Common Tax Questions: “Can I Complete My Own Tax Return”?

One of the most common questions that many people ask about their tax is, “Can I complete my own tax return?”

The answer is, often, ‘yes’.  However, not everyone needs to complete a tax return.  Read our guide to find out whether you have to complete your own tax return and what the process involves.

Who should complete a tax return?

If you pay all of the tax that is due on your earnings, you may not have to complete a tax return.  For example, if you pay your tax through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system – on your salary or pension – then it is unlikely that you will have to complete a self-assessment tax return.

However, if you have any other income in addition to your salary or pension, or if your tax affairs are more complicated, then you may have to complete your own tax return.

And, if you fall into any of the following categories, the answer to the question “Can I Complete My Own Tax Return?” will always be ‘yes’:

  • You are self-employed
  • You are a company director
  • You are a minister of faith (any religion)
  • You have income from property of £10,000 or more
  • You have income from savings and investments of £10,000 or more
  • You have any income from overseas that is liable for UK tax
  • You are over 65 and want to claim an age related tax allowance
  • Your income is over £100,000
  • You have Capital Gains Tax to pay
  • You are a trustee
  • You need to claim certain tax reliefs or tax expenses

How to obtain a tax return

Your blank tax return (or your ‘notice to file’ if you complete your tax return online) should be sent to you automatically every year.  However, if you have not completed a tax return before (or if it has been some time since you did) you will need to get in touch with HMRC.

You have to complete a registration form to let HMRC know what has changed (a SA1 form for employed people or a CWF1 form if you are newly self-employed).

Paper return or online?

If you do have to complete a tax return, you can either do this by completing a paper based return or by submitting your tax return online.

There are several advantages to completing your tax return online:

  • You get an extra three months to file the return (the deadline is January rather than October)
  • You receive an instant acknowledgement that HMRC have received your return
  • It is safe and secure.  You can also save the data and return to it later
  • Your tax is worked out as you complete the form so you will know what you owe straight away

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