Self-assessment – what you need to know

The 31 January 2018 deadline for online submissions might seem a long time in the future with Christmas almost on our doorstep, but don’t be complacent.  Now is the perfect time to get organised, so that you’re not running around like a headless chicken in the New Year.  If you need assistance, our CHW Accountants in Bolton already provide expert advice to a vast amount of local individuals and businesses and we can help you.  Patrick Lydon, Partner at CHW briefly explains the basics of self-assessment.

Who must submit a tax return

It’s not just self-employed people and partnerships who must submit a tax return.

If you fall within the following criteria then you are obliged to submit a return:

  • you earned £2,500 or more in untaxed income
  • your taxable income was more than £100,000
  • you had income from savings, investments or dividends of £10,000 or more before tax
  • your income or your partner’s income was more than £50,000 and you claimed child benefit.

If you are unsure as to whether you need to submit a tax return, contact CHW Small Business Accounting and we will advise.

If you do need to submit a tax return there is a certain amount of paperwork you will need to have in order.

Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)

You will need your UTR which is a 10-digit code. HMRC will have sent this to you when you registered for self-assessment or you can also find it on correspondence from HMRC.

Books and records

Records of income, expenses and investments will help you fill in your tax return accurately. HMRC might ask to see your records should they decide to check your tax return, so it’s important to retain them even after you’ve sent your return.

At this stage you still have time to get duplicates but come 31 January, time won’t be on your side. If you can’t get backup copies you can use provisional figures, but make sure you mention this in the ‘Any other information’ section of your tax return.

Completing the return

If you choose to do this yourself carefully complete each section. You can save your progress and return to it later. This can be a time consuming process if you are not accustomed to completing this yourself and it is easy to make errors.  Our Accountants in Bolton can take this hassle away from you.

Pay your tax 

The last step is to pay the tax you owe from the previous tax year by 31 January.

You can view your bill online in 2 ways:

Before you send your return – navigate to the ‘view your calculation’ once you’ve filled in your form

After you’ve sent your return – your bill will appear in your HMRC account although it may take up to 72 hours to appear after sending your return.

You can pay online, over the phone at your bank or post office. Cheques sent by post clearly take longer to reach HMRC so you’ll need to factor this in to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.

Payments on account

If your tax bill is more than £1,000 you will have to make advance payments towards your next tax bill – known as payments on account.

The first payment on account of half the bill is due on 31 January and the other half is due on 31 July. Any outstanding tax will need to be paid by 31 January the following year.

This means that potentially you will have to pay any tax you owe from the previous tax year and your first payment on account by 31 January.

Getting ahead with self-assessment will give you more time and less stress.

For more advice about self-assessment and your responsibilities contact our Accountants in Bolton or read our top ten tax tips for further help.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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