A Guide to Registering for HMRC’s Self-Assessment Tax Returns

Registering for and filing your self-assessment tax return doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little bit of preparation, you can make the process much easier and less stressful through using the designated online portals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to registering for a self-assessment tax return with HMRC.

Tell HMRC you Need to Send a Return

The first stage in the process is telling HMRC that you need to file a self-assessment tax return. The way that you do this will vary depending on why you are registering for self-assessment.

If you are self-employed, you should tell HMRC using this page.

If you are not self-employed, you should tell HMRC using this page.

If you are registering a partner or a partnership, you should tell HMRC using this page (you will need your Government Gateway ID to register a partner or a partnership – see below).

You will need to do this far enough in advance to ensure that you have enough time to file your return (and pay any taxes due) before the relevant deadline. The relevant deadline to pay taxes online for self-employed people is the January after the end of the tax year to which the taxes relate.

For example, if you are paying taxes for the 2014/15 tax year, you would need to have paid your self-assessment taxes by 31 January 2016. If you are filing paper returns, the deadline is the 31st October, so you have less time to pay the tax after the end of the tax year. Make sure that you file your return and pay any taxes by the relevant deadline or you will receive a penalty.

A Checklist of Things You’ll Need

  • Name
  • National Insurance Number
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Start date of self-employment
  • Type of business
  • Business’s contact details (registered address and telephone number)
  • Names of any business partners

Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)

HMRC will confirm your registration and send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). You need to use this UTR to register as a new user on the HMRC website.

Registering on the Government Gateway and Activating your Account

Once you have received your UTR, you need to register as a new user on the HMRC website. As an alternative, you can do this registration as part of the process of signing up for a Government Gateway account. Whichever route you choose, HMRC will send you an activation code in the post. You need to activate your online account using this code.

Once you have activated your HMRC account, you will be set up on the system so you can file your return online. When you are ready to file your return, you will need your login details to hand and can login here.

Self-Assessment Forms and Guidance

Gov.UK has a dedicated page with the full list of self-assessment forms and help-sheets here.


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