Tax returns – do you need to complete one?
With the festive season upon us, we are often so busy that jobs such as completing your tax return are put to the bottom of the list. Hopefully this article can help point you in the right direction and may result in you not needing to file a tax return after all.
Does everyone need to complete a tax return?
No, normally you only need to complete a self assessment tax return if you have received a notice from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), for example, if you are self-employed or receive rental income. However, it is your responsibility to notify HMRC if you are earning income which should be included on a self assessment tax return – if you are unsure then there is a tool on GOV.UK which may assist you in deciding whether you need to complete a return. If this tool shows that you need to complete a tax return, then the fact that you have not received a notice from HMRC is not an excuse for not completing one. It is also a good idea to check that HMRC have your correct contact details and that a notice to file a tax return has not gone astray, for example to a previous address.
If you have received a notice from HMRC to file a tax return but you do not think you have any income which falls under self assessment then contact HMRC as they will be able to confirm whether you need to still complete one. Do not just ignore it, though, as that could lead to penalties being charged, even if there is no tax to pay.
When does my tax return need to be filed by?
If you do need to complete a tax return then firstly work out which tax year your income relates to. The tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April, so if you earned rental income from September 2013 then the income from September 2013 to 5 April 2014 would fall into the 2013/14 tax year. The 2013/14 tax return would usually need to be filed online by 31 January 2015; the filing date for the paper tax return was 31 October 2014. There is further information on filing deadlines on the TGFS website. If you have never filed your tax return online then you need to register to receive your log in details. Make sure you do this well in advance of the deadline as it can take a few weeks to obtain the correct electronic registration details.
What happens if I do not file my tax return by the deadline?
Unfortunately if you do not submit your tax return by the filing date, usually 31st January 2015, then, as noted above, you will be charged a late-filing penalty – even if there is no additional tax to pay! There is more information on penalties on the TGFS website including how you may appeal against a late filing penalty.
Where can I get help with completing my tax return?
There is further information on the TGFS website to assist you with completing your tax return whether you are self-employed, receive rental income or savings income. GOV.UK also has a section on self assessment. If you need to speak to HMRC call their Self assessment helpline.