Tax returns - File your HMRC Tax Return Online

Whether you file it on paper or online, your tax return is the form you use to declare all your taxable income to HMRC. You also use tax returns for claiming any tax allowances you’re entitled to, or any tax rebates you’re owed. HMRC uses the information you send them to work out how much tax you owe or are owed back. Getting your tax returns right can be complicated and stressful – and even innocent mistakes can cost you. RIFT can take care of the whole messy business for you, handling all the paperwork and hitting all the deadlines.

Self-Employed Tax Calculator

Tax Returns

What is a tax return?

A tax return is a simple way of telling the taxman:

HMRC takes that information, crunches the numbers and comes back with the total amount of tax you owe.  If you're self-employed, you'll use a self-assessment tax return to sort out your allowances.

The tax return rules have a lot of hoops to jump through, so it's definitely worth getting comfortable with the information on this page.  Not understanding what you were supposed to do is no excuse in the taxman's eyes.  

Tax returns aren't just for the self-employed people, either.  There are actually loads of reasons why HMRC might expect a return from you.  So, if you're the director of a company or have income outside of your main job, don't ignore the taxman when he starts sniffing around for a return.

On the other hand, if you've got work expenses you pay yourself and might be due a tax rebate, our simple tax rebate calculator will point you in the right direction. 

Self-Employed Tax Calculator

Tax return paperwork

What documents do I need to file my tax return?

The documents you need to file a Self Assessment tax return will vary according to your circumstances. Here are some of the most important things to keep on hand when you're doing the paperwork. Remember that not all of them may apply to you, particularly if you haven't done any "on the books" work for an employer during the tax year:

  • Form P45, if you stopped working for an employer during the tax year.
  • Form P60, showing what tax you've paid.
  • Form P11D, if you get any "benefits in kind" like a company car.
  • Records of any Taxed Award Schemes or redundancy payments.
  • Details of any rental income or expenses, or other untaxed earnings.
  • Any savings and investment statements you’ve got.
  • Full details of all your income and necessary expenses from self-employment, plus any paperwork you have to back them up.

If you're new to self-employment, you'll also need to register for the Self Assessment system. For that, you'll need:

  • Some personal information (name, address, date of birth, contact details)
  • Your National Insurance number.
  • The date you became self-employed.
  • The type/nature of your business.
  • Your business address and telephone number.

Tax Returns

When is the tax return deadline?

As long as you’ve got your tax return filed online by the 31st of January the following year, you can do it whenever’s convenient. Having said that, it’s really not a great idea to wait until the last minute. The more notice you give yourself to get your return filed and your tax paid, the easier things will be for you. Filing sooner gives you a heads-up of what you owe long before you need to come up with the cash, for instance. That means you’re giving yourself some valuable time for planning and saving up. On top of that, things tend to get a little hectic at HMRC as the tax return deadline creeps closer.

Online tax returns

Can I see my tax return online?

Once you've filed your tax return online you can see it, along with your returns from previous tax years, by logging into your Government Gateway account. If you need to make changes to a tax return, you can do that there, too. However, there's a time limit for amendments. If you haven't made the changes you need to after 12 months from the filing deadline (31st of January), then you've left it too late.

Things get a little more complicated if you file your Self Assessment tax returns on paper. In that case, you'll need to download a new tax return document from the government website and correct the information in that. Since the deadline for paper tax returns is different, your deadline for amendments is different, too. In this case, you get a limit of 12 months after the paper deadline of the 31st of October.

Tax Returns online

When can I expect to receive my tax return?

You won't normally receive a tax return from HMRC. They announced that they'd no longer be sending them out back in 2020. However, you can file your tax return online any time after the end of the tax year it belongs to. Simply log into your account on the government website to get started. If you need to use a paper tax return for any reason, you can download one from there, too.

You can expect to be sent reminders from HMRC when they're expecting you to submit a Self Assessment tax return. Never ignore these, even if you haven't made any self-employment profits or don't know why you're being asked to file a return. Of course, if you're a RIFT customer, we'll remind you ourselves when there's a deadline looming, in plenty of time for us to get your tax return prepared and submitted for you.

Tax refunds and tax returns

What's the difference between a tax refund and a tax return?

A tax refund is the money HMRC gives you back when you've paid too much tax for any reason. Tax returns, by contrast, are one of the tools you use to claim that refund. If you're paying out over £2,500 in work expenses each year, for example, the taxman will ask for a tax return from you before he pays out on your refund claim.

When you’re self-employed or working through CIS (the Construction Industry Scheme), you'll use a Self Assessment tax return to report the cash coming in and going out. It's still easy to end up paying too much tax through Self Assessment, though, so getting expert help is always a smart move.

Tax Calculator

UTR Number

What's a UTR number?

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a 10 digit code that you or your company get from HMRC to identify you for tax purposes. 

If you work in trades and need a UTR number, RIFT can help.  We can also help you out if you've lost your UTR number. Click the button below to find out more.

UTR Number Help

Current tax year

What is the current tax year in the UK?

UK Tax years run from the 6th of April to the 5th of April the following calendar year. For example, the tax year covering 2021/22 ended on the 5th April 2022. This means your tax rebate for that year could cover expenses from as far back as 2018/19.

As for why the tax year is worked out from such odd dates - well, it's complicated. The short answer is that Pope Gregory XIII messed everything up and September 1752 was missing 11 days. After that, things get tricky...

CIS

CIS Tax Returns

If you’re paid via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you’ll have to start filing annual Self Assessment tax returns after your first year of trading. You’ll submit your tax return after the end of the tax year in April, then pay any tax you owe by the end of following January.

RIFT’s dedicated CIS tax return team is always standing by and ready to help with any questions, problems or worries you may have.

CIS Tax Returns

Tax Return Fees

What do accountants charge for Self Assessment tax returns?

It all depends on the accountant. You might be offered a fixed fee for a basic tax return service, or get stung with an expensive hourly rate. Either way, the charges made by traditional accountants can vary widely. Your circumstances can make a major difference, too. For example, a CIS subcontractor might be charged £250 as a fixed fee. However, the same accountant might charge £350 for a Sole Trader with full accounts to go through. A partnership might easily be charged £400 or more for the same service, while Limited Companies could find themselves billed £650 or even more. When you get into clocking up hourly rates, tax return accountant fees as high as £120 per hour aren't unusual.

RIFT is different. We’ve got a tax return service with no hourly rates to and no hidden charges to spring on you. Our fixed-rate prices start at just £95+VAT. Meanwhile, our CIS Tax Return and Refund package is £245+VAT, and our free Tax Return Calculator means you get no nasty surprises. Just answer a few quick questions and we'll quote you a simple fixed fee for your tax return.