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Tax return fine scare at Halloween

Paper income tax return deadline is 31 October
Tax Return deadline

Self-assessment taxpayers face a deadline of 31 October to submit a paper return. If you file online there’s an extra three months – the deadline isn’t until 31 January 2016.  

Automatic fine for late returns

Over 10m people submit a self-assessment tax return to HMRC each year. If you choose to do this by filling out a paper form (SA100) the deadline is 31 October. Miss this and you’ll receive an automatic £100 fine.

HMRC must receive a correctly filled-out paper tax return by this date, so it’s important to check your figures before you post one off. It’s important to check that you’ve signed the form too – forgetting to do this is a common reason for invalid returns.  

Find out more: The Which? Tax calculator is a free-to-use tool which allows you to check your likely tax bill for 2014-15 before submitting figures to HMRC. It comes with extensive help notes, which ensure you claim for full allowances and tax reliefs. 

Extra time if you file online

Only 15% of taxpayers sent a paper return last year – the vast majority (85%) now choose to file online.   

Self-assessment taxpayers who submit an online return get an extra three months to send their figures to HMRC. The online deadline for the 2014-15 tax year is not until 31 January 2016.

To send an online return, you must first register with HMRC. After setting up a user ID and password you are then sent an activation code by post. This can take up to seven days to arrive, so you need to make sure you register well in advance of the 31 January deadline. Once the code arrives, you need to activate your online HRMC account within 28 days.

Filing online has five stages: 

  • Check your personal details
  • Tailor the return – choose the sections that fit your circumstances
  • Fill in the figures on your return
  • Check the return – make sure everything is correct and complete
  • Submit your return and receive an on-screen confirmation

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