“Anyone who is late will face fines ranging from £100 to £1,000. The fines for not submitting the tax return are a lot higher than a late payment, so it’s essential they are completed on time.”

Nigel is also warning people that will be completing a tax return for the first time to register on HMRC’s website now, because it can take about a week for a new tax reference to be posted out.

“HMRC send a unique Taxpayer Reference number that will enable a person to complete their registration and start filling out the tax return – but this comes in the post so there’s inevitably a delay between registering and being able to complete the return.

“Everything that has been earned from April 6, 2013, to April 5, 2014, must be included, so income from employment, self-employment, rental income, and other income or gains – including interest on savings or investments – must be declared.

“Self-assessment can be complicated and it’s important to deduct any expenses correctly so it needs careful consideration.”

Once filed, the tax payment for the 2013– 2014 period is not due until January 31.

Nigel added: “It seems obvious, but it’s just as important to remember to pay the bill as it is to fill the return in on time.

“Lots of people use an accountant to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with self-assessment.”

“Anyone filing it themselves must also be aware of bogus websites set up to look like the HMRC website that have no official capacity whatsoever, and can charge up to £1,000 for a service that is actually free through the official website. It’s essential that people avoid these rogue websites which add absolutely no value to the tax return.”

Busy lifestyles can put people off filing their taxes – HMRC figures show that 23,000 people filed their tax returns online between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day in 2013. Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk.