Don't forget the self-assessment deadline

As the deadline for self-assessment tax returns edges ever closer, it's becoming increasingly imperative that you're aware of what is needed. The cost of not having your form and any outstanding payments reach HM Revenue & Customs by this date, is a penalty of £100.

Here's how to get your returns in on time.

1 Dig out your paperwork

If you are employed you will need to gather your payslips, P60 form (a summary of your earnings and tax paid), a P11D form if you receive taxable expenses or benefits and a P45 if you have changed jobs.

The self-employed will need to provide records of all income and expenditure if your annual turnover was below £15,000, and full business accounts if your turnover was £15,000 or above.

You will also need records of income and expenditure if you let out property or land, and details of any assets, shares and other investments you have disposed of.

2 Get online

Using the HMRC website ( is the easiest and quickest way to file your tax return because your tax is calculated automatically and you receive an immediate acknowledgement of receipt. However, if this is the first time you are using the online service, don't leave it until the last minute because it can take up to seven days to set up.

To register you'll need your unique taxpayer reference number, which is printed on your tax return, and your national insurance number or postcode. Once you've completed the registration and chosen a password, a unique user ID and activation PIN will be sent to you within seven days.

3 Fill in your tax return

When your details arrive, you have 28 days to log in to the HMRC site and complete your tax return. You don't have to fill the form in all at once; it allows you to save and edit so you can come back to it. When you have finished, your bill will be calculated for you, and a completed tax return and statement of account will be available to save or print off.

4 Pay your bill

You can pay your bill securely online through the HMRC's site or your own bank's internet or telephone banking service. You can also pay by bank Giro, at the Post Office or by sending a cheque, payable to HM Revenue & Customs only, to HM Revenue & Customs Accounts Office, Bradford, BD98 1YY.

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