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Last chance: Don't miss 31 January 2023 self-assessment tax return deadline - or you risk a £100 fine

Last chance: Don't miss 31 January 2023 self-assessment tax return deadline - or you risk a £100 fine

If you're one of the 2.7 million taxpayers still to file their online self-assessment tax return, today is your last chance to do so ahead of the deadline. Here's what you need to do to avoid a £100 fine.

You have until 11.59pm on Tuesday 31 January 2023 to send HMRC an online tax return for the 2021/2022 tax year, which ended on 5 April 2022. You must act soon, as those who miss the deadline face fines of at least £100.

As of Thursday 26 January, around 2.7 million people had yet to submit their tax return, according to the latest HMRC data. See our Tax and Benefits guides to check you're paying the right tax and to see which benefits you may be entitled to - even some families with an income of £50,000 or more can qualify for help. 

Self-employed workers and high earners need to file self-assessment tax returns

Most UK taxpayers have their taxes deducted automatically from their wages, pensions or savings, and won't need to file a tax return. But tax returns are due from individuals or businesses who haven't had tax automatically deducted, or who have earned extra untaxed income.

You'll need to submit a tax return if any of the following applied to you in the 2021/2022 tax year:

  • You were self-employed and your income was more than £1,000.
  • Your income was more than £50,000, and you or your partner claimed child benefit.
  • You earned more than £2,500 from renting out property, or from other untaxed income, such as tips or commission.
  • You earned more than £100,000 in taxable income.
  • You earned £10,000 or more before tax from savings, investments, shares or dividends.
  • You earned income from abroad, or lived abroad and had a UK income.
  • You need to pay capital gains tax.
  • You received income from a trust.
  • Your state pension was more than your personal allowance and was your only source of income (unless you started getting your pension on or after 6 April 2016).
  • HMRC has told you that you didn't pay enough tax last year (and you haven't already paid up through your tax code or via voluntary payments).
  • You filed a self-assessment tax return last year (even if you didn't owe any tax). You'll need to file again this year unless HMRC has already written to you to say you don't need to.

Use the Government's free tool to check whether you need to file a tax return.

You'll need to declare any Covid-19 grants or payments

The 2021 to 2022 tax return covers earnings and payments received during the pandemic. This means that if you meet any of the criteria outlined above, you'll also need to declare if you received any grants or payments from the Government's Covid-19 support schemes up to 5 April 2022, as these are taxable, including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This paid out non-repayable grants to employers, so they could continue to pay their staff. 
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), covering the following periods: 22 April 2021 to 1 June 2021, and 29 July 2021 to 30 September 2021. This paid out non-repayable grants to self-employed people who were financially impacted by the pandemic.
  • Other Covid-19 grants and support payments, such as self-isolation payments, local authority grants and funding for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. 

The £500 one-off payment for working households receiving tax credits does not need to be declared in your self-assessment return.

You should have registered for self-assessment by 5 October 2022

If this is your first time filing a return, you can register by visiting the HMRC website.

HMRC will then set up your self-assessment online account and send you a letter with your unique taxpayer reference – a 10-digit code, which you'll need the first time you log in.

Technically, the deadline to register for a self-assessment tax return was 5 October 2022 and it can take up to 10 working days for you to receive your reference number. This means you may now be too late to do so in time to file by 31 January. However, either way you must still register to file your return, so don't delay doing so. 

If it's your first time filing online but you already have a reference number – for example, because you've previously filed a paper return – you should be able to skip this step and just register for the online service.

Head to Gov.uk if you've lost your login details

You'll need to log into your self-assessment account with your Government Gateway ID. If you've forgotten your Government Gateway details, you can retrieve your user ID or reset your password online. If you've never used Government Gateway before, you can register here.

If you're signing into your self-assessment account for the first time and have forgotten your unique taxpayer reference number, you should be able to find it on previous tax returns or on other documents from HMRC, such as payment reminders. It's also available on your HMRC online account.

If you can't find your unique reference, you can phone the self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.

You can no longer use GOV.UK Verify to prove your identity for self-assessment returns or for income tax or personal tax reasons.  

Beware phishing scams asking for your personal details

According to HMRC, there have been 446 reports in the past 24 hours of people receiving phishing scam emails asking them to input their self-assessment unique taxpayer reference, national insurance number, passport number, name, address and date of birth.

HMRC will never contact you asking you to confirm your details, so do not share your HMRC login details with anyone, including your tax agent, if you have one. Treat your tax login with the same care as your banking app login details. 

Someone using those details could steal from you and leave you having to pay back the full value of any fake claim made on your behalf.

If you have a tax agent to help you, they can access the information they need to deal with your tax affairs through HMRC’s digital services for agents. They should never need to log in as you or ask you to share your login details. 

You've missed the deadline for filing a paper return

The deadline for filing paper returns for the 2021/22 tax year was 31 October 2022 – so you must file your return online now to avoid paying a penalty. If you were to file a paper return now you would be fined.

It's not just your return you need to file - you also need to pay your tax bill

It's not just tax returns that need to be filed by 31 January 2023. The deadline for paying any tax you owe for the previous tax year (known as a balancing payment) and your first payment on account is also due on 31 January 2023. Miss these payments and you'll be fined and charged interest. 

If you submitted your online return by 30 December 2022, and met certain other requirements, HMRC may have automatically collected tax owed from your wages and pension.

Alternatively, you can pay your tax bill by bank transfer, debit card or cheque. You can also pay at your bank or building society if you have a paying-in slip from HMRC. HMRC accepts money under the Faster Payments system, which allows payments to go through in two hours. However, each bank has a limit on how much you can transfer under Faster Payments. The limits range from £5,000 to £100,000. See each provider's limit.

You can no longer pay the bill using a personal credit card or at the Post Office.

You could be hit with a £100 fine if you miss the deadline to file - plus, extra penalties for paying the tax late 

If you miss the 31 January 2023 deadline, you will be charged a £100 penalty - even if there's no tax to pay. 

Further penalties of £10 a day are then applied after three months, up to a maximum of £900. After six months, you'll get a further penalty of 5% of the tax owed or £300 (whichever is greater), which is repeated at 12 months. 

There are also extra penalties for paying the tax late – these are charged at 5% of the unpaid tax after 30 days, six months and 12 months.

The Government provides an online tool for calculating how much you'll need to pay in penalties and interest if you miss the deadlines.

Speak to HMRC urgently if you can't afford to pay the tax

If your bill is correct but you find you can't afford it, contact HMRC as soon as possible as you may be able to avoid late payment penalties by coming to an arrangement to spread your payments over a period of time – see below for more on this. (Also see our Free Tax Code Calculator to ensure you're on the right tax code).

You'll need a reasonable excuse for not paying your tax on time. This is usually something unexpected or outside of your control that stopped you meeting a tax obligation. For example:

  • Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline.
  • You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs.
  • You had a serious or life-threatening illness.
  • Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return.
  • Issues with HMRC's online services.
  • A fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return.

You can contact HMRC directly for more advice

The Government provides help sheets and video guidance on submitting your tax return.

You can also contact HMRC for advice directly by calling the helpline on 0300 200 3310. It's open from Monday to Friday between 8am to 6pm. It’s closed on weekends and bank holidays. You can also get general help from HMRC customer support on Twitter.

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