Registering for self assessment
Registering for self assessment refers to the process by which HMRC issue you with a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) (if you don’t already have one) and they send you a formal notice to file a tax return for a year. If you need to send a self assessment tax return for the first time, you will need to register with HMRC for self assessment.
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How to register
There are different ways to register depending on your circumstances. If you are self-employed, see our separate guidance.
If you are not self-employed, see the guidance on GOV.UK.
If you need to notify HMRC that you owe tax for a year (see Who has to complete a tax return), you must do so by 5 October following the end of the tax year. For example, if you received rental income in the 2022/23 tax year, you should register with HMRC by 5 October 2023.
The above deadline does not apply where HMRC have already asked you to file a tax return for the year. For example, if you already file tax returns for another reason but you start to receive a new source of income, then you would usually just report that new source of income on the relevant return (though you may need to register separately for class 2 National Insurance if you commence self-employment).
If you miss the notification deadline, then you may be charged a penalty for failure to notify.
However, if you notify HMRC after 5 October, then provided you have paid your income tax liability in full by the usual 31 January payment deadline, HMRC should reduce the late-notification penalty to zero. Note in these circumstances that you should also make sure you file your tax return on time.
If you have reported a property disposal within 60 days, you may still need to register separately for self assessment.
If you already have a UTR
If you already have a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) – perhaps because you filed tax returns some years ago – then you should still notify HMRC by the 5 October deadline if you need to file a tax return for the previous year.
HMRC will then issue a formal notice to file a tax return for the previous year.