Completing your self-assessment tax return

It’s that time of year again – self-assessment season. 

Although the 31 January deadline for online submissions might seem a long way off, now is the perfect time to get started so you’re not rushing around in the new year.

Do you have to send a tax return? 

It’s not just self-employed people and partnerships who need to send a tax return.  

Some of the other circumstances when you need to send a tax return include:

  • you earned £2,500 or more in untaxed income
  • your taxable income was more than £100,000
  • you had income from savings, investments or dividends of £10,000 or more before tax
  • either your income or your partner’s income was more than £50,000 and you claimed child benefit.

If you’re not sure whether you need to send a tax return, get in touch and we’ll talk it through. 

Get your paperwork in order 

Find you unique taxpayer reference 

You’ll need to include this 10-digit code on your tax return. HMRC will have sent it to you when you registered for self-assessment or you can also find it on correspondence from HMRC.

Records 

Records of income, investments and expenses will help you fill in your tax return accurately. HMRC might ask to see your records should they decide to check your tax return, so it’s important to keep them after you’ve sent your return. 

Don’t worry if you’ve lost anything, you still have time to get duplicates. If you can’t find backup copies you can use provisional figures, but make sure you mention this in the ‘Any other information’ section of your tax return.

Completing your form 

Go through slowly and fill in each section. You can save your progress and return to it later if you want to take a break or need to find some details. 

Paying tax  

The final step is to pay the tax you owe from the previous tax year by 31 January. 

You can see your bill in 2 ways:

Before you send your return - navigate to the ‘view your calculation’ once you’ve filled in your form 

After you’ve sent your return - your bill will appear in your HMRC account (it may take up to 72 hours to appear after sending your return)

There are various ways you can pay including online, over the phone and at your bank. 

Some payment methods, such as cheques, take longer to reach HMRC so you’ll need to factor this in to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.

Payments on account 

If your tax bill is more than £1,000 you will also have to make advance payments towards your next tax bill - known as payments on account

The first payment on account (which is half the bill) is due on 31 January and the other half is due on 31 July. Any outstanding tax will need to be paid by 31 January the following year. 

This means that potentially you will have to pay any tax you owe from the previous tax year and your first payment on account by 31 January. 

Getting ahead with self-assessment will give you more time to organise your finances and make sure you pay your tax on time.  

Talk to us about managing self-assessment.