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It’s January again and, of the 11 million UK Self Assessment returns due only 6 million have been completed and submitted. Many of my Clients have either submitted already or, after gentle prompting, have at last supplied their documentation to give me a chance of completion by the 31st January deadline. Some have still to do so and they know who they are!

I hate HMRC penalties, a voluntary tax that far too many small businesses seem happy (or resigned) to pay each year. The self-employed are particularly prone to this. There is absolutely no need to find yourself in a penalty situation, but you have to give your Accountant or Bookkeeper a fighting chance to do the necessary work, to an acceptable standard, in a reasonable time-scale.

We generally provide a high-standard service but, if you give us a Tesco bag full of receipts on 31st January, we are unlikely to be able to submit a quality, optimised, tax return for you.

A worrying trend I have noticed this year, and I am attempting to sort one case out today, is where the Client tries to give his annual pack to the Bookkeeper or Accountant only to find they have “given up” or are “too busy”, leaving the client with a huge problem. Now the vast majority of my colleagues are totally professional and do their absolute best, especially in January but where the problem arises it certainly is a challenge for Client and Accountant. The timescale involved in simply obtaining HMRC authorisation, let alone compiling the Accounts, leaves little room for manoeuvre.

So, if you have not already contacted your Accountant or Bookkeeper I strongly urge you to do so now, without further delay, to at least see if they can accommodate you. Of course, if you experience any difficulty, give me a call and I will sort you out. But you need to do it NOW to give me a chance.


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