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We regularly get ask if people need to complete self-assessment tax returns, so we thought it would be useful to write a little guide to help.

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Unlike some countries it is not compulsory for all individuals to submit a tax return annually.  However, if you meet any of the criteria below then you may need to complete one.

  • Your income exceeds £100,000
  • You are self employed – unless you are currently taking advantage of the £1,000 HMRC allowance
  • You are the partner of a business partnership
  • You are a company director
  • You are retired and receiving pension income
  • You have a rental property
  • You have overseas income
  • You or your partner received child benefit and your income is over £50,000
  • You receive any other income outside of PAYE – such as bank interest received, dividend income, trust income, capital gains

This list is not exhaustive and HMRC may decide they want you to complete a tax return for other reasons.

Still unsure if you need to complete a return?

You can contact us for advice, or why not try the interactive tool on the HMRC website.


  1. HMRC have sent me a notice to complete a tax return, what happens if I don’t file one?

 Answer – If HMRC have issued a notice and you don’t complete a return then you will get a penalty.  If you think a notice has been issued in error you need to call HMRC and ask them the remove it.  Once you register for self-assessment you will remain in the system until HMRC agree otherwise.

2. How do I register for Self-Assessment?

Answer – If you are self-employed, then you can register to complete a tax return here.

 If you need to register for any other reason, then you can complete the online SA1 form here – there is also a paper copy available.

  1. What happens once I have registered for Self-Assessment?

Answer – Once you have registered online or via the paper forms, HMRC will write to you with a notice to file a tax return.  The letter will have a 10 digit number on it, this is what you will need to be able to file the return. 

 You can register with HMRC and use their free software to prepare your return, or we are more than happy to help.  Please note that you cannot use the HMRC software if you have foreign income.

  1. What deadlines do I need to be aware of?

Answer – the UK tax year ends on 5 April each year.  Your tax return needs to be submitted by 31 October of the same year, if you are filing a paper copy. If you are going to file online, then you have until 31 January the following year.

Example: Year end 5 April 2018

Paper filing date: 31 October 2018

Online filing date: 31 January 2019


Can’t find your question in the FAQ?  Drop us an email and we will be happy to help

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