Last year 840,000 people failed to meet the 31 January tax return deadline and faced the fine. Here Lee Murphy, CEO and founder of cloud book-keeping software Pandle ( sets out some tips on how to avoid this unnecessary loss.

If it is your first year in business or your profits have increased, it is highly likely you will need to pay more than expected with HMRC’s ‘Payments On Account’ system, which means this year you will have to make two payments towards your next tax bill. The first is due on 31 January and the second on 31 July, so start getting funds ready!

Make sure to have all your necessary paperwork before sitting down to start the online process, this saves time and reduces the chance of mistakes.

This includes details of your earnings from your business, your P60 including details of expenses, any Gift Aid payments and pension payments. If you have other sources of income, such as savings, shares, royalties and any rental income – you need this information as well.

If you have paid for business expenses through a personal bank account, instead of a business account, go through the statements to ensure you include everything you can claim for.  

If you are self-employed and have not completed your paperwork for the financial year ending 2017 then you are in bad shape, but you can still get it done with concerted effort.

I’d suggest using a simple book-keeping software to sort out your business outgoings, incomings and expenses for the tax return. There are even free ones online with basic functionality that will make doing this quicker and simpler than the alternative of paper and Excel.

For the next financial year you can submit from as early as the 6 April 2018, so be organised and make a note in your diary to get your details submitted earlier.

Tackle the submission now to avoid the immediate penalty of £100, which increases over time the more you leave it!