As 2019 draws to a close, the upcoming holidays reduce the amount of time available to complete the 2019 tax returns and avoid fines.

We have already passed the 31st October 2019 deadline to submit a paper tax return, so any returns submitted now must be done online to avoid an instant £100 fine.

The 5th October 2019 deadline to register for a 2019 tax return has also passed, but if you need to complete one you should register as soon as possible to minimise penalties.

The 2019 tax return covers the year 6th April 2018 to 5th April 2019 and the very final submission deadline online is 31st January 2020.

However, 31st January 2020 is also the deadline to pay any tax due for 2018/19… so if the tax due hasn’t been roughly calculated and expected there could be a nasty surprise awaiting with only a few days to raise the funds.

Payments on account (where you also pay in advance for the 2019/20 tax in certain situations) are one aspect that regularly catch people out. While they may have saved the money to pay the rough tax liability, they may have not realised that the actual liability could be 150% with a further 50% on top in July 2020.

National insurance contributions for the self-employed may also have been missed out from their rough calculations, and could add a considerable amount on top of the income tax due.

It is therefore important to complete the 2019 tax return as soon as possible, so that you know what the tax liability on 31st January 2020 will be and have some time to plan for it.