What is the tax return deadline in the UK?

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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 and meet the UK tax return deadline. If you don’t, you could be subject to penalties. On this page, you’ll learn about the updated self-assessment deadline, what may happen if you miss the deadline and the key dates you need to know this tax year.

Key takeaways
  • Filing deadlines: The deadline for submitting your 2022/23 tax return on paper was 31 October 2023, while those filing online had until 31 January 2024

  • Penalties: If you submit your tax return after the self-assessment deadline, you may be fined £100. The penalty for late submission rises sharply after three months, and continues to climb for prolonged delays

  • Self-employed: The self-assessment deadline tends to be more important to self-employed people rather than salaried workers, as they’re responsible for paying their own tax

When is the tax return deadline?

If you need to do a tax return, the deadline for submitting it for the UK tax year 2022/23 (6 April to 5 April) was midnight on 31 October 2023 if you’re submitting your return on paper, or 31 January 2024 if you submitted 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 31 October 2023. In that case, you’ll have three months to submit your tax return from the date of notice. 

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 UK self-assessment deadline?

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

  • You can be charged a fee for paying tax just one day past the self-assessment deadline
  • If you pay later than three months after the tax self-assessment 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

HMRC relaxed the late submission rules during the coronavirus pandemic in recognition of the additional pressure facing tax agents and business owners. However, anyone that misses the UK self-assessment deadline for submitting their return or paying any tax owed for 2023/24 will be subject to the usual penalties.

Important dates in the tax year you need to know

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

  • 6 April 2023: 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.
  • 31 July 2023: 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 31 July.
  • 5 October 2023: If you’ve never submitted a tax return before, you’ll need to register for self-assessment by 5 October 2023 to file a return for the 2022/23 tax year. 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.
  • 31 October 2023: The deadline to submit your tax return for the year ending 5 April 2023 in paper format. If you’ve received notice from HMRC that you need to file a tax return after 31 July 2023, you’ll need to complete your return within three months of the date on your notice.
  • 31 January 2024: Online self-assessment tax returns for tax year 2022/23 must be submitted by this date.
  • 5 April 2024: The end of the tax year 2023/24.

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:

  • Earn more than £1,000 from a side business or hobby
  • Are the landlord of a property and earn money from rent
  • Have income from savings or investments over a certain threshold
  • Receive tips or commission
  • Receive over £10,000 in dividends and need to pay tax
  • Need to pay the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge
  • Also earn overseas income

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

When can I complete my tax return UK?

The official self-assessment deadline for filing your documents for the tax year ending April 5 (and for paying any money due) is midnight on 31 January. This is always the January after the year in question. So for the 2023/24 tax year (which ends 5 April 2024) you need to file your tax return by 31 January 2025.

You had until 11.59pm on 31 January 2024 to send HMRC an online tax return for the 2022/2023 tax year, which ended on 5 April 2023.