Now that the holidays are well and truly over it is time to turn our thoughts to more practical matters. You have probably put it off for as long as possible but now the tax return deadline really is looming. Fear not, we are here to help! Read on for a summary of what the January deadline is about, when it is, who it applies to, and what you need to do to comply and avoid having to pay a penalty.

Deadline? What deadline?

If you submit an online self-assessment tax return, the deadline is midnight on the 31st January 2019. This applies to the financial year 2017-2018 which ended on 5 April 2018.

Who does this apply to?

Many are taxed through the PAYE (pay as you earn) system when they are employed by an organisation. However, an increasing number of people work independently and must pay tax on those earnings they have accrued in the previous tax year. For example, people who are self-employed or sole traders, or those who are partners in a business partnership. Additionally, if you have income from any of the following sources, you may also need to submit an online return:

  • a rental property
  • income from any investments, dividends, or savings
  • commission and tips
  • income from overseas

What do you need to do?

This will depend on a couple of things, such as whether this is the first time you are filing a return or what your business status is. Let’s take a closer look.

For those submitting an online return for the first time you must first register with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Depending on whether you are self-employed or not there is a different route for this. The HMRC website sets this out clearly to help you through the process. You need to do this soon as it will take a little time for HMRC to post your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) to you, which is necessary to complete the online registration. This is only done by post, so you need to allow time for it. Without your UTR you cannot set up your online account in order to submit a self-assessment and this could land you with a penalty for late submission.

If you are an old-hand at this you will already have your UTR so you can go online and get your forms completed and submitted.

What you need to include in your return

While this will, in part, depend on your circumstances it is likely to include information on:

  • your income, including any tips and commissions received
  • any company dividends received
  • interest from savings accounts
  • taxable benefits, whether from an employer or the government
  • income from rental properties
  • income from any trust funds or other financial settlements
  • capital gains following the sale of assts – for example, a second home or other property, shares, land, etc.


Any late returns will receive an automatic £100 penalty. This will apply for any submissions that are made up to three months beyond the 31st of January. After this, additional penalties will apply, as well as interest charges, and that can all quickly begin to add up. It is worth noting that if you are a partner in a business partnership and fail to submit a return on time all partners can be fined.

For advice and assistance with preparing your tax return let our team at Bells Accountants give you a helping hand. You can get hold of us by phone on 020 8763 1711 or email at and we will get the ball rolling for you straightaway.