HMRC issues vital warning as first self-assessment deadline looms

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HMRC, formally known as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, is the tax, payment and customs authority and oversees, among other things, self-assessment tax returns. Each year, approximately 11 million customer complete a self-assessment, which is designed to collect Income Tax. There are a number of ways in which to do so, however, many opt to submit this documentation through a paper tax return.

For those who choose to do so, the deadline is mere days away, occurring on October 31, 2020.

And taking action sooner rather than later is key, given that there is time needed for postage.

However, with the number of people using paper tax returns dwindling, there is another key deadline to bear in mind.

This occurs on January 31, 2021 – for those needing to complete an online self-assessment return for 2019 to 2020.

But with the deadlines fast approaching, Britons are also being warned about scams which could be particularly dangerous.

So-called ‘phishing’ emails, alongside copycat websites typically dupe people into believing they are accessing genuine correspondence.

As such, unsuspecting Britons could end up parting with their personal and sensitive information. 

HMRC has urged people to always type in the full ‘’ address to access the correct website for filing a self-assessment return. 

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They should also stay alert if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC and offers a tax refund, financial help, or tells them they owe tax. 

Genuine self-assessment correspondence should be secure, and most importantly, free. 

People who believe they have spotted a scam, or unfortunately fallen victim to it, they are encouraged to report this to Action Fraud. 

There are several instances where a person will be required to complete a self-assessment tax return.

It must be done by self-employed sole traders with a turnover of over £1,000, those with an annual income of over £100,000, and employees claiming expenses in excess of £2,500, as well as other circumstances. 

Those completing a tax return for the first time will be required to register for self assessment on the HMRC website.

And for those who need longer than 12 months to pay a debt in full a Time to Pay arrangement may be able to be set up to provide assistance. 

HMRC’s Interim Director General of Customer Services, Karl Khan, commented on the upcoming deadlines.

He said: “The vast majority of Self Assessment customers complete their tax return by the January 31 deadline, but you don’t need to wait until January; you can send it back now and get it out of the way.

“HMRC is determined to help customers during this difficult time. We know many customers will have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or will need help to spread the cost of their tax bill.

“That’s why we’ve made it quick and simple to set up a payment plan to spread the costs and help people get back on their feet.

“It’s easy to do online and there’s no need to call us to set it up.”

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