Figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that over 2m people have completed their tax returns online so far in January 2020, 17.4% of the current annual total with more than 3m customers still to do so by 11.59pm on Friday 31 January.
However, just 4.2% of tax returns were submitted online in April 2019, despite this being the period when people are more likely to have all the necessary paperwork together to submit their details for the previous tax year.
Aside from January, which in total will see around half of all individuals who are required to submit a tax return do so, December, November and July have been the most popular months to complete self-assessment, according to HMRC figures obtained by Informi.
For small business owners, however, many may currently feel ill-equipped to submit their tax return early. Lack of financial expertise and qualified finance staff costs UK SMEs the equivalent of £2.9bn due to issues such as tax miscalculations and unpaid invoices, whilst the Federation of Small Businesses estimates 37% of small businesses have run into cash flow difficulties caused by late payments. Meanwhile, according to feedback from business owners, businesses may also struggle due to issues with budgeting.
To help small business owners address these concerns and enable them to submit their 2019/20 tax returns as early as possible, Informi is encouraging them to take one of the new AAT Essentials online courses, which have been developed with the Skills Network. The suite of bite-size courses aims to help students improve their understanding of key financial processes, and cover topics including cash flow management, budgeting, and finance for non-finance managers.
Steven Drew, spokesperson for Informi said, “With less than a week to go before the deadline for self-assessments, and millions of people still to complete their 2018/19 tax returns, it can feel like a race against time to gather everything together and submit it on schedule.
“That’s why on top of prioritising their tax return this week if they haven’t already done so – we’re encouraging small business owners to submit their 2019/20 return as early as possible during the next tax year. As well as having the advantage of submitting their return during a quieter period and getting ahead of the pack, they’re also more likely to have all the information they need on hand and fresh in their memory, and will allow themselves ample time to deal with any problems.
“Even if you are prepared well in advance, submitting your tax return can often seem like a difficult and daunting process, however long you’ve been running a small business. The new online AAT Essentials courses will help small businesses owners to tackle their tax return with confidence and develop the financial skills they need to enable their business to not only survive, but thrive, and all small business owners should strongly consider taking them.”