By Marcus Leach

With the 31 October deadline for paper tax returns just days away, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is urging anyone who hasn’t yet filed their paper return to act now, to avoid a late-filing penalty.

If you send in a paper tax return on or after 1 November, you will now be hit with a £100 penalty — even if there is no tax to pay or the tax due is paid on time — following the introduction of a new penalty regime this year. The longer you delay, the more you'll have to pay, as there are further late-filing penalties after three, six and twelve months.

If you can’t send your paper return by 31 October, you can still avoid a penalty by sending your tax return online instead. However, if you do send a paper return after the 31 October deadline, you cannot avoid the initial £100 penalty by subsequently filing online.

To find out more about the October deadline and sending a paper tax return, go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/deadline-news.htm

If you send your tax return online, you get an extra three months to send it, as the deadline is 31 January. There are lots of other advantages too:

* your tax is calculated automatically;

* you get an immediate online acknowledgement; and

* your tax return is processed faster, so any money that you are owed is repaid more quickly.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness