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A guide to tax year dates and deadlines for the self-employed and small businesses

5-minute read

A guide to tax year dates and deadlines for the self-employed and small businesses
Sam Bromley

Sam Bromley

8 July 2021

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

All of these tax year dates may change and be sure to check which ones you need to meet based on the specifics of your business. Similarly, if a payment deadline falls on a weekend or bank holiday, you might need to pay your bill on the last working day before the deadline.

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When does the tax year end?

The tax year ends on 5 April each year meaning the tax year starts on 6 April.

The tax year end is an important tax year date in the calendar. That’s because certain rates, allowances, and rules reset and change each year.

For example, the amount you can save in an ISA resets each tax year. If you don’t use your allowance, you lose it, meaning it’s important to get your contributions in before the new tax year starts.

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has suggested moving the end of the tax year to either 31 March or 31 December. We’ll keep you updated on these plans as we hear them.

Tax year dates to note in your diary

Tax year dates for Self Assessment

5 October – the deadline for registering with HMRC for the previous tax year. For example, if you haven’t sent a Self Assessment before but you have self-employed income for 2020-21, you need to register with HMRC by 5 October 2021.

31 October – 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 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 also need to make your first payment on account on 31 January. This is usually equal to 50 per cent of your tax liability for the tax year just gone. It goes towards the next year’s tax bill.

31 July – the deadline for making your second payment on account.

If you don’t stick to these deadlines you might end up receiving late payment penalties from HMRC.

Read more about the Self Assessment deadline.

Tax year dates for corporation tax

Starting up – if you start an active (as opposed to dormant) company, you need to 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 like an active company.

Payment deadlines for taxable profits of £1.5 million or less – you 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 normally have to pay your corporation tax in four instalments if your total taxable profits exceed £1.5 million. You should speak to HMRC for more information.

Filing your company tax return – you need to 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’.

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 annual accounts – the deadline for statutory accounts is nine months after the end of your company’s financial year.

Read more about corporation tax.

Tax year dates for VAT

Filing your VAT return on paper – most businesses can no longer file a paper VAT return. You need to file online unless:

  • your business is subject to an insolvency procedure
  • you object to using computers on religious grounds
  • your age, a disability, or living in an area without internet access prevents you from filing online

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. You can check your VAT return and payment deadlines on your online VAT account.

Paying your VAT bill – you normally need to pay your VAT bill on the same day it’s due. You need to pay electronically 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 12th 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 10th 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.

Tax year dates for 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 electronically, 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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