UK Self Assessment Tax Returns Explained

If you are living and working in the UK, you might be required to file a Self Assessment tax return, which is the system that the UK’s government uses to collect taxes. Given that the parameters for eligibility are quite wide, we’ve drawn up a list to understand better who might be obligated to file.

Who is eligible for the UK Self Assessment Tax Return?

If you’re a foreign national living in the UK (meaning you’re a resident, if not necessarily domiciled) you’ll need to file a Self Assessment tax return if:

  • You are self-employed.
  • You received more than £2,500 in untaxed income over the course of the year. This income can include anything from tips received to money made from renting out a property.
  • You are a company director. The exception to this rule is if – like in the case of non-profits – you received no compensation at all for your role, including benefits like a company car.
  • You earned more than £10,000 before tax from savings or investments, or from dividends from shares.
  • You earned income from selling shares, a second home, or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax.
  • Your overall taxable income exceeded £100,000, or if you or your partner’s income was over £50,000 and you were claiming Child Benefit.
  • You were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme, or if your pension exceeded your personal allowance and was your only source of income. Although, pensions started after April 6, 2016 are exempt from this rule.
  • You received a P800 from HMRC saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year.

If you’re earning money from the UK, but are a resident elsewhere, you might still be eligible to file a self-assessment tax return. Since tax residency status is a complicated issue in the UK, we advise consulting with a tax expert in this case.

Dates and Deadlines for Filing and Paying a Self Assessment Tax Return

Bear in mind that the UK tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year, and that you should file after that date.

The deadline for filing self assessments online is January 31st.

The deadline for payment is the January 31st, though it’s possible to spread the payment into two or more installments.

Registering for the Self Assessment Tax Return

If you’ve never filed a Self Assessment tax return in the UK before, you’ll need to register first. There are different ways to register depending on whether you are self-employed, a sole trader, or registering a partnership.

Once registered, you’ll receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR) from HMRC. You’ll use it to register for the online Government Gateway Account, before being sent an activation code through the post.

Filing a Self Assessment Tax Return

Once you have your activation code, you can file your taxes online through the Government Gateway, or use GOV.UK Verify.

There are two other options for filing the Self Assessment tax return: the first is to do it on your computer. There are a number of different software options for this and you can find the list here. Otherwise, you can do it the old-fashioned way by putting pen to paper and filling out the SA100 form, which can be downloaded from here.

Paying a Self Assessment Tax Bill

Once your taxes are filed, you can pay the amount you owe a number of ways, over the phone or online by debit or credit card, at the bank building society or post office, by check or through CHAPS.

Still have questions about your US expat taxes or your UK Self Assessment?

Our team of expert accountants are standing by to provide you with the tax expertise you need in order to make educated tax decisions. Contact us today to have your tax questions answered.

Free Guide: The 25 Things Every Expat Needs to Know About Taxes

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