If you’ve registered as self-employed in the last year and a bit, you will have received a letter from HMRC telling you that you need to submit a self-assessment tax form. You can do this on paper by the end of next October, or online by the end of next January.
So it makes sense to do it online, right? YES.
Every year, I meet people who’ve just set up their new business and think that because they’ve registered as self-employed, or because they registered as self-employed online, they are automatically registered to submit their self assessment (tax return) online. They can just wait until the end of January and submit it online then, right?
If you want to file your taxes / submit your tax return / do your self-assessment online, and this is the first time you’re planning to do it online, you HAVE TO go through a separate registration process.
Don’t just take my word for it: here’s a bit of my latest letter from HMRC telling me I need to submit a tax return for the 2013-2014 tax year:
Got that? You need to go to the HMRC website – WELL BEFORE THE END OF JANUARY and register to submit your tax return online. Once you’ve registered, you will be sent a letter with an activation code. This can take over a week to arrive.
You do not want to leave it to the last minute, or make any assumptions.
If you want to submit your tax return online, you must register to do so as a separate process, and you need to do it in good time in order to get your letter and then activate the account and THEN complete the online tax return (that last bit doesn’t take very long).
If, as a good and normally sensible friend of mine did one year, you leave it until the end of January to even register to submit this information online, you will receive your letter after the end of January, go to fill in your tax return and find yourself confronted with a hefty fine.
The HMRC website with all information on submitting your tax return online, and registering to do so, is here.
If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, you will find plenty of careers resources on this website (click on that link or surf around the category cloud in the sidebar). Or why not take a look at my books, which have loads of information about starting and maintaining a freelance career.
Other useful posts on this blog:
10 things you can do before going self-employed
Why I do my tax return in April
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