Is one regarded as sinful for delaying the paying of zakat to such an extent that a year passes?

Q: My zakat is calculated yearly on 16th Sha’ban. This year for example, it was £500. My habit is to split the £500 into 11 monthly payments. My aim is to pay the zakat £500 before the next years Sha’ban. However, sometimes I budget and maybe miss a few months. Thus for example by 16th Shaban i calculate my zakat and add the missing months from the previous year, thus carry over the outstanding zakat debt from the previous year. If I carry this over, am I regarded as sinful? Or is it a must to pay by Sha’ban each year.

الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب

A: Once your zakat falls due on 16th Sha’ban you should pay it as soon as possible.  To delay it without valid reason is a sin even if the delay is for a little while and most definitely if a year has lapsed.   Thus you should not wait until the next Sha’ban but rather discharge it as soon as possible.  Any delay without valid reason is a sin.

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