How to apply for self assessment tax return

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The tax season can be a daunting time for many, especially if you’re self-employed, have additional income, or are a sole trader. In the United Kingdom, the process of filing your taxes is made simpler through the Self-Assessment tax return system. This system allows individuals to report their income, calculate their tax liability, and pay what they owe. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to apply for a Self-Assessment tax return, ensuring a stress-free experience during the tax season.

Understanding Self-Assessment Tax Returns

Before diving into the application process, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what Self-Assessment tax returns entail. This system is designed for individuals who need to report their income and pay taxes on income that isn’t taxed at source, such as self-employed income, rental income, and investment income. The process involves completing a tax return, calculating the tax you owe, and making the necessary payments to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Who Needs to Apply for Self-Assessment?

It’s crucial to determine whether you need to apply for a Self-Assessment tax return. You should consider applying if you fall into any of the following categories:

Self-employed: If you work for yourself and do not have taxes deducted at source, you need to file a Self-Assessment tax return.

Additional income sources:

 If you have additional income sources, such as rental income, dividends, or capital gains, you should report these through Self-Assessment.

High earners:

 Individuals with an annual income exceeding £100,000, regardless of their employment status, must file a tax return.

Directors of limited companies:

 Directors are required to submit a Self-Assessment tax return even if their company files a separate corporate tax return.

Sole traders and partnerships:

 If you are part of a business partnership or operate as a sole trader, you must file a tax return.

Applying for Self-Assessment

The application process for Self-Assessment is straightforward, and you can do it online. Here are the steps to follow:

Register with HMRC:

 If you haven’t already, you need to register with HMRC as a self-assessment taxpayer. You can do this by visiting the official HMRC website and completing the registration process. You will receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) once your registration is successful. This UTR is essential for all your future tax transactions.

Activate your online account:

 After receiving your UTR, you should activate your online account on the HMRC website. This will allow you to access your Self-Assessment account, complete your tax return, and make payments.

Gather the necessary information:

 Before filling out your tax return, gather all the relevant financial information, including income, expenses, and any tax documents, such as P60s, P45s, or P11Ds. This information will be used to calculate your tax liability accurately.

Complete your tax return: 

Log in to your HMRC account, and navigate to the Self-Assessment section. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your tax return. The system will guide you through different sections, where you’ll need to input your financial information, deductions, and any other relevant details.

Calculate your tax liability: 

Once you’ve entered all your financial information, the system will automatically calculate your tax liability. It’s important to review the figures and ensure they are accurate.

Submit your tax return: 

After you’ve reviewed your tax return and confirmed that the information is accurate, submit your return to HMRC. You’ll receive a confirmation once your return is successfully submitted.

Pay your tax: Pay any tax you owe based on the information in your return. HMRC will provide you with various payment options, including debit or credit card, bank transfer, or direct debit.

Key Deadlines

It’s crucial to be aware of the key deadlines associated with Self-Assessment tax returns to avoid any penalties. The tax year in the UK runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year. Here are the important dates to remember:

  • April 5th: The end of the tax year.

  • April 6th: The start of the new tax year.

  • October 5th: Deadline for registering for Self-Assessment.

  • October 31st: Deadline for filing a paper tax return.

  • January 31st: Deadline for filing an online tax return and paying any tax owed.

Late submissions can result in penalties and interest charges, so it’s advisable to stay on top of these dates.

What are the penalties for not paying self assessment tax?

The self-assessment tax is a tax that is levied on individuals in the United Kingdom who are self-employed or who have other sources of income that are not subject to PAYE. The tax is due on the 31st of January each year, and taxpayers are required to file a self-assessment tax return in order to pay the tax.If you do not pay your self-assessment tax, you will be liable for interest and penalties. The amount of interest and penalties you will be liable for will depend on how much tax you owe and how late you are in paying.

Self-assessment tax

If you owe less than £1000 in self-assessment tax, you will be liable for interest at the rate of 2.75% per annum. If you owe more than £1000, you will be liable for interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum. In addition to interest, you will also be liable for late payment penalties.

If you file your self-assessment tax return more than 28 days late, you will be liable for a penalty of £100. If you are more than 56 days late, you will be liable for a further penalty of £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is greater. In addition to these penalties, you will also be liable for interest on the tax owed.

Payment plan

It is important to note that these penalties are in addition to any tax that you may owe. If you are unable to pay your self-assessment tax, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible to arrange a payment plan. If you fail to contact HMRC and arrange a payment plan, you may be subject to further penalties and interest charges.

How can I avoid paying self assessment tax?

The Self Assessment tax is a tax that is levied on individuals in the United Kingdom who are self-employed or who have other sources of income that are not taxed at source. The Self Assessment tax is due on the 31st of January every year, and taxpayers are required to file a Self Assessment tax return by this date in order to avoid paying any penalties.


There are a number of ways that taxpayers can avoid paying Self Assessment tax. The first way is to ensure that all of the income that is subject to Self Assessment tax is declared on the tax return. This means that taxpayers should keep accurate records of all of their income and expenditure, and should declare any income that they have not already paid tax on.

Another way to avoid paying Self Assessment tax is to make sure that all of the tax that is due is paid on time. Taxpayers who are due to pay Self Assessment tax can do so by Direct Debit, which means that the tax will be taken directly from their bank account on the 31st of January. Taxpayers can also pay their Self Assessment tax bill online, by post, or in person at a HMRC office.

Self Assessment tax bill online

If taxpayers are unable to pay their Self Assessment tax bill on time, they can contact HMRC to arrange a payment plan. This will allow them to spread the cost of their tax bill over a period of time, and will help to avoid any penalties or interest charges.

Tax reliefs 

Lastly, taxpayers can avoid paying Self Assessment tax by claiming any tax reliefs or allowances that they are entitled to. Tax reliefs and allowances can reduce the amount of tax that is due, and can be claimed by taxpayers who are self-employed, have children, or are aged 65 or over.



Filing a Self-Assessment tax return in the UK need not be a daunting task. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can simplify the process and ensure you meet all your tax obligations. Registering with HMRC, activating your online account, gathering the necessary information, and submitting your tax return on time will help you navigate the tax season with ease. Remember to keep records of your financial information and deadlines, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice in southall if you have complex financial circumstances. Taking these steps will help you remain compliant with tax regulations while minimizing the stress of the tax season.

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