How to fill in your self-assessment tax return online – The Sun
THE SELF-ASSESSMENT tax return deadline is looming, so if you haven't already, you'll need to take action.
Brits were lucky this year as the deadline was extended – but only until today.
This year, HMRC extended the self-assessment deadline from January 31 to February 28.
It gave tax payers four extra weeks to file taxes without facing a minimum late filing fee of £100.
But now that that time is quickly slipping away, we explain how to file your taxes with ease and avoid facing penalties for missing the deadline.
And you do need to be quick as that £100 could quickly increase to £1,000 if you don't sort it out within three months.
If you haven't yet filled in yours yet though, there's no need to panic.
You'll have to file your taxes online as the paper deadline passed on October 31, 2021.
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We explain everything you need to do.
Open an online account
If you haven't yet registered for an account, you should do so straight away as this can take some time.
To register for self-assessment, visit the GOV.UK website and complete the identification process.
You'll then be sent an activation code in the post, which can take 10 days in the UK, or 21 days if you're abroad.
Once the code arrives, you need to activate the account within 28 days, otherwise it will expire and you'll need to request another one.
Gather all the information and documents you need
Once you've registered, you'll need to collect all the documents and information you need to be able to complete the tax return.
This includes your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and your National Insurance number.
If you can't find your UTR, you can request a new one here.
The form also includes include bank statements and details of untaxed income from the year, which might involve finding your P60 (if you earned more than £8,500), your P11D (which has information about expenses and benefits), and payslips.
If you're self-employed, you'll need records of your income and receipts for expenses.
You will also need interest statements from banks and building societies, and details of pension contributions made.
If you need third parties to provide you with statements and documents, you should contact them right away as this can take time.
Fill in the form
Once you log in to complete your online tax return, you should begin by checking your personal details.
You should then choose to fill in the sections that fit your circumstances.
With an online tax return, HMRC’s system will react to the answers you give as you put them in.
This might mean, for example, that sections that are not relevant to you are removed.
When filling in the figures, the online system gives reminders about where you can find the information to fill in particular sections.
As a self-assessment taxpayer you need to report everything you’ve earned over the tax year from April 6, 2017 to April 5, 2018.
This includes income from employment, self-employment, income from property, and interest and gains on your savings and investments.
Remember to also claim all the deductions you are entitled to, including gift aid on your charitable contributions and membership costs for zoos and museums.
If you are a member of a professional body that is required for your employment, you can include the cost of the subscription as a deduction.
Those who are self-employed can also claim back the running costs of a car, but not the cost of buying one.
Your tax will be calculated automatically as your fill in the return.
Take your time and double-check your return
Once you've filled in the empty fields, check all your numbers thoroughly before pressing submit.
When filing online, you can save your tax return at any time, so if you need to go away and double check your figures, do so.
When you are happy that everything is correct, you can press send.
If you need to change your tax return after you've filed it, you can do so within 12 months of the original deadline or you can write to HMRC for any changes after that.
If you need help
If you need help with your return, visit the GOV.UK website or call the helpline on 0300 200 3310.
There are HMRC guidance notes and manuals online, but if you're struggling you could seek advice from an accountant or tax adviser.
Consumer group Which? also offers an online self-assessment tool that does the calculations for a tax return and submits it directly to HMRC.
You have to fork out £10 for the service though, or £36 if you're not a member.
If the tax bill is unexpected, check your tax code
If, when you submit your return, you find that the amount of tax due (or any refund of overpaid tax) is not what you expected, the reason may be an incorrect tax code.
If you suspect that the code is incorrect, call HMRC straight away.
This is the only way to rectify the mistake as the code won't be amended automatically as a result of filing the return.
HMRC should issue a new code to you and your employer within a few days.
Pay your bill
Once you’ve submitted your tax return, you will be told how much tax and, if you’re self-employed, National Insurance Contributions (NICs) you will need to pay.
HMRC accepts your payment on the date you make it, not the date it reaches its account – including on weekends.
If you can’t afford your tax bill, you should still file your return, as the fines for late payment are lower than the fines for late filing.
You might also be able to avoid penalties and set up a payment plan to pay in instalments, but you should contact HMRC as soon as possible.
You can do so by calling the Business Payment Support Service on 0300 200 3835.
How much can I be fined for filing my taxes late?
Late filing fees are pretty steep, so make sure you get your self-assessment return in before February 28.
According to HMRC, you'll get a £100 fine for failing to file your return a single day after the deadline.
Then, a £10 daily fine applies every day you don't submit your tax return.
This is capped at 90 days – or £900.
So on top of the initial £100 fee, a £1,000 maximum late filing fine applies.
If you're six months late, there's a further £300 fine or 5% of the money you owe – whichever is higher.
That's on top of the daily £10 charges built up so far, so there's no shortcut to a smaller payment once you're late.
And after 12 months, another £300 or 5% fine applies.
Interest is also added on top of this – and that went up last week, so late payers have even more to fork out now.
If you deliberately haven't filed your tax return, a fine of up to 100% of the tax due could then be sent too.
Martin Lewis reminded employees to check their tax code to avoid being overcharged hundreds of pounds.
Brits have also been warned their national insurance tax rates could be hiked in just another month's time.
And here's how you may be able to claim a council tax rebate worth hundreds of pounds.
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