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Fergus will be back on the John Beattie Show on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday just after the 1pm news with some great tips to help organise your money and understand your consumer rights. This week he'll be looking at the best way to spring clean your finances at the beginning of a new tax year. Catch up on previous shows here

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The Tax Clock is Ticking

We’re now well into October and we’re approaching the end-of-the-month deadline for the submission of paper tax returns to HMRC. Of course the deadline is for returns to be RECEIVED by HMRC, not SENT to HMRC.  There is a difference!

And it is a difference that could cost you a £100 fine! That’s the automatic penalty you will be hit with if HMRC ask you to complete a Tax Return and you don’t comply.

Having said that, if you miss the 31st October deadline you still have until the 31st January to submit an online return.

There are lots of advantages to sending your tax return online:

• Online tax returns are processed faster than paper returns and any money you are owed is repaid to you more quickly than if you file on paper

• You get an immediate online acknowledgement as soon as your completed tax return is received

• It is safe and secure

• Your tax is worked out automatically as you complete the form so you know what you owe or are owed right away

• Any money you are owed is repaid to you more quickly than if you file on paper

• Filing online is convenient and can be done at any time of day or night

• You can monitor your Self Assessment ‘account’ online – this includes statements of your payment history and what you currently owe or are owed

• You can save your data safely and return to it later, this means you can complete your Tax Return at your own pace, just as long as you meet the deadline of 31 January

• It’s easy to store your completed return online and you can also print out a copy for your records

I know that not everyone is comfortable filling in these things online so if you prefer to complete a paper return and send it don’t forget:

• HMRC needs to have your return by 31st October or it could cost you £100

• Keep a paper copy of your return before sending it

Remember too that you don’t always complete a tax return because you owe HMRC money. It could be the case that you have paid too much tax or you have allowances or expenses that you need to claim for. In these situations completing a return will result in HMRC sending you money so it is in your interest to get it done on time!

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60 Second Tips

In a brand new series listen to and watch Fergus Muirhead here as he explains common money and consumer issues in less than one minute.
This series will build up over the next few months into a valuable library of money and consumer tips, all delivered in a simple and straightforward way.

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