Self-assessment deadline looming

Self-assessment deadline looming – don’t miss the 31 January deadline

If you need to file a tax return online and you haven’t yet registered online to do so, act now to make sure you don’t miss the 31 January deadline.

You have until 11:59pm on 31 January to send a completed online self-assessment tax return for the 2016/17 tax year, which ended 5 April 2017, to HMRC.  If you miss the deadline you’ll be fined, this applies even if you don’t owe any tax or are due a refund.

You need to be registered to complete it online, if you haven’t previously registered to complete returns online, be aware that it can take HMRC up to seven working days to send you an activation code, so do this now to avoid missing the deadline.

Not registering in time is not a valid excuse for missing the deadline.

Do I need to file a return?

If your tax is deducted by your employer, you usually don’t need to submit a form unless you get additional income from a second job or freelance work.

If HMRC has asked you to complete a tax return but you don’t think you need to, tell it as soon as possible. You’ll have to pay a penalty if you simply don’t send one in.

If you haven’t received a notification, you should get in touch with HMRC if you fall into one of the following categories, as it’s likely you’ll need to file a return:

  • You’re self-employed
  • You’re a partner in a business partnership
  • You’re a company director
  • Your annual income is £100,000 or more
  • You have income from property
  • You have income from savings or investments that has been taxed and was £10,000 or more before you paid tax on it
  • You have income from savings or investments that hasn’t been taxed and is £2,500 or more (bank account interest is usually taxed automatically)
  • You need to claim expenses or reliefs
  • You or your partner receive child benefit and your income is more than £50,000
  • You get income from overseas
  • You have income from trusts, settlements or estates
  • You have capital gains tax to pay
  • You’ve lived or worked abroad or don’t live in the UK permanently
  • You’re a trustee

Can I file by paper?

The deadline for filing paper returns passed in October, so don’t do it that way or you’ll definitely be fined.

What must I pay in my return?

As well as any 2016/17 tax owing, most self-assessment payers must also pay the first half of what’s called a ‘payment on account’ for the 2017/18 tax year.  This is half the total expected tax due for 2014/15, which is estimated based on what you earnt and paid in tax the previous year.  If you don’t think you will earn as much money, you can ask for your payments on account to be reduced, but you will have to give a valid reason, such as an expected drop in profits or a change in circumstances.