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Four reasons to file your tax return early

8 August 2023

HMRC is urging self assessment customers to file early in order to help them manage their cashflow and spread payments.

Taxpayers that file self assessment tax returns early could take advantage of four key benefits when filing their tax return early, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The self assessment deadline for the 2022/23 tax year is 31 January 2024. By then, tax payers must have submitted their return online using their government Gateway account.

However, HMRC has revealed that tax payers are increasingly filing their tax return early to give them more control over their financial affairs. For instance, more than 77,500 taxpayers submitted their 2022-2023 tax returns on 6 April 2023 - double the number compared to the previous year.

HMRC has identified four key benefits to filing early:

  • Planning: tax payers can find out what they owe for the 2022-2023 tax year to help them with their financial planning.
  • Budgeting: tax payers can spread the cost of their tax bill by using HMRC's Budget Payment Plan in order to set up payments on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Refund: Once a tax payer has filed, they can find out if they are owed a refund in the HMRC app.
  • Help: business owners can get help if they are unable to pay their bill in full by the 31 January deadline. They may be able to set up a Time to Pay plan.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC's director general for customer services, said: "Customers who file their tax return early get to see exactly what they owe and have more time to budget, reducing the stress around self assessment.

"Given that January is the busiest month for HMRC's phone lines, I urge customers to check out the tips on filing your tax return early on GOV.UK and to consider doing so themselves."

Do you need to do a self assessment tax return?

Customers can access a new online tool on the HMRC website to check whether they need to do a self assessment tax return. They may need to do Self Assessment if, for example, they:

  • Are newly self-employed and have earned over £1,000;
  • Are a new partner in a business partnership;
  • Have received any untaxed income;
  • Are claiming Child Benefit and they or their partner have an income above £50,000.

The HMRC website has tips for filing tax returns early as well as webinars and videos. The self assessment telephone helpline is temporarily closed and will reopen on 4 September 2023. However, customers can ask for help from HMRC's digital assistant or contact a webchat adviser.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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