For many of us busy business owners, it can feel like we have hundreds of things to keep on top of and it can be very easy for us to miss the HMRC deadline.

None of us want to get on the radar of the HMRC or incur penalties just because we haven’t managed these deadlines.

So these are some very simple things that you can do to make sure you don’t miss your HMRC deadlines.

  1. Keep a track of dates for the year – Use a simple calendar/diary/electronic reminder system and set this for 2 weeks before your VAT, PAYE or CIS deadlines.  The last thing you want to be doing is filing your VAT return at the last minute.  Even if you have a bookkeeper or someone in your business who does this for you, as the business owner you are responsible for meeting this deadline and so you should always follow through to make sure this is done on time.
  1. Pay PAYE at same time as salaries – If you run a payroll and therefore are due to pay PAYE each month, this has to be paid by the 19th of the following month (or in the HMRC’s account by 22nd of the month).  So we would recommend that when you go into your online banking to pay your staff salaries, that you also schedule the payment to the HMRC at the same time and schedule it for the date it is due to be paid.  This is a good way of making sure it doesn’t get forgotten.
  1. Set up direct debits for payments to be made automatically.  For example, if you set up for your VAT to be paid by direct debit then you only have to worry about getting your VAT return in on time and your direct debit will then take care of the payment.
  1. Savings – Put funds aside in a savings account ready to make the payment. It’s one thing to get the HMRC information to them on time but another reason for not meeting the deadline is because you don’t have the funds available due to cashflow.  A common scenario is for VAT where after the 1st month of the quarter, you calculate how much VAT is payable and then put this money aside and then do the same after the 2nd month.  This means that then when you have calculated the final quarter you only have a third of your VAT bill to find.    We also have clients who keep funds aside ready for their next Corporation tax bill by estimating it simply based on 20% of their net profit to date. 
  1. Get someone else involved.  With anything, it’s always good to have a plan b) so I would recommend that you have someone in your business or that you are working with to help you keep a track of things and to make sure you aren’t missing deadlines.   That way if you get really busy or had a period of ill health which distracts you from your business, then you will have someone else who can get involved to help you make sure deadlines are met.

We hope these simple tips are helpful.  If you have any comments on this blog or any other good ways you can suggest that will help business owners that we haven’t talked about,  it would be great to hear them.

If you are a business owner that doesn’t feel like they are on top of these deadlines, then please do talk to your bookkeeper or accountant or contact us for an informal chat.

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