What is the tax return deadline in the UK?

If you earn untaxed income as a self-employed individual or from rental properties, it’s important to complete and submit a self-assessment tax return every year, before the deadline. If you don’t, you could be subject to penalties. On this page, you’ll learn about the updated tax return deadline, what may happen if you miss the deadline and the key dates you need to know this tax year.

What is the tax return deadlineWhat is the tax return deadlineWhat is the tax return deadline

When do I need to submit my tax return?

If you need to do a tax return, the deadline for submitting it for the UK tax year 2021/22 (6th April to 5th April) is midnight on 31st October 2021 if you’re submitting your return on paper, or 31st January 2022 if you’re submitting your return online*. (Don’t forget you might also be eligible to claim tax relief when you submit your tax return.)

The only time the tax return deadline in the UK may change is if you receive notice from HMRC telling you to submit an online tax return after 31st October 2021. In that case, you’ll have three months to submit your tax return from the date of notice. 

The deadline to pay your tax bill for 2021/22 is also on 31st January 2022. If you still owe tax from your 2021/22 income, it should be settled when you make your first payment. 

What happens if I miss the tax return deadline?

If you fail to submit your tax return on time, you could receive the following penalties:

  • You can be charged £100 for paying tax just one day past the deadline
  • If you pay later than three months after the deadline, you could be penalised up to £1,000
  • If you pay your tax bill between six and 12 months late, you may have to pay an additional £300 on top of your earlier fines. In some cases, you may be fined 5% of your tax bill, which can be more expensive
  • If you pay more than 12 months late, you’ll be subject to another £300 fine or 5% of your tax bill, including all other penalties. In more serious cases, you can be fined 100% of the tax you owe on top of your original tax bill

Important dates in the 2020/21 tax year you need to know

The following are important tax return dates you may want to keep in mind:

  • 6th April 2021: The first day of a new tax year. Depending on the UK government’s budget, new tax rates and allowances are implemented from this day.
  • 31st July 2021: If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to make your second payment for your tax bill from the previous year on account by midnight on 31st July.
  • 5th October 2021: You must submit your tax return for the tax year 2019/20 by this date. When you submit a tax return for the first time, you receive a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number and an activation code that allows you to file your returns.
  • 31st October 2021: The deadline to submit your tax return for the year ending 5th April 2020 in paper format. If you’ve received notice from HMRC that you need to file a tax return after 31st July 2020, you’ll need to complete your return within three months of the date on your notice.
  • 30th December 2021: The deadline for online submissions of self-assessment tax returns for the year ending 5th April 2020 if you want HMRC to collect tax using your tax code and you owe less than £3,000.
  • 31st January 2022: Online self-assessment tax returns for tax year 2020/21 must be submitted by this date.
  • 5th April 2022: The end of the tax year 2021/22.


Why is the end of the tax year important?

The end of the tax year is generally more important for those who are self-employed or registered as a sole trader, rather than people who are employed by companies. This is because self-employed people and sole traders are responsible for paying their own taxes and submitting their earnings through a process called self-assessment.

However, even if you are a salaried employee and earn your income via PAYE (Pay As You Earn), there are also a few instances where you might need to file a tax return, including:

  • If you’re the landlord of a property and earn money from rent
  • If you have income from savings or investments over a certain threshold
  • If you receive tips or commission
  • If you also earn overseas income

Find out whether you need to complete a tax return with our handy guide to the tax return.

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