Why Leave Your January Tax Return Until The Last Minute?

I know many people took advantage of the last couple of weird years to get their bookkeeping sorted, and many had good intentions to get their tax returns done earlier, but did you follow through on those good intentions?

Some did though. If you leave your January tax return to the last minute, who do you identify with here? Below, I've included a summary of the answers and my responses.

- I don't have time to do it

Doing your tax return is not optional. It doesn't matter if you have the time or not, it needs to be done. Surely it is much easier to keep records up-to-date as you go along, rather than wait until 9 months after the tax year has finished then try and track your finances?

Personally, I find that it takes way less time to record what I've spent when everything is fresh in my mind. I say that you should "eat your pizza one slice at a time" rather than trying to cram the whole lot in when you are stressed and busy in January.

- I don't want to pay my tax early

It doesn't matter when you file your tax return, you still pay your tax on the same date. If you do your tax return earlier you then know how much you are saving up and preparing for rather than it being a last-minute scramble. I would suggest saving the money and earning a bit of interest, but with rates so low right now they will only earn pennies!

- don't want the government to get my money as they just waste it

Unfortunately, you have no choice. And if you file late, they'll get even more of your money in fines. Better to work out your taxes early or, better still, do your accounts as you go through your year and use an accountant to give you tips to be more tax-efficient then you may then be able to pay them less.

- I don't like doing it

In that case, outsource! Use a VA or bookkeeper to help you keep things organised and clear your desk and your mind to do the business you really love doing. I can recommend a variety of bookkeepers to suit different budgets.

In summary, I didn't really see any good reason to leave your January tax return to the last minute, you could be doing it months earlier. If that is you this year then why not have a word with me on how to get your bookkeeping organised so you don't leave yourself stressed and busy and risk being late doing your tax return next year?

I can most definitely help you find the right software to do it yourself, or the right bookkeeper if you want to outsource. And if you already outsource, then please (please, please, please) get your receipts and accounting information to your bookkeeper or accountant in a timely manner. I know many bookkeepers who have an incredibly busy January as clients have been so late sending over their financial information.

"Get it done early as you are less likely to make mistakes and forget things!"

Change your habits and get your accounts done as you go along; start now as you mean to go on. There are plans in place for everyone to have to submit figures every quarter in the future, so getting into good habits now will mean you will be ready.

If anything I've written here resonates with you, call me on 01604 420057 and let's see how we can help you.