I'm not sure what the rationale was when HMRC decided that the self assessment deadline should be 31 January. Was it to distract the bean counters over the festive season so they couldn't judge their client's expenses? (NB: We would, obviously, never judge you. Never.) It doesn't help that for any companies with a year end of 31 March (a lot), accounts and corporation tax returns are due on 1 January. If you're a limited company, you can be fined by both HMRC and Companies house for late filing - and you will be charged interest on any balance owed. Not fun.
So. Just in case you're thinking of leaving it to the last minute, spare a thought for us poor accountants, blindly eating mince pies whilst we do battle with HMRC's online filing systems; sipping a restorative sherry while frantically calculating your home office allowance; looking at yet another shoe box full of scrunched up receipts and deciding whether that can really be considered a business expense... (FYI: a party for all staff where the cost per head is less than £150 is definitely tax deductible).
Please read our emails, please send us the information we need. Please help us help you not to get fined, or charged interest. Please let us have a Christmas break too!
If you need me, follow the trail of pastry crumbs to my desk.