THOUSANDS of people have less than two weeks left to file their paper tax return or risk getting a fine.
The deadline for the paper tax return for the 2020/21 tax year is October 31.
If you file your return online you have until January 31, 2022.
Some 6% of self-employed workers still file the old style paper tax return, and the deadline completing this is three months earlier than if you file your return online.
This year’s return could be more complicated too because many workers may have received Covid support or been furloughed.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “This year, tax returns are going to look different for millions of people, because so many had unusual income, including Covid support, that they’ll need to include in their tax return for the first time.”
She said it’s better to start as early as possible to make filing your return as stress-free as possible.
When filing your return, you will be declaring income received between April 5, 2020 and April 6, 2021.
While you need to complete your paper tax return by October 31, you will not have to pay your tax until January 31, 2022.
You’ll need to file a self-assessment tax return if you were self-employed as a sole trade and earned more than £1,000 or were a partner in a business partnership.
Those who have earned additional untaxed income, for example from renting out a property, will also have to complete a return.
You may also need to complete a return if you receive child benefit and your income, or your partner’s, is more than £50,000.
If you miss the deadline you are automatically fined £100 by HMRC.
If you are more than three months late, HMRC can add an extra £10 a day penalty for the next 90 days, bringing the total find to £1,000.
Late penalties were suspended through the pandemic, but this is no longer the case.
If you no longer need to file a return, you should let HMRC know as soon as possible, or you could still be fined.
How to fill in a self-assessment tax return
The self-assessment form can seems very complicated, which can be off-putting, but as long as you have all the information you need to hand, you should be able to complete it without too much stress.
HMRC no longer automatically sends out paper tax return forms so you may need to contact the Revenue and ask for it to post you one.
Once you have the SA100 form you’ll first need to check your personal details such as date of birth and phone number.
Next, you’ll need to summarise the type of income you have received in the tax year and detail any income you got from benefits, pensions and investments.
HMRC will want to know about any tax that has been previously refunded to you and the details of your tax adviser if you have one.
You may need to provide extra information through supplementary pages, depending on whether you are self-employed or not, whether you have received rental income, or whether you need to pay capital gains tax.
While no one wants to be hit with a fine for missing the deadline, plenty of people leave filing down to the wire.
According to HMRC, in 2019 the busiest day for filing was deadline day itself, with 702,171 returns filed online on January 31.
Internet filing has been available since 2000 and the majority of people now complete their self-assessment forms online.
However, hundreds of thousands of people still prefer to fill out a paper form and their deadline is three months earlier.
Why this year is different
If you claimed the self-employment grant or received furlough pay, you’ll need to include these details too.
Coles said: “Any self-employed grants should be in the specific self-employment grant box. Any other Covid payments should go in the ‘any other business income’ box.
“If you’re employed and were furloughed, you will need to enter your earnings and income tax from your P60.
“This will cover your furlough payments, so you don’t need to enter them separately on your tax return.”
Be sure to sign the form before posting it back.
HMRC provides guidance notes amounting to a hefty 28 pages explaining what you’ll need to declare in your self-assessment form.
However, do seek professional advice if you are unsure about how to fill in your return as mistakes can be costly.
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