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Advantages of filing your 2023/24 tax return early

The deadline for filing your 2023/24 Self Assessment tax return online is 31 January 2025. An earlier deadline of 30 December 2024 applies if you owe £3,000 or less and wish to pay the tax that you owe through an adjustment to your PAYE code. While these dates are some way off, there can be advantages of filing your 2023/24 tax return early.

Self-employed taxpayers

If you are self-employed and you prepare your accounts other than to 31 March, 5 April or a date in between, there will be more work involved in calculating your taxable profit for 2023/24. This is because the 2023/24 tax year is the transition year between the current year basis which applied for 2022/23 and earlier tax years and the tax year basis applying from 2024/25. The profit for 2023/24 will comprise that for the year to the accounting date ending in 2023/24 (the standard part) and also the profits for the period from the end of that period to 5 April 2024 (the transition part). For example, if you prepare accounts to 30 June, the standard part is the year to 30 June 2023 and the transition part is the period from 1 July 2023 to 5 April 2024. This is found by apportioning the profits for the year to 30 June 2024. The 2023/24 tax year is the last year in which relief can be given for any unrelieved overlap profits that arose on commencement or a change of accounting date.

Where the accounting period does not correspond to the tax year, there will be more than 12 months’ profit to assess in 2023/24. Accounting periods ending on 31 March, 5 April or a date in between are treated as corresponding to the tax year. However, the transition part of the profits less any overlap relief is automatically spread over five years (2023/24 to 2027/28 inclusive) unless you elect for these to be assessed earlier (for example, where your personal allowance is available or they would be taxed at a higher rate). Consequently, your tax bills may be higher than normal for the next five years.

Filing your tax return early will give you more time to ensure that you have the funds available to pay the higher bills, and to make arrangements to pay in instalments where payment might otherwise be difficult.

Employed taxpayers

If you are employed you may need to file a tax return if you have other sources of income, such as rental income or investment income. If you owe less than £3,000, you can elect for the tax to be collected through your PAYE code if you file your return by 30 December 2024. This saves you paying the tax in a lump sum, providing an interest-free instalment option.

Filing the return now the 2023/24 tax year has ended ensures the 30 December 2024 deadline is not missed.

Earlier repayments

If you have overpaid tax for 2023/24, the sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you are able to receive a repayment. The money is arguably better in your bank account that in HMRC’s.

Certainty as to tax bills

Once you have filed your return, you will know what you need to pay by 31 January 2025 and, where you need to make a payment on account for 2024/25, what you need to pay by 31 July 2025. This provides certainty as to future tax bills and allows you to organise your finances to ensure that you have the necessary funds available.

If you know you will struggle to meet your tax bills, you can set up a Time to Pay arrangement to allow you to pay your bill in manageable instalments. You may be able to do this online.

Peace of mind

Filing your tax return ahead of the deadline provides peace of mind that the job has been done and that it has been ticked off the ‘to do’ list.