Record Number of Tax Returns Expected on Christmas Day

A record number of Self Assessment tax returns are expected to be filed on Christmas day this year, according to new research, as finance experts urge business owners to take care of their mental health during the festive period.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed that more than 2,700 Self Assessment tax returns were filed on Christmas Day in 2020. When the recent business boom is considered, which saw a 14% year-on-year rise in new businesses started in 2020, The Accountancy Partnership expects a similar increase in firms filing their return on Christmas Day 2021, which could set a new record of more than 3078 businesses.

While the annual deadline for submitting online Self Assessment tax returns is January 31 2022, many will use the traditionally quieter Christmas period to get their financial affairs in order and submit their documents a month ahead of the official deadline.

Official HMRC figures show the most popular time on 25 December for completing tax returns last year was between 2pm and 3pm, with more than 200 people submitting their online form during the 60-minute window.

However, despite being organised and using the downtime to complete the compulsory paperwork, financial experts at online accounting services business, The Accountancy Partnership, are urging business owners to make sure they also take a break during the festive period.

Recent research into the mental health of small business owners found financial fears have led to sleepless nights for almost a third (30%) of SME owners in the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, two-thirds (69%) of small business owners – approximately four million people – reported the pandemic has had a moderate to severe impact on their mental health.

Lee Murphy, Managing Director at The Accountancy Partnership, said: “While business owners are free to submit their Self Assessment tax returns any time before the January 31 deadline, it is important that they give themselves time off, particularly given the events of the past two years. The pandemic has taken a serious toll, and being mindful of your mental health is vital to help avoid burnout.

“While not everyone celebrates Christmas to the same extent across the country, we urge everyone to take a break and take advantage of the additional bank holidays we have this year.”

Worryingly, just one in 10 (12%) of those SME owners who have experienced issues sought professional help.

Lee Murphy continued: “It’s best practice to submit as early as possible to ensure you are not paying too much tax, and to avoid fines for missing deadlines.  This year’s returns are likely to be particularly complex. Many businesses have used government support during the pandemic, and this will take extra accounting for. It’s advisable to give accountants and financial professionals as much time to sort through your returns as possible, especially as demand for their services surges in the weeks before the deadline.

“Completing accounts and submitting them in good time gives business owners one less thing to worry about in the run-up to Christmas and at the start of the new year.”