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Why are we so busy in January

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Posted by: Tony Margaritelli | Last modified on 04/01/2019

So now we know as at 1st January 2019 47.9% of all the anticipated 2017/18 Income Tax Returns remain to be filed in the final month of the filing period.

That amounts to 4,541,784 Tax Returns and history has shown that approx. 50% of those Returns are going to be filed by Accountants which means that as has been the case since the inception of Self-Assessment we are going to be incredibly busy throughout January.

We will do our very best to save client’s the late filing fines which is to be expected and we fully expect that once the deadline passes HMRC will announce how many Returns have been filed overall and will pat themselves on the back for a “job well done” whilst we will have to satisfy ourselves with the extra revenue.  

We will also be subjected to all manner of individuals telling us in effect that we don’t have to work this hard in January and that if we are then WE have done something wrong because THEY aren’t working this hard and all it takes is to get the records in earlier or get rid of the client and move on.

Self-Assessment has been in for a very long time and the January hiatus has not subsided at all despite every best intention to do better next year by virtually every Accountant I know.

Those who have extricated themselves from the January rigors are to be applauded but it really isn’t their place to try to impose their way on the rest of us because in reality so little is changing in the filing numbers that leads to the conclusion that whatever has been proffered in the past is at best a localised success.

HMRC themselves have come to the same conclusion as they recognise that no matter what minor actor or whatever cartoon character they use to promote being early with filings has failed lamentably to the extent that only the imposition of 4 filing deadlines a year via MTD will work.

Are they right? Time as they say will tell but I for one am thinking that we will have a few more 31 January hiatuses to deal with before it comes in.