How To Fill in a Self-Assessment Tax Return Online
With the Tax year running from April to April it seems only appropriate for us to cover the ways in which you can fill in a Self-Assessment tax return online for the past year.
While it is possible to fill out your tax return on paper, the deadline for that is 31 October. If you fill out your tax return online, however, you have up until 31 January to complete it, which gives you a whole three months extra.
Why Complete Your Self Assessment Online?
As well as the extra three months you have to complete your tax return when you fill it out online, there are other advantages to consider:
- Filling out your return is easier because it automatically deletes sections that are irrelevant based on your answers and pre-fills information it already has about you.
- You can pay your tax via PAYE (as long as you submit your return online by 30 December and you owe less than £3,000).
- You get extra peace of mind in knowing that your tax return has been submitted and there is no risk of it getting lost or delayed in the post.
- There is less chance of making mistakes because errors are usually highlighted as you fill out the tax return.
- You can also use an accountant to fill out your return from anywhere. We have more information on taking this approach on our self-assessment accountants page.
Here's the process you should follow if you want to fill out your self assessment online this year:
If this is your first time filling out your tax return online, you will need to register via the HMRC website. When you do this, you will set up your user ID and password, and you will also be given your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
An activation code is then sent to your address, which you will need to file your tax return. Note that this takes up to a week to arrive, so make sure you do this long before the deadline.
When you receive the code, you have 28 days to use it to activate your account. If you do not activate your account during this time period, you will have to request another code.
2. Gather Your Information
To fill out your self assessment online, you will need to have all of your information ready to use, including your earnings and expenses. Hopefully you will have kept detailed records throughout the year, but if not then you will need to gather this together before starting.
3. Check Your Details
When you log into the system to complete your tax return online, the first thing you should do is check all of your details. When you are sure that there are no mistakes, you can proceed to fill it out.
4. Fill in the Relevant Sections
You will probably not have to fill out all the sections of your tax return online, only those that are relevant to your situation. The system should make this easier for you by directing you to the sections that are relevant to your situation.
This PDF has detailed notes that you can follow if you are unsure about the process. The sections you may need to fill in include:
- UK property
- Foreign for any foreign sources of income
- Capital Gains
- Residence section if you are not a resident
Filling out your tax return may be a long or short process depending on your personal tax situation and the amount of information that you are required to complete.
5. Check It Over
Once you have finished entering your information, carry out a final check to make sure that all the information is accurate. You may even want to save it and come back in a day or two.
6. Submit Your Return
Once you are happy that all the information is accurate, submit your return online. You will receive a confirmation, and you will also receive a code. This is confirmation that your tax return has been submitted. Just make a record of this code, and you're all done!
Get Help with Your Tax Return
As already mentioned, filling out your tax return online may be a simple process or it may be quite complex depending on your situation. If you want to make sure that you fill it out correctly to avoid mistakes, as well as saving time completing it yourself, you may want to hire professional help.
At Keith Graham, we have a huge amount of experience completing tax returns, and we will be happy to help you with yours. Contact us today to speak to a member of our expert team, and let us take care of your tax return for you.