In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to fill in your tax return online, one of the most important self assessment forms when you become self-employed to help you beat the HMRC deadline.
The deadline for filing your tax return online is 31 January, following the end of the tax year. A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April. So your 2019/2020 self assessment form return is due by 31 January 2021.
There are strict penalties for failing to file your tax return on time, which increase the longer you leave it and even though may be able to appeal against penalties if you have a reasonable excuse, HMRC isn’t very generous with what they consider reasonable.
You can send in your tax return at any time once the tax year ends, but don’t worry you won’t need to pay your tax until the 31 January. Some people prefer to get it done as soon as possible so they have plenty of time to fill in their tax return or they know they are due a tax refund and want to get the money back.
You tax return will appear in your .GOV account automatically once you have registered as self-employed. You can login via your personal tax account to find it.
Getting all the documents you need ready in advance will make completing your tax return quicker and easier. You’ll only need documents that are relevant to the tax year you are filing your return for. Here’s a list of the things that you may need:
You’ll need to start completing your return by filling out the “Tell Us About You” section. This section is your chance to check HMRC have the right personal information about you and for you make any corrections necessary, like a change of address. It will be pre-populated if HMRC has any of the information on their system already, but it still pays to check that everything is correct.
Some boxes like phone number and email address are optional, so it is up to you whether you want to provide it. But it can be useful to add them in case HMRC need to contact you. Make sure that you:
Once completed you’ll move onto the tailor your return section where you tell HMRC about your different earnings and remove any sections of the tax return that are not relevant to you.
You’ll need to work your way through confirming what types of income you have received for example self-employment or dividends and the income tax reliefs you’ll planning to claim to reduce your tax bill.
Once you have tailored your online tax return to your personal circumstances, it’s time to start inputting the numbers. You’ll notice that many of the sections have a cross next to it, the aim to get all ticks.
If you were employed you’ll need to enter your income from your P45 or P60, completing more than one employment section if you had more than one employer during the tax year.
on the online tax return you’ll be presented with the self-employment section if you have become self employed, are a sub-contractor under the CIS scheme or a registered foster carer.
The first thing you’ll need to do is calculate your business turnover because if it is less than £85,000 then you’ll be able to complete the short-form self-employment section, which requires less information. Next, you’ll need to have your business expenses ready and then decide what tax reliefs like capital allowances and loss reliefs you want to claim.
If you or your partner earn between £50,000 and £60,000, including through self-employment, then you’ll need to pay back any child benefit you have received in the form of an income tax payment. You can choose to do this by electing to stop receiving child benefit payments or paying the high-income tax charge by filling out a tax return.
This charge claws back child benefits paid at a rate of 1% for every £100 you earn over £50,000. That means once your income reaches £60,000 you will not receive any child benefit.
You can pay your self-assessment tax bill online in a variety of ways including by direct debit, bank transfer and with a debit card. If you want to pay by bank transfer, then you’ll find the bank details on the HMRC website.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you use your UTR number as the reference for your payment so it gets allocated to your account correctly.
These start at an immediate £100, rising the longer you leave it. There will also be interest charged on any late payments of tax.
If you are due a tax refund, you’ll need to let HMRC know that you want a repayment and enter your bank details. Once this is done, it can take up to 4 weeks for HMRC to process your refund and send it back to you.
If you have a question for HMRC about registering or the self-assessment then contact HMRC on 0300 200 3310.