What dates are important for self-employment?

Updated on 20 April 2017

This part of the website aims to provide a summary of key dates that are important if you are self-employed so you know when you need to take action. As a self-employed person, you will fall within the self assessment system.

What is self assessment?

Self assessment is the process by which you advise HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of your income, gains and relevant expenses for a tax year. You do this by completing a tax return, sending it to HMRC and calculating your own tax liability (note the online return will do the calculation for you automatically). You can find out more about self-assessment on the ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ page.

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Important dates if you are self-employed

When we talk about dates for tax, often the date is said to be ‘during the tax year’ or ‘following the end of the tax year’. A UK tax year runs from 6 April to the following 5 April.

So if we are talking about the tax year 2017/2018 it would start on 6 April 2017 and finish on 5 April 2018. The 31 January during the tax year would be 31 January 2018, the 5 October following the end of the tax year would be 5 October 2018 and the 31 January following the end of the tax year would be 31 January 2019. 

Not all of the dates listed below may apply to you even if you are self-employed. You can follow the links that give you more information to help you decide if you need to take some action by that date.

31 January (during the tax year)  

The first payment on account for the tax year ending the following 5 April is due.

For example, the first payment on account for the 2017/18 tax year is due by 31 January 2018.

Find out more about payments on account on our ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ page. Not everyone has to pay these payments on account.

April (following the end of the tax year)  

The tax year ends on 5 April and shortly after this date anyone who is required to file a tax return will receive a notice advising that you must file a tax return for the tax year just ended.

If you are newly self-employed, you will need to register with HMRC for tax and National Insurance (NIC) for this to happen.

31 July (following the end of the tax year)  

The second payment on account for the tax year ending the previous 5 April is due.

For example, the second payment on account for the 2017/18 tax year is due by 31 July 2018.

Find out more about payments on account on our ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ page. Not everyone has to pay these payments on account.

5 October (following the end of the tax year)  

The 5 October is the date by which you need to notify HMRC that you have income that has not been taxed before you received it or capital gains in excess of £11,300 (2017/18). This is so that HMRC can send you a tax return.

If you are self-employed, you need to register with HMRC for tax purposes by this date.

Find out more on our ‘how do I register for tax and National Insurance’ page if you are self-employed.

31 October (following the end of the tax year)  

If you are sending HMRC a paper tax return this must be submitted by the 31 October. If you send the form after this date there will be a penalty even if you have no tax to pay. See our penalties page for further information.

Find out more about tax returns for the self-employed and the options for paper or online returns in our ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ page.

30 December (following the end of the tax year)

 

If you file your tax return online, you will need to submit it by this date if you have employment or pension income and want HMRC to collect the self-employed tax through your tax code. This may be possible where you owe less than £3,000. If your income is more than £30,000, even more tax may be collected through your tax code. See ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ for more information.

31 January (following the end of the tax year)  

All tax returns filed online must be submitted by this date. If you miss this deadline a penalty will be charged even if you have no tax to pay or have already paid all of the tax you owe. See our 'penalties section' for more information.

Find out more on our ‘how do I register for tax and National Insurance’ page if you are self-employed.

Also your balancing payment of tax is due at this time. For example your balancing payment for 2017/18 is due on 31 January 2019. See our ‘how do I pay tax on self-employed income’ page. You may also have a payment on account to make at this time. For example you may have a payment on account to pay for the 2018/19 tax year on 31 January 2019.

 Find out more about payments on account on our 'how do I pay tax on self-employed income' page. Not everyone has to pay these payments on account.

31 January (following the end of the tax year ) + 1 year  

If you become aware that an entry on your paper or online tax return is incorrect you can amend that return up to 12 months after 31 January following the end of the tax year.

For example, if you need to amend your 2016/17 return you have until 31 January 2019 to make the amendment. This applies whether you filed manually using a paper return or completed it online.


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