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Follow the trend with a proactive tax return strategy.

In an impressive early turnout, almost 300,000 Self Assessment customers have filed their tax returns in the first week of the new tax year, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reports.

Getting prepared early on is something we always advise clients to do, and this proactive approach helps you to manage your financial obligations well before the January rush.

Do you need to file a Self Assessment tax return?

If you’re unsure whether you need to file a return, checking as soon as possible is essential to ensure you are prepared for the filing deadline.

As outlined by HMRC, you must file a tax return for the 2023/24 tax year by 31 January 2025 if you met any of the following criteria:

  • You earned more than £1,000 through being self-employed
  • You were a partner in a business partnership
  • Your taxable income was above £150,000
  • Capital Gains Tax was due on the sale of an asset
  • You paid the High Income Child Benefit Charge

There are other situations where you may need to file a tax return, such as if you are a landlord or earned any untaxed income during the tax year.

If you are required to submit a tax return for the first time, you must register for Self Assessment by 5 October 2024.

In the case you are filing a paper return, it’s important to note you must do this before 31 October 2024. You should prepare for the shift to Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA), which will be implemented from April 2026.

This forms part of the move to digitise the tax system, with sole traders and landlords earning above £50,000 being required to file their tax returns using MTD-compliant software from April 2026. This will extend to those earning above £30,000 from April 2027.

You may be able to voluntarily register for MTD for ITSA early – you can check if you are eligible here.

Why should you file early?

The first day of the tax year, 6 April, saw a substantial number of filings, with nearly 70,000 people submitting their returns.

Filing early offers numerous advantages. It allows more time to ensure your return is accurate and complete, potentially avoiding common errors associated with rushed submissions.

If you’d rather take the pressure off yourself, our tax team can prepare and file your tax return for you, providing the peace of mind that you are fulfilling your tax obligations on time.

Preparing your tax return early with the support of an accountant can also help with budgeting, by providing early insight into any tax owed or refunds due.

To aid in managing finances, HMRC offers the option to set up a budget payment plan, allowing taxpayers to make incremental payments towards their next tax bill through direct debits.

Refunds on overpaid tax are processed sooner for early filers, and the status of these can be checked using the HMRC app.

As the year progresses, taxpayers are encouraged to take advantage of these options, ensuring a smoother and more efficient tax filing experience.

If you would like assistance with filing your Self Assessments or require specific advice, please contact us today.

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