January 2017 newsletter
Welcome to the first regular newsletter for 2017 from the Tax Guide for Students (TGFS) website. The purpose of the newsletter is to highlight any topical tax issues which may affect students, apprentices and student money advisers.
In this newsletter we discuss what to do if you should have submitted your self assessment tax return for the 2015/16 tax year, the issue of scam texts and emails from HMRC, and the proposed new postgraduate doctoral student loan. We also link to recent news articles from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG).
Don’t forget it’s National Student Money Week on 6-12 February and student organisations such as NASMA will be providing information on student finances.
Missed the self- assessment tax return deadline?
Not everyone has to complete a self assessment tax return, and the TGFS website explains why you may need to file a tax return. If you were meant to file a tax return for the 2015/16 then the usual filing date is the 31 January 2017. If you miss the filing date then you will receive a late filing penalty unless there is a reasonable excuse as to why you were unable to file your tax return on time. The LITRG website explains more about what HMRC consider a reasonable excuse and how you can appeal against a late-filing penalty.
Scams and phishing
Unfortunately, at this time of year there are often emails and texts which look like they may be from HMRC but if they are asking for personal, credit or banking details so they can provide you with a tax refund then they will be fraudulent phishing emails. If you are unsure about whether the email or text is genuinely from HMRC then the GOV.UK website has an up-to-date list of how they will contact you regarding your tax affairs.
New Postgraduate Doctoral loans
The Department for Education (DfE) has recently consulted on proposed new postgraduate doctoral loans for students resident in England starting from the September 2018 academic year. Eligible students will be able to borrow up to £25,000 to assist with their costs of studying over a period of up to six years. LITRG has submitted comments to the DfE on the repayment mechanism of the proposed loans through the tax system, making recommendations which would help both loan borrowers and their employers.
9 January: New LITRG guide to HMRC’s online services
19 January: HMRC offer webinars on self assessment