What is the Tax Return Deadline?

What is the Tax Return Deadline?

If you’re self-employed on a full-time basis or have additional income that you earn on top of a regular job, then you have to complete a tax return. There are a strict set of rules in place to ensure that everyone completes and submits their tax return on time.

Most people find tax affairs confusing enough, so the fact there is two tax return deadlines might not make things any easier. However, these are easy to work out.

  • If you complete a paper tax return, the deadline is the October 31 following the completion of the last tax year.

  • If you complete an online tax return, the deadline in the January 31 following the completion of the last tax year.

Therefore, if you haven’t completed your tax return for 2012/13, you need to do so by October 31, or January 31 of next year, if you do it online.


You have over six months, at the very least, from the end of the tax year to the time when you need to submit your tax return. If you wonder how some people manage to submit their tax return late when they have so much time, then you’re not alone. However, it does happen, and as such, there are a number of penalties in place to try to prevent late submission.

The penalties are as follows:

  • £100 if your tax return arrives a day late, even if you don’t have any tax to pay.

  • £10 for every day of the next three months if it still isn’t submitted, meaning a maximum penalty of £900, which is added to the £100 already owed.

  • £300 or 5% of the tax you owe, whichever is higher, again added to what you’ve already been hit with, if you’re six months late.

  • Submitting a tax return 12 months late has the same penalties, but you may have to pay 100% of the tax due.

As you can see, the penalties for submitting a late tax return are high, and depending on your circumstances, you could end up owing more in fines than you do in tax!

Submitting Your Tax Return

While you might have a legitimate reason for submitting your tax return late, and you can tell HMRC about this, you should do all you can to ensure you meet the deadlines. Consider, too, that the deadline for payment of taxes owed is always January 31 of the following year, so if you’ve been disorganized financially, the earlier you submit your tax return, the better.