What is a Tax Return?

A tax return is the document that anyone who has income to declare to HMRC must complete on an annual basis. A person may need to complete a tax return in many circumstances. This is most commonly when they have income where tax isn’t already collected from a salary via the PAYE process. Completing a tax return helps to ensure that everyone pays the correct amount of tax, not too much or too little.

Completing a Tax Return

Before completing a tax return, you need to notify HMRC that you have income to declare. This is called registering for self-assessment, and can be done online or by post. Once you have done this, you will be sent a letter containing a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). With this, you’ll be able to complete tax returns when you need to, either online or by sending the necessary form to HMRC following the completion of each tax year.

When do I Complete a Tax Return?

The deadline for completing a tax return differs, depending on whether you do it online or by sending the paper form. These deadlines are as follows:

  • Paper tax returns must be completed by 31 October following the conclusion of the last tax year.
  • Online tax returns must be completed by 31 January following the conclusion of the last tax year.

When you’ve completed your tax return, any tax you owe must be paid by 31 January following the conclusion of the last tax year. Therefore, if you submit your tax return on 31 January, you need to pay the tax you owe at the same time.