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Important tax year dates and deadlines for the self-employed and small businesses

4-minute read

Sam Bromley

29 January 2020

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Small businesses and the self-employed need to keep track of tax year dates and deadlines throughout the year. Here are some of the most important.

All of these tax year dates may be subject to change and you should check which ones you need to meet based on the specifics of your business. Similarly, if they fall on a weekend or bank holiday, payment may be required on the last working day before the deadline.

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Tax year dates you should know about

Self Assessment

31 October – is the deadline for filing a paper return (as opposed to an online one). The only exceptions are for taxpayers who received their notice to file after 31 July and those who’ve been specifically told by HMRC that they’re not allowed to file online.

30 December – the deadline for submitting and paying your tax bill if you owe less than £3,000, and you want HMRC to collect it through PAYE (if you’re an employee and run a business on the side, for example).

31 January – you have until midnight on this date to file your tax return online and pay your tax bill. You’ll need a Government Gateway login and password, which can take up to 10 days to arrive – so make sure you apply well in advance if you’re filing online for the first time (read more about the HMRC registration deadline).

You’ll also need to make your first payment on account on 31 January. This will usually be equal to 50 per cent of your tax liability for the tax year just gone. It will go towards next year’s tax bill.

6 April – the start of the new tax year.

31 July – you need to make your second payment on account by this date.

If you don’t stick to these deadlines you might end up receiving late payment penalties from HMRC, so make sure you keep up.

Corporation Tax deadlines

Starting up – if you start an active (as opposed to dormant) company, you must tell HMRC within three months. You can do this by completing form CT41G. You’ll normally receive this form along with the information pack that HMRC sends out to newly registered companies.

If you start a dormant company (which means you’ve set up your limited company but aren’t trading), you should tell HMRC as soon as possible to avoid being treated as an active company.

Payment deadlines for taxable profits of £1.5 million or less – you’ll need to pay your bill nine months and one day after the end of your Corporation Tax accounting period. This date is known as the ‘normal due date.’

Payment deadlines for taxable profits of more than £1.5 million – you’ll normally have to pay your Corporation Tax in four instalments if your total taxable profits exceed £1.5 million. You should contact HM Revenue and Customs for more information.

Filing your company tax return – you must file your company tax return within 12 months of the end of your company’s accounting period. This is known as the ‘statutory filing date’. It’s important to understand that you need to pay your Corporation Tax before you file your return – unlike Self Assessment, where payment is normally due on the same date as the filing deadline.


Filing your VAT return on paper – paper VAT returns have now been phased out for most businesses. You must file your return online unless your business is subject to an insolvency procedure, you object to using computers on religious grounds, or you can't file online because of your age, a disability, or because you live in an area without internet access.

Filing your VAT return online – the deadline for online filing will normally be one month and seven days after the end of your VAT accounting period. There are exceptions to this – for example, firms using the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme do not qualify for the seven day extension.

Paying your VAT bill – you’ll normally need to pay your VAT bill on the same day it’s due. Remember that you must pay using an electronic method if you file online.

If you use the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme – firms that use the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme file just one return a year, two months after the end of their accounting period, and pay their bill in instalments.

If you make monthly payments, these are due at the end of the fourth through twelfth months of your accounting year, meaning you make nine payments. If you make quarterly payments these are due at the end of the fourth, seventh and tenth months of your accounting year, meaning you make three payments.

A balancing payment is then due, along with your return, two months after the end of your VAT accounting period.

Making Tax Digital means that most businesses now need to keep digital VAT records and use software to submit VAT returns.

PAYE and National Insurance Contributions

Monthly PAYE and Class 1 NIC payments – if you’re paying PAYE and Class 1 NICs monthly by an electronic method, payment must reach HMRC by the 22nd of each month. If you’re paying quarterly, you must pay by the 22nd after the end of the relevant quarter. If you’re paying by cheque, payment must reach HMRC by the 19th of each month.

Quarterly PAYE and Class 1 NIC Payments – you may be able to pay quarterly if you pay less than £1,500 a month. You should speak to HMRC to find out whether you’re eligible.

Class 1A NIC payments – if you’re paying Class 1A NICs by electronic methods, payment must reach HMRC by 22 July. If you’re paying by post, payment must reach HMRC by 19 July.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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