Self Assessment is a system HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses to collect Income Tax.
Tax is usually deducted automatically from wages, pensions and savings. People and businesses with other income must report it in a tax return.
If you need to send one, you fill it in after the end of the tax year (5 April) it applies to.
Who must send a tax return
You must send a tax return if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), you were:
- self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and earned more than £1,000
- a partner in a business partnership
You will not usually need to send a return if your only income is from your 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
Check if you need to send a tax return if you’re not sure.
Registering and sending a return
You need to register if you did not send a return last year. There are different ways to register if you’re:
If you’re new to Self Assessment, you’ll need to keep records (for example bank statements or receipts) so you can fill in your tax return correctly.
Other reasons for sending a return
You can choose to fill in a tax return to:
- claim some Income Tax reliefs
- prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare or Maternity Allowance
If you get Child Benefit
If your income (or your partner’s, if you have one) was over £50,000, you may need to send a return and pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) must receive your tax return and any money you owe by the deadline.
The last tax year started on 6 April 2019 and ended on 5 April 2020.
|Register for Self Assessment if you’re self-employed or a sole trader, not self-employed, or registering a partner or partnership||5 October 2020|
|Paper tax returns||Midnight 31 October 2020|
|Online tax returns||Midnight 31 January 2021|
|Pay the tax you owe||Midnight 31 January 2021|
There’s usually a second payment deadline of 31 July if you make advance payments towards your bill (known as ‘payments on account’).
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can delay making your second payment on account. You’ll not be charged interest or penalties as long as you pay before 31 January 2021.
You’ll get a penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to 3 months late. You’ll have to pay more if it’s later, or if you pay your tax bill late. You’ll also be charged interest on late payments.
Estimate your penalty for Self Assessment tax returns more than 3 months late, and late payments.
All partners can be charged a penalty if a partnership tax return is late.