Don’t miss the HMRC Self Assessment tax return deadline - everything you need to know

With Christmas around the corner and a stressful year coming to an end, it can be easy to get swept up in the festivities and forget your other responsibilities. With that in mind, the HMRC has warned people not to forget to send in their Self Assessment tax returns.

As the deadline approaches, here’s what you need to know.

Who has to fill out a Self Assessment tax return?

You must send a tax return if, in the last year (6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020), you were:

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  • self employed as a “sole trader” and earned more than £1,000, before taking off anything you can claim tax relief on
  • a partner in a business partnership

You won’t usually need to send a return if your only income if front our wages or pension, but you may need to send one if you have any other untaxed income, such as:

  • money from renting out a property
  • tips and commission
  • income from savings, investments and dividends
  • foreign income

If you’re not sure, you can use this online tool on the government website to check if you need to send a Self Assessment tax return.

You can also choose to send a tax return in order to claim some Income Tax reliefs, or to prove that you’re self employed - for example, to claim Tax-Free Childcare or Maternity Allowance.

How to send a return

If you didn’t fill out a tax return last year, you’ll need to register. There are a few different ways to register, depending on whether you’re self employed or a sole trader, not self employed, or registering a partner or partnership.

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You can check the best way to register depending on your circumstances via the government website.

Once you’ve registered, you can send your tax return online. If you’re filling out a return for any of the following reasons, you must send your return using commercial software or paper forms:

  • For a partnership
  • For a trust and estate
  • If you get income from a trust
  • If you lived abroad as a non resident
  • If you’re a Lloyd’s underwriter
  • If you’re a religious minister
  • To report profits made on selling or disposing of more than one asset


The HMRC must receive your tax return and any money you owe by the deadline.

The deadline for paper forms is 31 October (or 31 January if you’re a trustee of a registered pension scheme or a non-resident company).

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The deadline for online tax returns is midnight on 31 January 2021.

You’ll get a penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to three months late. You’ll have to pay more if it’s later than than, or if you pay your tax bill late. You’ll also be charged interest on late payments.

‘Get your tax returns in now’

HMRC’s Interim Director General of Customer Services, Karl Khan, said, “The 31st January deadline for tax returns is still a few weeks away, but customers don’t have to wait until then.

“We’re encouraging them to beat the busy January rush and get their tax returns in now.

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“We know that many people are affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year and we’re here to help if they need to spread the cost of their tax bill.

“It’s quick and easy to set up a payment plan online and there’s no need to call us to set it up.”

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