Accountant urges taxpayers to use Christmas break to submit Self Assessment Tax Return

AN accountant is urging people to use the Christmas period to file their tax returns.

This year, 600,000 UK taxpayers failed to file their self-assessment for 2021 to 2022 by the deadline of midnight on January 31, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

11.3 million people filed theirs on January 31, with some 36,767 of those filing between 11pm and 11:59pm.

The initial penalty for failing to file a tax return is £100, even if there is no tax due.

Colin Bielckus, who runs accountancy firm Avenue Business Services in Whiteley, is urging people to use the period across Christmas and new year wisely and get all of the information needed to file their tax return if they haven’t done so already.

He said: ‘The stats do seem to be improving – last year more than 2 million people failed to file their returns, but sadly many people come to us at the very last minute in a panic year after year.

‘Not only will your accountant thank you, but it’ll be one less thing to worry about when you go back to work in the new year, as we all know how hectic that can be, especially when you have taken time off. My advice would be to use the Christmas period, when you’re not eating mince pies or drinking Buck’s Fizz – or maybe while you’re doing so – to gather up the information you need ready to hand over to your accountant as soon as they’re back open.’

2023 saw a record number of taxpayers filing their tax returns online – something Colin hopes is a sign that people are getting ahead of themselves. 

He said: ‘It brings me great pleasure to see the number rise by so many year-on-year, however the number of people filing their return on January 31 itself is worrying. Leave yourself time to correct errors to avoid fines and penalties.’ 

If people are unable to pay their tax return by the January 31 deadline, the Time to Pay service allows customers who cannot pay their tax bill in full to pay in monthly instalments instead.

For more information on the Self Assessment tax return, go to

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.