October, 2012

What You Need To Know About the 2012 Tax Deadline

If you submit your tax return on paper, the deadline for receipt of your return is looming. Paper based tax returns have to be with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by 31st October or you could face heavy fines and penalties.

With around one in five self assessment taxpayers sending a paper based tax return, it’s important that you understand the importance of the deadline and the consequences if you miss it. Our guide explains all.

What happens if you don’t meet the 31st October tax deadline

The Financial Times reports that ‘an estimated 2m people out of the 10m who file in a tax return must meet the October 31 deadline because they submit their return on paper’.

If your paper return arrives after 31st October, you could face a £100 fine. Anita Monteith, tax faculty manager at ICAEW, the accountancy body, said: “Under strict new rules introduced last year, if your tax return is late, you’ll have to pay a fixed penalty, even if you have no tax to pay. What’s more, you will be hit with further interest charges if you fail to pay what you do owe on time.”

If you are worried that you won’t get your paper tax return in on time, you do have another option. You can choose to use HMRC’s web-based service and send your return online by January 31st instead.

However, Andrew Penman, head of PKF’s London private clients practice, says if you miss the October 31 deadline, or are concerned that you’re not going to make it in time, “it is usually better not to send a paper tax return at all and instead submit your return online by the end of January”.

He adds: “Don’t be tempted to send in a paper return late. Once a paper return has been submitted, it will be regarded as your return for the year and any subsequent electronic return you make for that year will be treated as an amendment to the original paper return.”

So, if you don’t think you will meet the 31st October deadline, you may decide to submit your return online instead. Keep reading to learn more about how to do this.

What to do if you decide to file online instead of sending a paper tax return

If you have submitted your tax return online in previous years then you will already have a user identification code for the HMRC system that you can use this time. However, if this is your first time filing online then you will have to go to the HMRC website and register.

It is wise to register for the online system early as it can take a week or two to receive your registration details for the HMRC website.

And, while the deadline is 31st January 2013, it is often advisable not to leave your tax return to the last minute. The Daily Telegraph reports that in 2011, ‘around 572,455 people left it until the last day to submit their form and avoid a £100 fine, making January 31 the busiest day of the year for using the online system.’

Warning: Will You Miss The 2012 Tax Return Deadline?


Do you want to submit your 2012 tax return by post? If so, the deadline for paper-based tax returns is getting closer. While more and more people are submitting their tax return online, millions of UK taxpayers still send a paper based tax return to HMRC.

The deadline for a paper tax return is 31st October 2012. Keep reading to find out how many people now submit their tax return online and what your options are.

How do Brits submit their tax returns?

Official figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in 2012 showed that a record 9.45 million taxpayers met the deadline for submission of their tax returns. Over 90 per cent of taxpayers filed their self assessment forms before the deadline – a rise of 4 per cent on the previous year.

And, a record number of people submitted their tax return online in 2011. The chart below shows how Brits submitted their tax returns for the 2011/12 tax year:


David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I’m delighted so many people filed their tax returns online this year. The record number proves that it’s quick, easy and secure to do.

“HMRC has always been clear that they want returns not penalties, so it is good news that over 90 per cent of all returns were submitted on time.”

Do you need to complete a tax return?

HMRC will have contacted you earlier this year if you need to complete a tax return. You will most commonly need to do so if you’re self employed or you have various sources of income.

If you haven’t received a tax return and think you should have, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible. Similarly, if you have been asked to complete a tax return and you don’t think you need to, get in touch with them.

If you have previously sent your tax return on paper, you’ll receive a paper tax return. However, this doesn’t mean you have to submit a paper return this year. Submitting your tax return online has various benefits – including allowing you extra time to submit your return. Keep reading to learn more.

The 2012 tax return deadlines

If you want to submit a paper based tax return, it must be received at HMRC by midnight on 31st October 2012.

The only exception to this is if you received the letter telling you to send a tax return after 31st July 2012. If this is the case you have three months from the date that you received that letter.

If you miss the deadline for sending in your paper based tax return, you can still submit your return online. The deadline for submitting your tax return online is 31st January 2013 and so you still have three months in which to submit your tax return.

Get your paper tax return done now

If you are planning to submit a paper based tax return then it is vital that you complete the form and send it to HMRC by 31st October 2012. If you miss the 31st October deadline then you will have no choice but to submit your tax return electronically.