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Personal Tax return – Quick guide to Self Assessment tax returns

When do I need to do a self assessment tax return (personal tax return)?

The most common cases when you need to submit a personal tax return are:

  •  You were a director of a limited company during a personal tax year.
  •  If you are a member of a partnership.
  • A minister of religion (any faith).
  • A name or member of Lloyd’s.
  • Being registered as self-employed.
  • Worked through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
  • You were a High-Income Earner and the HMRC sent you a Self Assessment tax return to complete.
  • You have Taxable rental income (Gross income received less expenses incurred) of £2,500.00 or more.
  • You have made taxable capital gains during a year, i.e. you have sold a second house, sold shares or an investment.

How to complete your return

A Self Assessment tax return is a very specific document/return that the HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue and Customs) wants you to complete. You can complete it online or you can fill in a paper return. There are different deadlines if you submit the return online or if you post it as a paper copy.

Posting your Self Assessment tax return to the HMRC

To post your Self Assessment tax return to the HMRC, it needs to be with HMRC by the 31st October following the end of the personal tax year. The end of the personal tax year is the 05 of April every year. Hence you need to post a paper copy to the HMRC by the 31st of October 2015 for the tax year that ended on the 5th of April 2014.

I would suggest you post the personal tax return with registered mail so that you have proof you posted it to the HMRC in time.

Submit your return online

If you want to submit the return online, you need to do this on or before the 31st of January (effectively a 3-month extension). Before you can submit your return online, you will need to apply with the HMRC to get a gateway number and password to be able to access the HMRC online filing system. To sign up for online filing: Register for your HMRC Online Gateway Number.

You will need your UTR (Unique Tax Reference) number to register online. You will find this number on any correspondence you received from the HMRC. It is a 10-digit number which sometimes has the letter “k” at the end i.e. “0123456789 K”.

If you are permanently employed and you have never had to complete a tax return, then the chances are good you won’t have a UTR number yet. If you are not sure if you have a UTR number, you can find out by phoning the Self Assessment Helpline on 08459000444 (Open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

The HMRC will automatically issue a UTR number when you register as self-employed or as CIS, but if you want to submit a tax return and you don’t have a UTR number yet, then you will first need to write a letter to the HMRC requesting that they set you up as self assessed and issue you with a UTR number. Please note that you don’t need a UTR number if you DON’T need to do a personal tax return.

When doing a Self assessment tax return you will declare all your income and all taxes paid to the HMRC. If you post a paper return to the HMRC before the 31st October deadline, then the HMRC will calculate if you owe them any money or if they owe you money.

The benefit of submitting an online personal tax return is that it automatically does a calculation for you and will instantly tell you if you are due money back or if you owe the HMRC tax money.

Need a tax accountant to review your case and advice on further ways you can benefit and save tax based on your current position? Contact us to discuss your tax position.

Birka Bosman
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