The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group is reminding people that the online tax return filing deadline of 31 January 2019 is approaching fast. The advice comes because HMRC found that almost half of 2016/17 tax returns were filed in the month of January.

LITRG is reminding people there is guidance and help available for those struggling with their tax return. The LITRG website has comprehensive guidance on most areas of tax and HMRC have many sources of information including webinars, YouTube videos and webchat facilities, as well as its Self Assessment helpline (0300 200 3310 or textphone 0300 200 3319).

HMRC understands that about 2.3 million people who filed in the month of January 2018 were self-employed or in a partnership. LITRG points out that the introduction of the new trading allowance could benefit many self-employed on low incomes because it may simplify the entries on their tax return or it could mean that they no longer need to submit one. LITRG has produced a factsheet which explains the trading allowance in detail on its website.

LITRG Chair Anne Fairpo said: “There is still time to avoid a fine if you are one of the millions of people who still need to complete and submit a tax return for 2017/18. But you will need to file the tax return online.

“If you have not yet registered for online filing this process can take a few weeks so you will need to do this urgently.  We published a helpful article ‘Filing your tax return for the first time? Be clear on the registration process’, on our website.

“It may be the case that you have started your tax return but are stuck with the tax treatment of a particular expense. Or you are unsure if parts are correct or even if you still need to file a tax return. There is help available from organisations such as LITRG and also HMRC. It would be better to look for help now rather than miss the deadline and get charged an automatic late filing penalty of £100.”

HMRC charges an automatic penalty of £100 for tax returns that miss the 31 January deadline. The penalties increase the longer the delay in the submission of the return.