Five Questions About: Filing your tax return


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The Independent Online

Do I need to file a self-assessment tax return?

You may already pay tax due on your earnings or pension through your PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax code. But if you have income from other sources, such as stock market investments or property, you may need to fill out a self-assessment tax return. If you are self-employed, a company director, a trustee or have foreign income, you definitely need to fill out a return. If you are unsure, visit

When is the deadline for sending my tax return?

If you file a paper return by post, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) must receive it by 31 October so you are too late for this year. Therefore you will have to file it online, which HMRC must receive by 31 January.

How should I file my tax return?

To submit it online, you must register with HMRC Online Services at It takes seven working days to process.

What are the penalties if I miss the deadline?

Missing the deadline means an automatic, £100 charge. A three-month delay kick-starts daily penalties of £10, to a maximum of £900. File over six months late and you also pay £300 or 5 per cent of the tax due – whichever is higher.

When do I need to pay my tax?

You must pay any outstanding balances for the previous tax year by 31 January as well as the first "payment on account" for the current tax year. The deadline for the second payment on account is 31 July.

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