How to complete your self-assessment tax return online

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Photograph of woman staring intently at computer to illustrate self-assessment tax return

The deadline for submitting an online self-assessment tax return is coming up fast. Here’s everything you need to know about making sure you get your financial information filed with HMRC by the end of January

The deadline for filing a self-assessment tax return online to HMRC is 31 January 2017, but who needs to complete one and what do you need to do? The IoD’s Information and Advisory Service (IAS) has all the answers…

Do I need to file a tax return?

If you are self-employed, in a business partnership or a paid company director, you will need to complete a tax return. You will also need to file one if you have income over £100,000; you have pre-tax investment income of £10,000 or more; you need to claim expenses or reliefs in excess of £2,500; you receive child benefit and your income is over £50,000; you are a minister of religion; you’re a name at insurance market Lloyd’s of London; or you are a taxpayer who receives untaxed income.

It is your responsibility to ask HMRC for a tax return if you have income or profits to declare – even if you have not received a form or notification.

How do I file a self-assessment tax return?

You will need to fill in the SA100 form online via HMRC’s website (the deadline for filing a paper return was 31 October 2016). If you have filed a self-assessment before, HMRC will automatically send you a reminder each year. 

As long as you have a record of your finances, including receipts and expenses, you shouldn’t have a problem filing a return, although some individuals prefer to pay an accountant to fill in the forms for them. HMRC will calculate the amount of tax you owe and  inform you immediately.

What are the deadlines for filing my return?

There is a fixed filing date for online submissions – 31 January. But you will need to submit your return by 30 December if you owe less than £3,000 and want HMRC to collect the tax due by reducing your PAYE code for the next year. If you do not meet the deadline date, you will be fined £100.

This fine will be increased if the tax return is not submitted within three months, and will increase again after six and 12 months.

What if I make a mistake on my tax return?

Should you make an error with your return, you will be able to update it at any time within 12 months of the fixed filing date. If you need to change something on your return after the 12-month period, you will need to contact HMRC.

And remember, if you need any advice, IoD members receive up to 25 free calls a year to the tax helpline.

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Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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