Tax & admin · 30 January 2019

Self-employed reveal 5 disturbing things theyd 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 theyd 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 havent 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 theyd rather do than tackle their tax return.

  • 1 in 5people (2.4 million) said they would rather give a speech to 100 strangers
  • 1 in 5people (2.3 million) would rather spend a night in a haunted house
  • 1 in 5people (2.2million) said theyd rather hold a tarantula for a minute
  • 1 in 7people (1.7 million) would rather get trapped in a lift
  • 1 in 8people (1.4 million) saidthey 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 shouldnt 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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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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