Looming tax deadlines

tax deadline31st October

For the few doctors who complete paper tax returns, the deadline for submission of the form is 31st October and automatic penalties will be charged if the return is submitted on paper after that date.

If you are unable to meet that deadline, and do not feel confident doing it yourself online, seek professional assistance.

31st January

The deadline for completing and submitting tax returns online. Please be aware that if you wish to employ an agent to complete your return for you, they will need some warning! We ask our clients to provide information by 31st October in order to keep to our fixed fee. Last minute returns have to be dealt with at a higher level to get them done in time and tend to cost more. We do, however, still get a lot of last-minute tax returns and usually manage to complete them within the fixed fee!

Also, if your return is completed at the last minute, you won’t have any warning of what tax you will have to pay. Have you reserved sufficient to meet the liability?

The penalties for late returns are much higher in recent years. £100 automatically even if there is no tax due – followed by tax surcharges and interest if the tax isn’t paid, and then daily penalties until the return is submitted – penalties alone will reach £1,300 if the return is 6 months late and then there are interest and surcharges to add.

Late returns will also increase the risk of the Revenue enquiring into your affairs – even if everything is in order, this can be a very stressful and time-consuming process, which it’s best to avoid if you can.

31st January

The balance of tax for 2012-13 is now due and the first payment on account for 2013-14. Late payment of tax will incur automatic interest charges, with a 5% surcharge if it is not paid a month later. If the tax liability for 2013-14 is likely to be less than that for 2012-13, you can apply to reduce the payments on account.

Regular deadlines

Deal with Locum A and B forms promptly and ensure that there are no delays in submitting forms to the PCSS each month, or you will risk losing the right to pension that income.

Record keeping: keep your accounts/tax records up to date as you go – don’t leave it to the end of the year to ‘write’ them up. HMRC are doing Business Records Checks – which means they pick on people to call and discuss with them what records are being kept and whether they are up to date. They will write to you first to advise that they will be calling. Depending on the answers they may follow up on the call. It’s best to be squeaky-clean and organised and not have to worry about these calls.

Action points

If you are receiving child benefit and one of you earns over £50k make sure you have received a tax return to complete – or notify the Revenue immediately if you haven’t.

If you’ve not yet completed your tax return, start collating the information now so that it can be done in good time. If you need to obtain copies of documents it can take a while to get them.

If you’ve completed your 2012-13 return, submitted it to the Revenue and have sufficient savings put away to meet the tax due, and your current year information is neatly recorded and up to date – give yourself a pat on the back and tell your less organised colleagues how good it feels not to have the stress of tax returns hanging over you.

Liz Densley is medical specialist partner with Sussex Chartered Accountants, Honey Barrett, and is secretary of AISMA (the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants). Contact her at liz.densley@honeybarrett.co.uk.

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