Topics: deadlines, Outsourcing, self-assessment tax season, Tax, Tax preparation

Client Missed the Self Assessment Deadline? Accountants, Here’s What You Can Do!

4 MIN READ | Posted on February 16, 2024
Written By Pooja Kshirsagar

Dealing with missed Self Assessment deadline

Last-minute clients are a common occurrence for accountants during the Self Assessment season. Many clients wait until January, just days before the 31st January deadline, to request tax preparation services. Some even procrastinate until the last day, risking missed deadlines.

Have you encountered this situation? Has a client ever missed a deadline and turned to you for help? While it may be tempting to dismiss such requests, these clients trust your expertise. So, what should you do?

If you’re facing this dilemma right now, we’re here to assist! In this blog, we’ll explore the repercussions of missing the Self Assessment deadline and how you, as an accountant, can support your clients. From managing HMRC communications to outsourcing tax preparation, we’ll discuss how to navigate this challenging situation.

The Implications of Missing the 31st January Deadline

HMRC mandates that all self-employed individuals in the UK must submit their Self Assessment tax return for the previous year by January 31st. Failure to meet this deadline results in penalties.

Initially, HMRC imposes a £100 penalty for missing the filing deadline by three months. For further delays, an additional penalty of £10 per day is applied, up to a maximum of £900 (or 90 days). If the Self Assessment return is six months late, the penalty increases to £300.

After the delay, your client will receive a penalty notice from HMRC. They may then seek your assistance to file the return, avoid penalties, and manage communications with HMRC.

So, Your Client Has Approached You for Help. Now What?

It’s common for individuals to seek expert assistance upon receiving a notice from HMRC. These individuals likely missed the deadline due to a genuine emergency, such as illness or the death of a loved one, or because they had complex returns they couldn’t manage themselves and postponed until the last minute.

As an expert, you’re expected to step in and handle the situation effectively. Here’s how you can help.

1. Calm the Situation

It’s natural for individuals to panic upon missing the deadline, but it’s not the end of the world. Talk to your clients, reassure them, and understand the reason behind the delay. Emphasise the importance of outsourcing tax preparation and its implications on their financial well-being.

2. Explain the Process

If your client needs your professional expertise, they likely aren’t aware of the next steps. Educate them about the penalty structure, HMRC communications, and what to expect next. When clients understand the process, they are better equipped to cooperate and navigate the situation.

3. File the Late Return Quickly

Okay, so your client has missed the deadline, and the damage is done. The priority now is to file the Self Assessment return as soon as possible, ideally within 14 days of the missed deadline. If your client can file it themselves, encourage them to do so immediately. If they rely on you to file, ensure they provide all necessary documents promptly.

4. Estimate Figures if Necessary

Some clients have complex financial situations, making it challenging to gather precise figures quickly. In such cases, it’s acceptable to use estimated figures based on the previous year’s numbers. Just ensure to indicate on the SA100 tax return form that the return contains estimated figures and specify when the return will be amended with actual figures.

5. Appeal the Late Filing Penalty (If Your Client Has a Valid Reason)

If your client has a valid reason for missing the deadline, they can appeal the penalty. Valid reasons include critical illness, disability, death of a loved one, serious software malfunctions, or disruptions with HMRC’s online services. File the appeal on behalf of your client, but be aware that HMRC may require proof, and there’s no guarantee the penalty will be waived.

Need Help? Partner with Us!

Preparing and filing a late Self Assessment tax return can be challenging, especially for clients with complex income and expenses. If you need assistance with paperwork or other accounting tasks, QX Accounting Services is here to help.

As a market leader in outsourcing, we have supported over 500 accountancy practices with outsourced accounting and tax preparation for 20 years. Our dedicated team of experts specialises in ever-changing regulations and has successfully filed over 10,000 tax returns. Discover what our clients say about us: Client testimonials | QXAS

To learn how we can assist you, schedule a no-obligation discovery call with our experts here. Alternatively, you can reach us via email at [email protected] or call us directly at +44 208 146 0808.

Outsourcing: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is Outsourcing Tax Functions?

Outsourcing tax functions involves hiring external professionals or firms to handle tax-related tasks such as tax preparation, filing, and compliance. This allows accountants to focus on value-adding activities while ensuring their tax obligations are met efficiently and accurately.

2. Does Outsourcing Tax Increase Revenue?

Outsourcing tax can indirectly increase revenue by improving tax compliance, reducing errors, and freeing up internal resources for revenue-generating activities. However, the direct impact on revenue depends on various factors such as the efficiency of the outsourcing provider and the overall tax strategy of the business.

Book a Free Consultation

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you want our team to help you resolve talent gaps, reduce costs and transform your business operations, just book a call.


With a rich experience of curating content for various industries, Pooja believes in the power of words in marketing and building brands. She enjoys experimenting with different forms of content and is currently on a mission to add value to the accounting industry through her detailed and researched write-ups.

Pooja Kshirsagar

With a rich experience of curating content for various industries, Pooja believes in the power of words in marketing and building brands. She enjoys experimenting with different forms of content and is currently on a mission to add value to the accounting industry through her detailed and researched write-ups.

Unauthorized copying or plagiarism of our content is a violation of intellectual property rights. We take such matters seriously and will pursue legal action to protect our original work. Anyone found engaging in such activities will be held accountable under applicable laws.

Originally published Feb 16, 2024 02:02:34, updated Feb 16 2024

Topics: deadlines, Outsourcing, self-assessment tax season, Tax, Tax preparation

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