A number of deadlines are coming up. Many companies have 31st March year ends, so small companies from their second year onwards need to submit their accounts by 31st December 2014, and pay corporation tax by 1st January 2015. Income tax returns are due by 31st January 2015, and if these are based upon trading accounts, then those accounts need to have been prepared by the same date.
It is human nature to leave things to the last minute, and after all, the human race does not exist for the sole purpose of filling in tax returns. Accountants are likely to be busy preparing the many accounts and tax returns where things have been left. Personally I prefer it this way, because an imminent deadline means that the job gets done in one go. However, there is a risk at this time of year of colds, flus, and slipping on the ice. The Christmas post is slow. We could have a blizzard which disrupts everything.
None of this will be accepted as an excuse by the Revenue if your tax return is filed late. They will say that you had all summer to prepare the return, and the misfortunes of winter are all easily foreseeable. The reasonable excuses they will accept generally relate to death, severe illness or similar.
If you just want to prove that you posted something, you can get a free Certificate of Posting at any Post Office counter, and I often do this and staple the certificate to a copy of the letter which was sent. If you want it to get there quickly, then you can send it by Royal Mail Special Delivery which is how many company accounts get sent at the last minute to Companies House.
Tax returns are submitted electronically, so as long as all your records are delivered to the accountant there should not be a problem. Note however that the records need to be complete with all bank statements, cheque book stubs, any invoices, VAT records, other material usually sent, and any new hire purchase agreements.
Our systems are designed for fast processing. We will do everything electronically if we can, or use optical character recognition scanning of bank statements, or use redundancy-free keying in of data as necessary.
David Porthouse & Co is a forward-looking firm of accountants based in Carlisle with a keen interest in new technology with the aim of speeding up accounts production and making accountancy more affordable for our clients. David Porthouse is also a specialist in company accounts and corporation tax.