Tax & admin · 30 January 2019

Self-employed reveal 5 disturbing things they’d rather do than their tax return

Is a night in a haunted house more desirable than completing your tax return?

Just one day before the self-assessment window slams shut, self-employed Brits have revealed they’d rather do almost anything than file their tax return.

According to a survey of over 1,000 self-employed workers across the UK, undertaken by accounting software provider Intuit QuickBooks, half fear they haven’t filed their tax return correctly, while 40% find the whole process stressful.

With the self-assessment deadline for the 2017/18 tax year landing midnight tomorrow (Thursday 31 January), micro business owners and sole traders revealed the frankly disturbing things they’d rather do than tackle their tax return.

  • 1 in 5 people (2.4 million) said they would rather give a speech to 100 strangers
  • 1 in 5 people (2.3 million) would rather spend a night in a haunted house
  • 1 in 5 people (2.2 million) said they’d rather hold a tarantula for a minute
  • 1 in 7 people (1.7 million) would rather get trapped in a lift
  • 1 in 8 people (1.4 million) said they would rather jump out of a plane

Commenting on the findings, Shaun Shirazian, head of product, Europe at QuickBooks, said: “The self-employed have more than enough to worry about between keeping on top of their cash flow, drumming up new customers and balancing their work and private lives. Self-assessment shouldn’t be another stress to add to the list.”

The research revealed also that as many as 110,000 of the self-employed workforce are planning to submit their tax return to HMRC after the 31 January deadline. If you’re part of the 1% take a look at the government’s official late-submission penalties.

Penalties for late tax returns

Anybody missing the deadline will automatically receive a £100 fine. Crucially, even if no tax is owed, failure to submit a tax return will still result in a penalty.

  • A fixed £100 fine for all submissions after deadline
  • After three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum £900
  • After six months, a further penalty of five per cent of the tax due, or £300 (whichever is greater)
  • After 12 months, another five per cent or £300 charge (whichever is greater)
  • Additional penalties for paying late of five per cent of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months

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Who needs to file a tax return?

UK residents need to file a self-assessment to HMRC if they:

  • Earned more than £2,500 from renting out property
  • Or their partner received Child Benefit and either of them had an annual income of more than £50,000
  • Received more than £2,500 in other untaxed income, for example from tips or commission
  • Are self-employed sole traders
  • Are employees claiming expenses in excess of £2,500
  • Have an annual income over £100,000
  • Earned income from abroad that they need to pay tax on

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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