Sand timerDo you need to file a self assessment tax return for the tax year ended 5 April 2015?

HM Revenue & Customs will normally contact you in April if they think you need to complete a tax return.  However they don’t always have all of the information, and you may need to file a tax return even if they haven’t contacted you.  For example, you must complete a tax return if you are a company director (unless its for a non-profit organisation and you don’t receive payments or benefits).  Check here if you are not sure.

The deadline for submitting an online tax return is midnight on 31 January 2016.

In order to submit an online return you have to register for self assessment online (if you haven’t already done so).  This could take a few days as you have to register for online government services, enrol for the self assessment online service, and activate your account once you have been sent the Activation Code which usually arrives within 7 working days.  So make sure you are up and running online some time before 31 January 2016!

What are the penalties if you miss the tax return deadline?

1 day late – fixed £100 penalty even if you owe no tax or have paid the tax you owe
3 months late – as well as the above, £10 for each following day to a max of £900
6 months late – as well as the above, £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher
12 months late – as well as the above, £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher (in “serious” cases this could go up to 100% of the tax due)

So missing the tax return deadline could get very expensive!

N.B. Reasonable excuses may be accepted – e.g. losing documents through fire or theft – but you should tell HMRC as soon as possible.