SMALL firms in Oxfordshire are being urged to complete their online tax returns before Christmas, to avoid snowballing fines.

David Lushington who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Oxford and Abingdon warned: “The deadline for filing online tax returns is January 31, but we’re urging local business owners to tick tax returns off their list before Christmas, so they can enjoy the festive break, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be stung with hefty penalties.”

Mr Lushington added that 840,000 businesses around the country missed this year’s deadline, netting HMRC £84m in fines.

Even those who are just one day late filing a tax return online are hit with a £100 penalty.