We go out of our way to help people meet the tax deadlines.

Indeed this month that involved working through every weekend, and a fair few late nights as well, in order to help people with their tax returns and accounts that they had left until January.

There is a limit to what is possible though, and even we can’t help everyone.

The 2011 tax return covers the year to 5th April 2011, so there have been more than nine months since the end of the tax year in which people could supply their information to an accountant in order to meet the 31st January 2012 deadline. The new fines for late returns, even if no tax is due, have been publicised and a letter explaining them went out to taxpayers with their tax return notification.

HMRC recently announced a two-day extension, however this was notified very late in the month and many accountants will have already made plans for after the month end that can’t be changed at such short notice, so this is of limited use. The extension was only intended to be for cases where people could not contact HMRC on 31st January because of a strike.
As I mentioned in my post on tax planning, if people have left things to the last few days of the month then the effect on their business performance of not having up to date figures for planning could be much more than any potential fines.