300,000 file tax returns in the first week of the tax year

The numbers of taxpayers who filed their self-assessment tax return in the week starting 6 April, and the requirement to complete a tax return.

According to HMRC, almost 300,000 taxpayers filed their self-assessment tax return in the first week of the new tax year. Almost 70,000 people filed their return on the opening day this year (6 April).

Please see here to find out more about self-assessment and how to file a tax return.

HMRC says that, in recent years, it has seen more and more taxpayers file their tax returns early. Last year, more than 246,000 people submitted their self-assessment returns between 6 and 12 April 2023.

HMRC is encouraging people to file their tax returns early and not to leave it until January 2025 and it has updated its guidance on filing tax returns early and help around paying tax bills. As the 31 January payment deadline approaches, there is not always time for anyone who is new to self-assessment to obtain a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) needed to file a tax return online. 

Anyone who is new to self-assessment and thinks they might need to complete a tax return for the 2023/24 tax year can use HMRC’s self-assessment online tool to check whether they need to register for self-assessment and submit a return. However, as mentioned in our earlier Bulletin, there are more than a few issues with this tool.

People may need to complete a tax return for the 2023/24 tax year and pay any tax owed if, in the tax year 2023/24:

  • they were a self-employed individual with an income over £1,000;
  • they received any untaxed income over £2,500;
  • they were renting out one or more properties. (Although, HMRC’s latest Press Release doesn’t mention it, there is a £1,000 allowance, so a return may not be required if total property income was below that amount. Please see here);
  • they claimed Child Benefit and they or their partner had an income above £50,000 (although this figure increased to £60,000 per annum from 6 April 2024, HMRC’s Press Release correctly refers to the £50,000 per annum figure that applied up to 5 April 2024, as this was the figure that applied for the 2023/24 tax return);
  • they were a partner in a partnership;
  • they have income from savings and investments on which tax is due. (At the time of writing, HMRC’s Press Release, quite confusingly, refers to a £10,000 personal savings allowance, whereas the allowance is £1,000 for a basic rate taxpayer, £500 for a higher rate taxpayer and £nil for an additional rate taxpayer. HMRC will usually change an individual’s tax code automatically to take extra tax from their income where savings interest is up to £10,000. HMRC will tell anyone who is not employed, does not get a pension or does not complete self-assessment, how much interest they received at the end of the year, if they need to pay tax and how to pay it. Someone who earns more than £10,000 from savings and investments will need to complete a self-assessment tax return. Please see here);
  • they have income from dividends in excess of the £1,000 dividend allowance for the 2023/24 tax year. (HMRC’s Press Release refers to a £10,000 figure, because it’s possible for individuals to pay tax on up to £10,000 in dividends by contacting the helpline and asking HMRC to change their tax code, where relevant, so the tax will be taken from their wages or pension. Please see here);
  • they have income for the tax year that exceeded £150,000. (This is aimed at employees, since the self-employed are already required to file a return. If the individual’s income is less than the threshold, they are still required to file a return if they fall into any other category (e.g. they have untaxed income);
  • they have annual trust or settlement income on which tax is still due;
  • they have income from the estate of a deceased person on which tax is still due;
  • they have income from overseas sources that is liable to UK tax;
  • they were non-resident, dual resident or not domiciled in the UK and it affected their UK tax position (e.g. UK income received by a non-UK resident);
  • they made disposals of assets chargeable to capital gains tax that exceeded £50,000, or gains before losses exceeded the 2023/24 annual exemption of £6,000. Please see here. (At the time of writing, HMRC’s Press Release, quite confusingly, says “they have paid Capital Gains Tax on assets that were sold for a profit above the Capital Gains threshold.”)

A full list of who needs to complete a tax return is available on GOV.UK.

Other HMRC guidance says the following also need to complete a tax return:

  • a minister of religion (any faith);
  • a name or member of Lloyd’s;
  • an examiner, exam moderator or invigilator;
  • a share fisherman.

In addition, the following may need to submit a tax return:

  • those wanting to make a claim for certain employment expenses;
  • those wanting to make a claim for tax reliefs (such as enterprise investment scheme income tax relief);
  • those who owe tax and it cannot be collected via PAYE or the taxpayer does not want it to be collected via PAYE.

The list above and HMRC’s interactive decision tree tool are designed to help taxpayers to decide whether or not they should contact HMRC regarding the completion of a tax return. The actual need to file depends on the taxpayer’s circumstances.

Pensioners are required to pay income tax on any taxable income, including their pension income, above their personal allowance threshold. There are different ways to pay any tax owed, depending on the individual’s circumstances, including:

  • if they already complete a self-assessment tax return, they will need to report and pay via this route;
  • if they have a PAYE tax code, HMRC will automatically collect any tax through their tax code.

Alternatively, if a pensioner does not already pay tax via self-assessment or PAYE, HMRC will send them a Simple Assessment summary. The Simple Assessment will tell them how much income tax they need to pay and the deadline – usually by 31 January following the end of the tax year. HMRC produces the Simple Assessment from the information it already holds, so people do not need to do anything – there is no form to complete. Please see Simple Assessment for more information.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to www.techlink.co.uk.