Wharfedale’s small businesses are being advised to file their self-assessment tax returns as quickly as possible.

The deadline for self-assessment returns is the end of this month.

Otley-based tax specialist Andrew Thornton, who runs TaxAssist Accountants, said: “Local businesses must submit their online tax returns by January 31 or face an on-the-spot penalty of £100 for filing even a day late, even if they have no tax to pay or have paid the tax they owe.

“Filing early doesn’t mean you have to pay any tax due early, but if you are due a refund HMRC will return this to you sooner.

“Make sure it’s you that earns the interest on any tax refunds, not the taxman.”

He added that the £100 late payment penalty is now automatic, while returns which are three months late face an additional £10 a day penalty up to £900.