How to Use The HMRC Self-Assessment Form

The HMRC Self-Assessment can be complex and difficult to navigate. This article acts as a guide to completing the process and highlights things you need to be aware of whilst filing your own self-assessment.

Arjun Kumar
Arjun Kumar
Sep 6, 2023

Understanding the HMRC Self-Assessment Form

If you're self-employed, it's likely that you’ve come across the term 'HMRC Self Assessment form'. In short, this is the system that HMRC utilises to allow individuals to submit their own tax returns. Despite this being a necessity for many people, the form can be complex and time-consuming to complete. It requires individuals to navigate through intricate questions and self-evaluations, which demand a significant amount of time and effort to be dedicated to completing the process.

This guide will encompass all the essential details concerning the self-assessment process, including the crucial information needed to complete the form and common mistakes that are frequently made.

Who needs to fill out the Self Assessment Form?

The HMRC Self Assessment form is specifically designed for individuals who cannot have their taxes automatically deducted from their wages, pensions, or savings. Let's take a look at who needs to utilise this form:

  • Self-employed individuals (who earned more than £1,000 in the last tax year)
  • Partners in a business partnership
  • Company directors (unless you didn't receive any taxable pay or benefits)
  • Landlords
  • People with foreign income (living in the UK)
  • Other income earners (includes individuals who earn regular income from a trust or settlement, or people with capital gains tax to pay.)

It is worth noting that this list is not exhaustive. If you are unsure as to whether you fit into one of these categories or need to fill out a self-assessment form, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Taxd team, we’re more than happy to help. Remember, it’s your responsibility to inform HMRC if you think you should be completing a self-assessment form and failure to do so could result in penalties and fines.

What information do you need to fill out the Self Assessment Form?

Preparing to fill out your HMRC Self-Assessment form can feel overwhelming as there are lots of intricate details that you need to ensure are entered correctly. In order to make the process feel more manageable, we’ve listed out all of the key information that you’ll need.

Personal Information

National Insurance number: This unique identifier is crucial for any tax and social security-related matters. If you don't know your NI number, you can find it on your payslip, P60, or letters about tax, pensions, or benefits. This is only applicable if you live in the UK. Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR): This is a 10-digit number that's unique to you or your company. It's given to you when you register for self-assessment.

Financial Information

All income and expenditures related to your business must be accurately reported. Here's what you'll need:

  • Income: This includes any money earned from your employment or business, whether self-employed or as a partner, during the tax year. You'll need to report income from other sources as well, such as rental income or savings and investments.

  • Expenses: As a self-employed individual, you're entitled to deduct certain expenses from your taxable income. Ensure you keep detailed records and receipts of all business expenses in order to complete this section.

Additional Records

In addition to your income and expenses, you may need to provide some other documents and information, depending on your circumstances:

  • Asset Gains/Losses: If you have disposed of assets such as shares, cryptocurrency, property etc. You may have made a gain or a loss. Gains over £12,000 are taxable in the 22/23 tax year, this reduces to £6,000 in 23/24 and £3,000 in 24/25.

  • Records of any tips or gratuities: All tips, gratuities, or service charges that you receive must be reported.

  • Tax Efficiency, such as pension contributions, charitable donations, venture capital schemes, marriage allowances and more. Taxd will automatically suggest those that might be applicable to you.

Step-by-step Guide to Filling Out the Self-Assessment Form

Now that you know who needs to fill out the form and what information is required, let's delve into a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the HMRC Self-Assessment form. Remember, you must ensure that you enter all relevant information as accurately as possible and choose the correct forms.

Although it is possible to complete this process yourself, it’s likely that you may find HMRC's portal and customer service complex and difficult to navigate. This is where many people leave themselves susceptible to fines or penalties and miss out on potential deductions.

If, like many UK citizens, you find this to be the case, we recommend that you file your tax return with software such as Taxd. Taxd allows you to effortlessly file your tax return by presenting you with a series of relevant questions in order to file a compliant and tax-efficient self-assessment.

However, if you think you’re ready to file your own tax return, the below process outlines the key steps that you need to follow in order to complete the process yourself on the HMRC website.

Please note you cannot file a Self Assessment tax return online: for a partnership, for a trust or estate, if you lived abroad as a non-resident, if you are looking to claim remittance basis, to report multiple ‘chargeable gains’, for example from life insurance, if you get income from a trust, you’re a Lloyd’s underwriter or a religious minister.

Step 1: Register for Self-Assessment

If it's your first time filling out the Self-Assessment form, you need to register with HMRC on their website. Once registered, you will receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and gain access to the self-assessment online service.

Registering as a sole trader:

Registering for any other reason (SA1):

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Step 2: Log in to HMRC

Once you have registered, log into the HMRC online system using your Government Gateway ID.

Step 3: Complete your personal details

Once logged in, you will need to input all of your personal information. This will include basic details like your name, address, and date of birth.

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Step 4: Tailor your return

Next, you will see a series of yes or no questions to ensure you only fill in the sections that apply to you.

This is one of many stumbling blocks that people encounter when filling out their own self-assessment form. Remember, if you’re unsure about any of these steps, simply head over to the Taxd website and we’ll give you a helping hand!

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Step 5: Provide your financial information

The following step is providing your financial details. This includes your income and expenses from the previous tax year.

Step 6: Include additional records

Depending on your individual circumstances, you might need to include additional records, such as property income, capital gains, or foreign income.

Step 7: Check and submit your form

Before submitting, make sure to check your form thoroughly. Ensuring all information is correct and complete will help avoid potential issues and delays. Once you're happy with your form, click 'Submit'.

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Step 8: Pay your tax

After you've submitted your form, you'll be able to see how much tax you owe. You have until 31st January of the following year to pay this.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Out the Self-Assessment Form

Filling out your Self-assessment form can be a daunting task and it's quite easy to make mistakes that could cost you time, and money, or even result in penalties from HMRC. Here are some common mistakes to avoid so that you can get your self-assessment right the first time.

  • Missing the deadline
  • Incorrectly declaring income
  • Not keeping accurate records
  • Claiming ineligible expenses
  • Not getting professional help

Key Takeaways

Filling out the HMRC Self Assessment Form is a crucial task for self-employed individuals. It not only ensures compliance with UK tax laws but also gives a good overview of the financial health of your business activities. Completing the form through the HMRC website can be an extremely complex process due to all of the intricate steps and details that need to be completed with accuracy.

Remember, if you’re struggling with any of the steps we listed above, or you are worried about submitting any incorrect information, let Taxd take the weight off your shoulders. Our easy-to-use tool will help you file your tax return as efficiently as possible, ensuring all of the correct information is submitted.

If you have any questions about Taxd, or filing a self-assessment form, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team - we’d love to hear from you.

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