Self-assessment tax returns are a crucial part of the UK’s tax system and are required annually for anyone who is self-employed, as well as for those who earn income from sources other than their employment. If you fall into any of these categories, then you must register and file your self-assessment tax return every year, and in this article, we’ll guide you through the process.
Registering for Self-Assessment
The first step in filing your self-assessment tax return is to register online with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). To register, you’ll need to provide your personal details, including your name, date of birth, and contact information. You’ll also need to provide your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which is a ten-digit number that HMRC assigns to you once you’ve registered with them. You can find your UTR on any previous self-assessment tax returns or tax documents you have received. You can also refer to our page all about UTR codes here
If you’re new to self-employment, or if you’ve recently started receiving income from sources other than your employment, then you’ll need to register as soon as possible. HMRC requires you to register within the first six months of the tax year (that is, by October 5th) if you’re self-employed or have received income from sources other than your employment between April 6th and April 5th.
Filing Your Self-Assessment Tax Return
Once you’ve registered with HMRC for self-assessment, you’ll need to file your tax return every year. The deadline for filing tax returns online is January 31st of the following tax year. For example, if you’re filing a tax return for the 2022/23 tax year, the deadline for filing your return is January 31st, 2024.
If however you are filing your tax return via post, known as paper tax returns this will need to be completed by the 31st of October 2023.
You can file your tax return online via the HMRC website or by completing a paper form. The online form is usually the easiest and quickest option, as HMRC will pre-fill some sections of the form based on the information they have on file. To file online, you’ll need to create a Government Gateway account, which is a secure area of the HMRC website where you can manage your tax affairs.
It’s important to note that the information you provide on your self-assessment tax return must be accurate and complete. Failure to file a tax return or providing incorrect or incomplete information can result in penalties and interest charges.
Paying Your Tax Bill
If you owe tax on the income you’ve received, you must pay the amount due by January 31st of the following tax year. If you file your return late, then you may face additional penalties and interest charges. To pay your tax bill, you can use a variety of payment methods, including online, by phone, or by cheque.
In conclusion, filing a self-assessment tax return may seem daunting, but it is an essential process that ensures you remain compliant with UK tax laws. By registering and filing your tax return in a timely and accurate manner, you can avoid penalties and ensure you only pay what you owe.