What are Self-assessment tax returns?
These are tax returns issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for completion by UK tax payers. The regime was introduced in 1997, with the idea of simplifying the UK tax system and it is certainly debatable if this has been achieved!
Who needs to file a return?
For the majority of UK individuals their income is taxed at source, such as employment income which is taxed under the PAYE system. Therefore, most people will not return4refund normally need to file a Self-assessment tax return. However, if there is any income or gains that is either untaxed or there is additional tax due, then it is the individuals responsibility to notify HMRC. Usually in all circumstances if HMRC issue a Self-assessment tax return then it must be completed and filed. Below are a number of examples where there is normally a requirement to file a tax return (please note that this list is not intended to be comprehensive):
Individuals who are members of partnerships;
Individuals who have sold assets that are subject to capital gains tax;
Members of parliament;
Ministers of religion;
Pensioners with an annual income of £100,000 or more;
Employees or pensioners with an annual income from savings or investments of £10,000 or more;
An employee or pensioner with untaxed annual income of £2,500 or more;
An individual who receives rental income.
If you are in any doubt over you requirement to complete a tax return, it is recommended that you seek professional advice from a Chartered Accountant or contact HMRC. In addition a Self-assessment tax return may also be filed in order to reclaim over paid tax.
When does the return need to be filed?
Tax returns cover all income and gains for the fiscal year, that is from the 6th April in one year to 5th April in the next. There are additional rules if the return is issued late by HMRC, but normally if you wish HMRC to calculate the tax for you or if you wish to file a paper tax return then the filing deadline is 31st October following the end of the tax year, else it is 31st January following the end of the tax year. For example, the tax return filing deadline for the year ended 5th April 2010, if you require HMRC to calculate the tax due for you (or if you wish to file a paper return) is 31st October 2010, else the filing deadline is 31st January 2011. There are penalties for the late submission of tax returns.
When does the tax liability need to be paid?
In most circumstances, the outstanding tax due is payable by the 31st January following the end of the tax year. There are penalties and interest chargeable for late payments. In certain circumstances tax payers are required to make payments on account these are payable bi-yearly on 31st July and 31st January.
The author does not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided in this article and recommends that you do not take any action, whatsoever, based on the information provided. By the fullest extent permitted by law, the author does not accept any responsibility for any actions you may or may not take based on information contained in this article. This article contains general information and is not a substitute for specific independent professional advice. In addition it is emphasised that much of the information provided in this article is time sensitive and information contained within it may be out of date.
Harries Watkins Jones, South Wales Chartered Accountants with offices in Bridgend and Pontypridd.