file self assessment tax returns

How to File Self Assessment Tax Return

It's that time of the year again! The time when you sit down and start filling out your Self-Assessment Tax Return. For many people, it can be a challenging task, but it doesn't have to be. In this blog post, we will walk you through the entire process of filing your Self-Assessment Tax Return. From understanding what Self-Assessment is and who needs to file it, to registering for Self-Assessment and knowing the self assessment tax return deadline, we've got you covered.


Chris Andreou

What is Self-Assessment?

Self-Assessment is the process through which individuals and self-employed professionals report taxable income and expenses to HMRC. This method ensures you pay the correct amount of tax based on your earnings. To get started, you need to register for self-assessment and receive a tax bill and activation code. The form includes personal details, income, allowable expenses, and supplementary pages. In 2019, Making Tax Digital (MTD) was introduced for self-assessment. Self assessment is submitted either by filling out a paper form or completed one online via the HMRC website.

Understanding Self-Assessment Tax Return

A Self-Assessment Tax Return is a process used in the United Kingdom for individuals, self-employed professionals, and some business owners to report their income, expenses, and other financial details to HMRC. It is a way for taxpayers to calculate their own tax liability, ensuring they pay the correct amount of income tax and other taxes owed. By completing the self-assessment tax return, you can calculate your self assessment bill accurately, claim any income tax relief you may be eligible for, and make deductions for student loan repayments.

Here's how the Self-Assessment Tax Return works:

  1. Reporting Income: Taxpayers must declare all sources of income, which can include earnings from employment, self-employment, rental income, dividends, and more.
  2. Deducting Expenses: Taxpayers can deduct allowable expenses related to their income. These deductions reduce the taxable amount.
  3. Calculating Tax Liability: After reporting income and allowable deductions, the taxpayer calculates their tax liability based on the applicable tax rates.
  4. Payment of Tax: If the taxpayer owes additional tax, they are required to make a payment to HMRC. If they have overpaid, they may receive a tax refund.
  5. Filing and Deadlines: The Self-Assessment Tax Return must be submitted to HMRC either online or on paper, depending on eligibility. The deadline for filing the return is typically January 31st following the end of the tax year.
  6. Penalties: Failing to submit the tax return by the deadline or providing inaccurate information can result in penalties and interest charges.

Who Needs to File a Self-Assessment Tax Return?

Individuals who are self-employed, sole traders, limited companies, or landlords, as well as those with untaxed income, second homes, or taxable benefits, need to file a Self-Assessment Tax Return.

  • Self-employed
  • A sole trader
  • Individual with more than one jobs
  • A partner in a business partnership
  • A company director
  • Receiving untaxed income, such as rental income or foreign income
  • People claiming child benefits who have earned above a certain amount
  • Anyone who receives a P800 form saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year
  • Receiving taxable income from savings, investments, properties or dividends
  • your taxable income is over £100,000

How to Register for Self-assessment Tax Return?

  • If you are submitting a tax return for the first time or you’ve sent a tax return in the past but did not send one last tax year, your first step is to register for Self Assessment. The registration process may vary depending on your tax status, such as whether you're self-employed, need to declare income, or are part of a partnership.
  • Once you've completed the registration, you'll receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which is a unique identification number.
  • For those looking to submit their Self Assessment form online, the next step is to create a Government Gateway account. To do this, simply follow the instructions provided in the letter that contains your UTR.
  • After successfully setting up your Gateway account, you'll receive an activation code via post. You'll need to use this code to finalize the setup of your Gateway account.
  • If you've filed Self Assessment tax returns in the past, you'll need your previous UTR to register and create your Gateway account.

What is Needed to Fill in a Self Assessment Tax Return?

  • 10 digit unique taxpayer reference (UTR) number
  • Your name and address
  • Your national insurance number
  • details of your untaxed income from the tax year, including income from self-employment, dividends, interest on shares and other benefits
  • Records of any expenses relating to self-employment
  • Information about capital gains tax, student loan deductions, taxable income, untaxed income, second home, and taxable benefits.
  • Details of any contributions to charity or pensions that might be eligible for tax relief
  • P60 or other records showing how much income you received that you’ve already paid tax on
  • Bank account details for tax refunds and payment of the tax bill

How Do I Fill in a Self Assessment Tax Return?

A Self Assessment tax return consists of two sections. The primary section is the SA100, which covers:

  • Taxed and untaxed income, such as dividends and interest
  • Pension contributions
  • Charitable donations
  • Benefits, including State Pension, Child Benefit, and Blind Person's Allowance

If you have income to report as a company director, if you're a foreign national or dual resident, or if you earn income from self-employment, property, Capital Gains, or abroad, you'll also be required to complete an additional supplementary page.

If you’re:

  • self-employed, it's page SA103
  • reporting property income, it's page SA105
  • declaring capital gains, it's page SA108.

In these pages, you’ll need to report income from these sources that you haven’t paid tax on.

You should also declare any allowable expenses, which will be deducted from your tax bill.

Self-Assessment Tax Return Deadline

Knowing the Deadlines for Self-Assessment Tax Return:

  • Paper tax returns to be submitted by midnight 31 October
  • Online tax returns to be submitted by midnight 31 January
  • Pay the tax you owe by midnight 31 January

It's crucial to meet this deadline as penalties for missing it can be significant. Late filing incurs penalties, interest, and may even lead to a tax investigation.

Important Dates to Remember

It's crucial to keep track of the important dates for your self assessment tax return. The deadline for online filing is on the 31st January of the tax year. Make sure you also pay your tax bill by this date. If you choose to file a paper return, the deadline is on the 31st October of the tax year. If your self-assessment tax bill exceeds a certain threshold, you have the option to pay in instalments. Remember, you can make amendments to your tax return before the end of the tax year.

Penalties for Missing Deadlines

Missing the deadline for filing your tax return can result in penalties. Even if you don't owe any tax, you may still be charged £100. The longer you delay, the higher the penalties. There are additional penalties for delays of more than three, six, and 12 months. Late payment of tax also incurs interest charges. Moreover, filing your tax return after the deadline increases the risk of a tax investigation. To avoid missing deadlines, you can set up online reminders for self-assessment.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) - Transforming the Way Taxes Are Managed

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a transformative initiative by HMRC in the United Kingdom that aims to modernize and streamline the process of tax management and reporting. MTD represents a shift from traditional paper-based tax returns to a digital, more efficient system that enhances accuracy, reduces errors, and simplifies the tax compliance process for individuals and businesses. By April 2024, income tax filing for self-employed business owners and landlords must be made digitally.

Paying Your Self Assessment Tax Bill

When you’ve submitted your Self Assessment tax return, you’ll be told how much tax and National Insurance contributions (if you’re self-employed) you’ll need to pay.

To ensure a smooth tax filing process, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the payment deadline for your self-assessment tax bill. Choose from various payment methods such as debit card, credit card, online banking, or telephone banking. If required, make the first payment in advance for the tax year in question. Late payments may result in additional tax charges and penalties. The HMRC website provides guidance on additional payment options like post office payment.

Different Methods to Pay Your Tax Bill

There are several convenient and secure methods available to pay your self-assessment tax bill. You can make an online payment through the HMRC website, use online banking services for a direct transfer, or pay by debit card, credit card, or corporate credit card. Additionally, telephone banking is another option, following the instructions provided by the HMRC. If online payment is not feasible, you can consider using post office payment services for a paper-based method.

Paying Tax Bill in Installments

Yes, it is possible to make tax payments in installments. However, it's important to note that these installments are considered as an advance on your upcoming tax bill.

You have the option to set up what is known as a "budget payment plan" through your online account. This allows you to decide the amount you wish to pay on a weekly or monthly basis. Additionally, you have the flexibility to pause payments for a period of up to six months.

There is one key requirement: you must be up-to-date with your previous tax year payments to be eligible for this installment plan.

It's worth mentioning that you cannot use this installment method to pay off a previous tax bill; it is solely intended for managing future tax obligations in an organized and convenient manner.

Getting Professional Help for Filing Self-Assessment Tax Return

Hiring a tax accountant ensures accurate and timely filing of your self-assessment tax return. These professionals possess in-depth knowledge of tax laws and regulations, reducing the risk of errors, penalties, and tax audits. With their expertise, tax accountants can maximize your tax savings by identifying allowable expenses. They also provide valuable guidance in completing the self-assessment form. When it comes to navigating the complexities of self-assessment, seeking professional help can make a significant difference.

When should you consider hiring an accountant?

Considering hiring an accountant is beneficial if you have self-employment income or capital gains, lack knowledge of tax laws and deductions, want to ensure accuracy and avoid penalties, prefer to delegate the tax filing process, or want to maximize tax savings with professional tax planning.

How GoForma Can Help?

At GoForma, we understand the complexities of self-assessment tax returns. Our experienced team can guide you through the process, ensuring accuracy and compliance with HMRC regulations. We offer tailored services, making your tax journey hassle-free. Check out our Google and Trustpilot reviews to see what our satisfied clients say about us.

Ready to Simplify Your Self Assessment Tax Return?

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