Halloween may be the main thing you associate with 31st October but for tax payers who opt to submit their return on paper it is also the deadline for filing your self-assessment form for the 2014/15 financial year.
The tax return paper peak…
Despite a big push in recent years to move everyone to digital filing, over one million of the UK’s 11.7 million self-assessment tax payers still prefer to file on paper. Despite having six months to file, every year a large proportion of the paper returns HMRC receive are delivered by hand. Known as the ‘paper peak’ this usually occurs in the week running up to 31st October.
Tax returns can be delivered to any location where there is an HMRC letterbox or where HMRC officers are employed, which includes UK airports. Last year one rather late but quick thinking tax payer reportedly handed in their tax return to an HMRC officer at Heathrow airport at 23:59 on 31st October!
Penalties for late filing
If you fail to submit your return by the paper filing deadline you will be charged a penalty of £100, even if you do not owe any tax. However if you do miss the 31 October deadline, all is not lost as you can still move to the 31 January 2016 electronic filing deadline.
Registering for self-assessment
In order to submit your self-assessment tax return, whether on paper or online, you will need to register with HMRC. For 2014/15 return this was meant to have been done by 5th October. If you haven’t yet registered and are due to file a return this year, don’t worry, as long as you file your return by the final deadline of 31st January 2016 and pay any tax due on time you will not be penalised.
Can I file a paper return if I didn't register with HMRC in time?
If you send a paper return without registering for self-assessment it will be treated by HMRC as an 'unsolicited' return, which is a return received without HMRC giving statutory notice that one is required.
I don’t want to file on paper, how do I file a return online?
To file online, you require a login. To register for a login for the first time, visit the HMRC website. It can take up to 20 working days for HMRC to send you an activation code by post. If you have filed your tax return online in previous years, your login will still be valid.
Do I have to pay my tax bill by 31st October?
The forthcoming 31st October paper filing deadline does not in fact coincide with a payment requirement. If you have tax to pay for the 14/15 year it will be due by 31st January 2016.
Do I need to complete a tax return?
If you fall into one of the following categories it’s likely you'll need to file a return this tax year:
- You're self-employed
- You're a partner in a business partnership
- You're a company director
- Your annual income is £100,000 or more
- You have made a profit from selling a second home, share or other chargeable assets e.g personal possessions worth £6,000 or more (excluding your car) and have Capital Gains Tax to pay
- You have income from savings or investments that is £10,000 or more that hasn’t been taxed
- You have income that is £2,500 or more (e.g. from renting out a property) that hasn’t been taxed
- You need to claim expenses or tax reliefs
- You or your partner receive child benefit and your income is over £50,000
- You receive income from overseas that you need to pay tax on
- You have income from trusts, settlements or an estate
- You've lived or worked abroad or don't live in the UK permanently
- You're a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
I’ve received a notification but I don’t think I need to file
If HMRC have asked you to complete a tax return but you don't think you need to, it is important you tell them as soon as possible. Don’t just ignore the notification as you'll still be charged a penalty even if you don’t need to complete a return.
I think I need to complete a return but I haven’t heard from HMRC
If you haven't received a notification but think that you are due to complete a return for the 14/15 year (see above list for eligibility) then you must contact HMRC as soon as possible.
Don't delay, file today...
If you are one of the one million tax payers who file your return on paper, and you haven't already filed your 14/15 return then act now to avoid receiving a hefty fine from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
If you are confused about whether or not you need to file this year, or need help completing your 14/15 tax return then don't hesitate to get in touch with us.