Self Assessment Deadline Puts Christmas on Hold For UK SMBs

Self Assessment Deadline Puts Christmas on Hold For UK SMBs
  • Quarter of small business owners will file their self assessment in the last month, close to the deadline.
  • One in five have previously missed the self assessment deadline resulting in considerable fines.
  • One in ten having to work on Self Assessment during the Christmas holiday period.

self assessment deadline taxes

Intuit QuickBooks research reveals the personal and business impacts of Self Assessment season on UK small businesses and sole traders, as the 31st January 2024 deadline looms closer.

Despite having up to 10 months notice to file their Self Assessment tax return, nearly half (46%) of owners are holding off filing until 2-3 months before the deadline. In fact, a quarter (25%) of the millions of small business owners across the country will file in the last month.

While a quarter (25%) of small businesses are staying on top of their taxes and filing their return within the first month, one in five (22%) say they have previously missed the deadline resulting in considerable fines.

The majority (59%) report that the lead up to Self Assessment has impacted their business. Almost one in five (19%) have had to cut staffing hours due to a lack of time to train them, and the same number (a further 19%) had to turn away customers.

Late Filing Impacts Holiday Period

Late filing has seen more than one in ten (13%) UK small businesses and sole traders having to work on their Self Assessment during a holiday, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Instead of being subjected to doing their tax return over the Christmas period, UK small businesses would rather:

  • Go last minute shopping on Christmas Eve (30%)
  • Travel home during peak Christmas rush (29%)
  • Listen to Mariah Carey on loop (25%)
  • Spend time with their in-laws (21%)

This annual tax cycle is affecting entrepreneurial motivation, with 55% of UK business owners saying in the lead up to the deadline, their passion for running the business has suffered.

Pauline Green, Head of Product Compliance & Programs at Intuit QuickBooks UK comments: “In most cases, the idea of filing your Self Assessment tax return is much worse than actually doing it. Our research shows that doing things differently can build confidence.

“73% of sole traders and small businesses said that in order to submit their tax return earlier, they’d need to understand how to prepare their documentation in bite-sized chunks. 76% also agreed that having an easy-to-use business tool where they can track details in an app would help.

“Starting early and being consistent is critical. With potentially tougher economic times ahead, using the tools and technology available will ultimately give UK business owners the confidence to spend their time on what they love doing – running and growing their businesses.”

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