The 2020-2021 tax year is upon us. For those who have earnings outside of PAYE, this means maintaining business as usual in the face of truly unprecedented economic uncertainty.
However, it’s easier said than done when you’re faced with ever-changing tax legislation and HMRC penalties should you submit your Self Assessment tax return incorrectly. It’s for this reason that mapping out the certain tax dates ahead of April 2020 is essential if you intend on staying on the right side of the taxman.
The key dates in the 2020-2021 tax year include the 6th April 2020 – the start of the tax year – and payment, registration and submission deadlines on31st July, 5th October, and 31st October and 31st January. Read on to discover more about each of them, as well as what qualifies for Income Tax.
6th April 2020: Start of the new tax year
April 2020 marks the start of a new financial year. Tax-free Personal Allowances changes normally come into effect on the 6 April each year. However, the personal allowance remains unchanged at £12,500 for the 20/21 tax year.
You may also receive your new tax code for the year. The numbers within your tax code refer to the amount of tax-free income you’re entitled to that year. This means that they can change annually, making it essential that you check they’re correct upon receiving them. Otherwise, you run the risk of paying more than you need to or facing an avoidable bill.
This is also a good opportunity to arrange your paperwork for your next Self Assessment tax return. While it isn’t due until January 2021, having the documentation and receipts ready will allow you to prepare and submit your tax return early, avoiding the pressure of the last minute panic and the uncertainty of what tax you will need to pay.
31st July 2020: Payment on account deadline for 2019/20 tax year –
Speaking of tax to pay, July is when many individuals make their second payment on account.
Payments on account are advance payments towards your next tax bill. They’re calculated based on your tax bill from the previous year. The reason for the two payments is to soften the blow for those who would otherwise have to pay one significant sum in January.
You can currently make this payment via postal cheque, the HMRC online portal or by BACS from your online banking.
Please note: While this would usually be the case, as a result of government support for both self-employed individuals and other taxpayers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 July payment on account deadline has been pushed back to 31st January 2021.
5th October 2020: Deadline to register for Self Assessment
The 5th October marks the date you need to register for Self Assessment. There are three ways to do this depending on whether you are:
- Self-employed (first time submitting)
- Self-employed (previously submitted)
- Not self-employed
If you’re now self-employed and you’ve never submitted a Self Assessment before, you’ll first need to register. Upon receiving your registration, HMRC will send you a letter with your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference number on, which will allow you to set up your account for the Self Assessment online service.
Once you’ve filed, HMRC will be able to determine your Income Tax rate and National Insurance due.
For those that are self-employed and have previously submitted a Self Assessment tax return, you will need to fill out a CWF1 form.
For those who are not self-employed and have earnings outside of PAYE, the form you need to complete is your SA1 form, which identifies that you have income that needs to be taxed. This extends to any of the following sources of income:
- Income from employment
- Income from pensions
- Interests from savings
- Rental income
- Employment benefits
- Income from a trust
31st October 2020: Paper Self Assessment tax return deadline
While perhaps an outdated form of submission, even today, a significant number of UK taxpayers still file their Self Assessment tax returns via paper and postage.
The deadline for this method, however, is three months earlier than online. This means that, should you miss the deadline to submit via paper, you have a second chance in the form of filing digitally.
It’s also worth noting that physical submissions are set to be gradually phased out, so it pays to get to grips with digital sooner rather than later.
31st January 2021: Digital Self Assessment tax return deadline, and deadline to pay the tax you owe
Finally, the last deadline of the year marks the point when the majority of UK taxpayers (10.4 million customers) submit their Self Assessment tax return online.
Despite this deadline occurring on the same day every year, 958,296 failed to submit on time and 702,171 filed just hours before the 2020 deadline. While this implies that submitting on time is difficult, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Filing as late as the 31st January puts you at the mercy of exhausted HMRC support teams and beleaguered accountants if you rely on them. While filing as soon as after the end of the tax year may feel unnecessary, it allows you to plan ahead for your tax bill and steer clear of the last-minute rush.
How GoSimpleTax can help
The 2020-2021 tax year is going to be challenging for many taxpayers. Those submitting shouldn’t allow themselves to get suffocated by Self Assessments. And nor should they be faced with steep accountancy bills when they’re already facing an uncertain financial climate.
That’s where we come in. With our intuitive software, not only can we relieve you of your reliance on accountants, but also provide useful prompts on how to maximise your take-home pay. Through highlighting allowances and clarifying whether you qualify for them, we can indicate areas where you may be able to reduce your tax liability.
GoSimpleTax pulls together your income and expenditure, compiles it into a compliant Self Assessment format, and files directly to HMRC on your behalf – ensuring you meet your deadline with minimum disruption to you.
Sound good? Start your free trial today and see how GoSimpleTax could ensure your compliance this tax year.