If you earn above the Income Tax threshold, you will have to pay tax on your income. That applies to both employed and self-employed workers.
For employees, it's all done automatically under the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system. Your employer will make the necessary Income Tax and National Insurance payments to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on your behalf, making the process effortless.
However, if you are self-employed, you must file a Self Assessment tax return to HMRC, which requires you to disclose all your income and expenses for that tax year. It can be a long process, particularly if you have multiple taxable income streams.
But before you can even do that, you must first register for the Self Assessment. It's a detail that many self-employed workers forget every year and can result in hefty fines if you don't register on time. That's why in this article, we'll outline when the deadline is, along with other important dates you should be aware of.
The registration deadline to file your Self Assessment for the 2021/2022 tax year is 5 October 2022. You must first register before you can file your actual Self Assessment tax return.
Having said that, if you registered for a Self Assessment tax return for the previous tax year, you won't need to register again this year. You can simply file your tax return and pay the tax bill before the payment deadline.
What are the important Self Assessment deadlines?
For the tax year between 6 April 2021 and 5 April 2022, the Self Assessment deadlines are as follows.
|5 October 2022||Register for Self Assessment|
|31 October 2022||File a paper Self Assessment tax return|
|30 December 2022||Inform HMRC to collect payments through PAYE (Pay As You Earn)|
|31 January 2023||File your Self Assessment tax return online|
|31 January 2023||Pay your Self Assessment Tax Bill|
|31 January 2023||Make your first payment on account|
|31 July 2023||Make your second payment on account|
5 October 2022 – register for Self Assessment
Registering for a Self Assessment is important as it informs HMRC that you will be sending a tax return. This year, the deadline falls on 5 October 2022. Failure to register by this date could result in a fine from HMRC.
As mentioned earlier, if you already registered, filed, and paid your Self Assessment tax return last year, you won't need to register again this year. You can simply file and pay it when the time comes.
However, if you registered and filed last year, but your circumstances have changed, and you won't be filing a tax return this year, you must inform HMRC – more on this later.
31 October 2022 – file a paper Self Assessment tax return
As part of the government's Make Tax Digital initiative, it is recommended and encouraged to file your tax return online using the government platform. But, some people still prefer to file a paper tax return.
If this is you, you must file your Self Assessment by midnight on 31 October 2022. This filing deadline means that HMRC should receive your tax return by this date, so make sure not to leave it too late – you don't want to miss the deadline due to something silly such as postal delays.
30 December 2022 – inform HMRC to collect payments through PAYE (Pay As You Earn)
This deadline applies to those that earn income through self-employment but owe HMRC less than £3,000 in Income Tax.
If you also earn an income through regular employment or receive a workplace pension, HMRC will collect the tax owed by changing your PAYE tax code. Changing your PAYE tax code means that the tax owed will be automatically deducted from your salary over the next year.
This method makes your life easier since it requires no extra effort. All you need to do is submit your Self Assessment tax return by midnight on 30 December 2022 if you plan on doing it online. If you plan on filing a paper tax return, then the 31 October 2022 date still applies.
Alternatively, follow the next deadline below if you want to pay it to HMRC directly and not go through the PAYE method.
31 January 2023 – file your Self Assessment tax return online
The majority of people will be filing their Self Assessment tax returns online using the online government portal. If this is you, you must file your tax return by midnight on 31 January 2023. Failure to do so will incur late filing penalties.
31 January 2023 – pay your Self Assessment Tax Bill
As well as the filing deadline, 31 January 2023 is also the payment deadline. This means that you must file and pay your tax returns by midnight on this date. Failure to do so will result in late payment penalties, which can be quite costly.
31 January 2023 – make your first payment on account
Those new to filing and paying their tax returns tend to forget about this step, but it's important to know.
Suppose your Income Tax and National Insurance bill exceeded £1,000, and you've paid less than 80% of the tax owed. In that case, you must also make an advance payment for next year's Self Assessment. This is calculated as half of the previous year's tax bill.
For instance, if you owe £4,000 in tax and have paid less than 80% of it, you will be required to pay £2,000 extra, which will go towards next year's Self Assessment bill. This is known as a 'payment on account' and must be made by midnight on 31 January 2023.
31 July 2023 – make your second payment on account
This final step applies to those who were required to make a payment on account. Like the first payment on account, the second payment is for the remaining half of your previous year's tax bill and must be made by midnight on 31 July 2023.
When it's time to file your next tax return, if both payments on account exceed how much is owed to HMRC, you will receive a tax rebate. If your payments are less than what they should be, you must pay the outstanding amount by 31 January.
What happens if I miss the Self Assessment registration deadline?
If you miss the 5 October 2022 deadline, you may have to pay a late registration penalty.
The penalty is based on 'potential lost revenue', which is defined as tax payments that could be lost due to not notifying HMRC on time.
It's important to note that you still want to register even if you have missed the registration deadline. As long as all Income Tax and National Insurance payments are made before the payment deadline, or it's calculated that you don't have any payments to make, there will be no potential lost revenue. Thus you won't have to pay the penalty.
What happens if I miss the Self Assessment filing and payment deadline?
While you can sometimes avoid a late registration penalty, HMRC is not as lenient if you fail to file and pay your tax returns by the 31 January 2023 deadline.
If you do not file your Self Assessment tax returns on time, you will be fined the following:
- £100 if your tax return is up to three months late
- After three months, £10 will be added to your fine up to £900
- After six months, £300 will be added to your fine or 5% of the total tax owed – whichever is greater
- After 12 months, £300 will be added again, or 5% of the total tax owed – whichever is greater
If HMRC deems that you are hiding information from them to avoid paying tax, your fines can be considerably higher.
If you do not pay your Self Assessment tax returns on time, you will be fined the following:
- Pay 5% of the tax owed if you are late by 30 days
- Pay a further penalty of 5% of the tax owed if you are late by six months.
- Pay a further penalty of 5% of the tax owed if you are late by 12 months.
HMRC can waive your penalty if you have a 'reasonable excuse' for not filing or paying on time. There isn't a clear definition for what HMRC considers a reasonable excuse – they often assess this on a case-by-case basis.
But, if you feel like certain circumstances stopped you from filing and paying on time, you typically have 30 days from your penalty notice to appeal the decision.
What if I no longer need to file a Self Assessment tax return?
Suppose your circumstances have changed, and you no longer need to complete a Self Assessment. In that case, you must notify HMRC of this immediately. In some cases, HMRC may still ask you to submit your return even if you don't owe any taxes, which is why you should inform them as soon as possible.
Failure to file a tax return upon their request will subject you to the same late filing penalties mentioned above. However, if it is agreed that you do not need to pay any taxes, HMRC will waive the penalties.
Do I need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return?
You only need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return if you satisfy certain criteria, such as:
- You earned more than £1,000 through self-employment (before tax relief)
- You earned more than £2,500 through rental income
- You earned more than £2,500 from untaxed income, e.g., commission
- You earned more than £10,000 from savings and/or investments (pre-tax)
- You earned more than £100,000
- You, or your partner, earned more than £50,000, and you are claiming Child Benefit
- You earn an income from abroad that you must pay tax on, or you live abroad and earn an income in the UK
- You received a P800 from HMRC that stated you did not pay enough tax in the last year
- You need to pay Capital Gains Tax
- You are a director of a company (excluding non-profit organisations)
This is far from an exhaustive list; there are many more reasons why someone might need to register for a Self Assessment tax return. Luckily, the government website has an online tool that allows you to check if you are one of those people.