HMRC share five reasons to let them know, 'avoid penalties', and even save money

Every year, thousands are caught out by simple mistakes when filing last-minute tax returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Anyone who is self-employed, making money as a landlord, or claiming some income-related benefits, has to tell the taxman what they own and how much they earn.

300,000 people filed their own tax returns in the very first week of the financial year, ensuring that they do not get a nasty last-minute surprise bill from HMRC when this tax year closes in April 2025. But there were even some more finance-focused and money-savvy than this, with almost 70,000 people filing on the very first day they could.

However, millions of people still leave their self-assessment tax returns until a short time before the deadline, which means they can be handed a hefty bill that they were not expecting. HMRC says the best way to sort your tax is as early as possible to avoid fines, mistakes, and maybe even save some money.

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Promoting the self-assessment tax return, HMRC said: "You might think there are no benefits to filing your self assesment tax return early. But here are five reasons why you should.

HMRC's five reasons you should file your tax return early

  • Number one. You'll find out sooner if you are owed any money. Once we process your tax return, we will let you know if you are due a refund. You can also check if you are due a refund and make a claim in our HMRC app.

  • Number two. It will help you budget for the year ahead. Youll know how much you owe and you can plan your payment. You do not have to pay this all at once and you you can spread the cost with a Budget Payment Plan, making weekly or monthly payments towards your tax bill

  • Number three. Simply for peace of mind. Avoid the stress of last-minute filing. Once it's done, its done, and one less thing for you to worry about.

  • Number four. Proof of income, you can use your tax return for proof of income for things like mortgage applications, loan applications, and benefit claims.

  • Number five. You can avoid any mistakes or penalties. Filing early means you will have time to correct any mistakes before the deadline, which means you can avoid any potential penalties.

Alice Haine, Personal Finance Analyst at Bestinvest by Evelyn Partners, the online investment service, commented: “UK taxpayers might have until January 31, 2025, to file their self-assessment tax return but increasing numbers of people are realising the benefits of getting this task completed early.

"The attraction of getting ahead has already been recognised by almost 300,000 people who filed their tax return in the first week of the new tax year, up from 246,000 that submitted their return in the same week last year. There were also nearly 70,000 early birds who filed their return on the first day of the 2024-25 tax year.