Tax returns Tax returns 2016: important deadlines

sending a tax return

The penalty for missing your tax return deadline can be high - so ensure you are organised and on time

If you file your tax return late, you will face a fine of at least £100 from HMRC.  

Here, we list the key deadlines to bear in mind so you can ensure your 2015-16 tax return is submitted on time.  

How to submit your 2015-16 tax return

There are two ways to submit your tax return. You can either send a paper tax return to HMRC, or fill in an online tax return online on the HMRC website.

Making your tax return online has numerous advantages, which you can read more about on the online tax returns page of this guide.

Go further: If you need more help with tax, or any other aspect of your finances, sign up to a £1 trial with Which? and you can speak to a member of our Money Helpline team to get individual guidance.

Different ways to submit your tax return

Depending on how you choose to submit your tax return, the deadline for submitting it will be different.

  • Paper tax returns need to be filed by 31 October. So for tax returns relating to the year April 2015 to April 2016, for example, all paper returns should be submitted by 31 October 2016.
  • The deadline for filing online is three months later - 31 January. So tax returns for the year April 2015 to April 2016 can be filed online up to 31 January 2017.

Important deadlines for your 2015-16 tax return

31 October 2016 This is the deadline for filing a paper tax return, whether you choose to work out how much tax your owe yourself or want HMRC to do it. However, if you receive notice that you must file a tax return after 31 July 2016 you'll need to send back the completed form within three months of the notice's date of issue.

30 December 2016 If you file your tax return online and also have earnings taxed under PAYE, you can opt to have overdue tax (if it is less than £2,000) collected by PAYE provided you filed your online return by this date. The advantage of this is that any tax payable would be paid over 12 months from April 2016, rather than in a single lump sum by 31 January 2017.

31 January 2017 This is the final deadline for online tax returns, unless the notice to make an online tax return is issued by HMRC after 31 October 2016, in which case you have three months from the date of issue. This is also the deadline to pay any tax due for paper and online filers.

It's important to be aware that filing your tax return late, or failing to pay the tax you owe on time, will probably mean you face extra penalty fees and interest charges.  

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