If not, the deadline for your Self Assessment is fast approaching. In most cases, you have to submit your return online by midnight on 31st January 2012 and there are penalties if you are late.
Keep reading to find out more about the deadline, what to do if you’re new to online filing and some tips for completing your online tax return.
The 31st January deadline
You have to send your online tax return by midnight on Tuesday 31st January 2012.
Don’t send a paper tax return now as the deadline for paper returns was 31 October 2011. You’ll have to pay a £100 penalty straight away if you do and so you should send it online instead.
The only time you can send your return later than this is if you received your tax return, or the letter telling you to complete a tax return, after 31 October 2011. If this applies to you then you will have three months from the date you received the letter.
If you’re new to online filing
If you have never submitted your tax return online before then you need to start the process very soon. This is because you will have to register to use HMRC’s online services first.
You should register to use HMRC’s online service by 21st January 2012. This allows HMRC sufficient time to send your Activation Code to you before you start using the service.
3 tips for using the HMRC Online system
Here are three useful tips for using HMRC Online Services:
- Have your user ID and password to hand – Make sure you know how to log into the system and don’t leave it until the last minute
- Deal with error messages immediately – When completing your online tax return, it is advised that you correct any errors straight away. It is often a simple error such as using text or punctuation that the online service does not accept
- Submit your return – You don’t have to complete your tax return in one go. You can save your progress and come back to the return at a later date. However, don’t forget to actually push the button and submit the return to HMRC once it is completed. When you submit your return you will be asked to re-enter your User ID and password. You will also get an on-screen acknowledgement that your return has been sent
Penalties for being late
If you don’t submit your online tax return by the 31st January deadline then you will be liable to pay a penalty.
The penalty is £100 and you will pay this even if you have paid the tax you owe or your return is just a day late.
The penalties then increase the longer your tax return is late. There is a subsequent penalty of £10 per day that your tax return is late for up to three months. This means that if you submit your tax return three months late your total penalty will be £1,000.
You then have to pay further penalties if your tax return is up to six or twelve months late. The total penalty could exceed £1,600.