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Part of the process for setting up your own business involves deciding how you want to structure it. You may choose to set up a limited company, or you might decide to work as a sole trader, for instance. The structure that you use impacts how and when you submit a tax return to report your business income.

The deadlines for submitting a return depend on what sort of tax you must submit information for. In this article we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about tax return due dates.

What type of tax return do I need to submit?

What is the tax return deadline for Self Assessment?

When do I need to submit my Company Tax Return?

What is the VAT reporting deadline?

When is the PAYE reporting deadline?

What happens if I miss the deadline for submitting my tax return?

Where can I get help if I can’t pay my tax bill?

What if I have a reason for not submitting my tax return?

This depends on what sort of income you need to report to HMRC. For example, if you operate a business as a sole trader then you’ll normally need to file a Self Assessment tax return. If you register a limited company then you’ll need to prepare a Company Tax Return to report your company’s profits.

The latest date to submit your Self Assessment tax return is:

You can submit your tax return well before the deadline, giving yourself more time to prepare. Submitting earlier doesn’t change the deadline for paying your tax bill on 31st January.

Some people need to submit Self Assessment returns even though they’re not self-employed, but this doesn’t affect the submission deadline.

The deadline for filing your Company Tax Return is 12 months after the end of the accounting period that the return is for.

The filing requirements for limited companies can be slightly more complicated than they are for other types of business because there’s a bit more to do:

You might also need to submit a Self Assessment tax return to report your personal income from the company – for instance, if you’re a shareholder and you receive dividends.

If you’re registered for VAT then you’ll need to make regular MTD VAT submissions to report the amount you pay, and that you collect on sales. The timing of these submissions depends on what type of VAT accounting scheme you use.

If you’re an employer or pay a salary to company directors, you must register for PAYE. You’ll need to send an RTI submission to HMRC to tell them about the payments and any tax deductions you make.

The reporting deadline is the 19th of the next tax month if you run your payroll on a monthly basis. The deadline to pay your PAYE bill is:

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HMRC charge late penalties on tax returns that are overdue, and the fine increases with time. You might also need to pay interest and further penalties on late payments.

If you need to submit a tax return but you’re worried about paying the bill, you might be able to make a Time to Pay agreement with HMRC. This is basically a payment plan between you and HMRC, so you can make affordable payments if you’re struggling to pay the bill – just be aware that you’ll normally still need to submit your tax return.

Learn more about the Time to Pay scheme.

HMRC are keen to point out that they will try to help if you have a genuine reason for submitting your tax return late, and you can appeal a fine if you need to.

The criteria for having ‘a reasonable excuse’ is fairly strict, and includes the death of a close relative or unexpected illness. Just to clear a few things up though, HMRC published a list of excuses which were refused:

Learn more about our online accounting services, including support for your tax return. Call 020 3355 4047, and get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Beth-Anne Bruce

I'm an experienced and fully AAT and ACCA qualified accountant, who is enthusiastic about helping business owners succeed. I also love cooking and needlepoint (at different times!). Learn more about Beth.

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