Are you a self-employed salon owner, a freelance hairdresser or therapist, or do you rent-a-chair? Perhaps you’ve started a new hair or beauty business in the last 12 months?

Just a quick reminder to file your online tax return, and pay the tax you owe, before Saturday 31st January 2015 or you’ll find yourself with an automatic £100 penalty.

Late tax return penalties

We all hate tax returns and paying our dues, but playing Ostrich won’t help. It’ll just cost you more.

  • One day late means an automatic £100 fine.
  • Three months late costs you a further £10 for each additional day that you are late (potentially £900 in fines).
  • Six months late and HMRC fine you all of the above penalties plus £300 or 5% of tax due (whichever is higher).
  • One year late means yet another £300 or 5% of tax due (whichever is higher).

Don’t leave your tax return to the last minute

HMRC advises, “You need to file your 2013/14 tax return online, and pay what you owe, by 31st January. But it’s best to do it now, to allow plenty of time to sort out any issues with your return. That way, you’ll avoid the busy period for our phone lines as the deadline approaches.”

The 31st falls on a Saturday this year – the busiest day of the working week for most hair and beauty businesses. You’ve got until midnight on the 31st to file and pay, but it’s cutting it fine (sorry for pun) and the taxman doesn’t listen to excuses.

Excuses for not filing your return

In a rare moment of frivolity the taxman has revealed his top 10 worst (and apparently genuine) excuses for missing the 31st January tax return deadline.

  • My pet dog ate my tax return… and all the reminders.
  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal.
  • I fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
  • Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.
  • I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs (my favourite!)
  • A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.
  • I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.
  • My girlfriend’s pregnant.
  • I was in Australia.

Where to get help on filing and paying your tax by 31st January

Self-employed hairdressers and beauty therapists can also help and advice on filing their tax return on the GOV.UK website or the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. 8am to 4pm on Saturday). Just remember the lines get very busy in January so be prepared for a long wait.