HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is calling on people to complete their Self-Assessment tax return ahead of the January deadline and warning of phishing scams as more people start to complete their tax returns.

The 2019-20 tax return can be finalised at any time between now and the deadline on January 31, 2021.

But HMRC are encouraging customers to complete their return early to allow plenty of time to pay their tax bill or set up a payment plan. 

An estimated 12 million taxpayers are expected to complete the Self Assessment tax return this year so it would be wise to avoid the January rush. 

HMRC's Interim Director General of Customer Services, Karl Khan said: "The 31st January deadline for tax returns is still a few weeks away, but customers don't have to wait until then. We're encouraging them to beat the busy January rush and get their tax returns in now.

"We know that many people are affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year and we're here to help if they need to spread the cost of their tax bill. It's quick and easy to set up a payment plan online and there's no need to call us to set it up."

Once you have completed their 2019-20 tax return, and know how much tax is owed, you can set up your own payment plan to help spread the cost of tax liabilities, up to the value of £30,000.

You can use the self-serve Time to Pay facility to set up monthly direct debits and this can all be done online. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

How to know if you need to complete a tax return:

Customers must complete a Self Assessment return if:

  • they've earned more than £2,500 from renting out property
  • they've received, or their partner has received, Child Benefit and either of them had an annual income of more than £50,000
  • they've received more than £2,500 in other untaxed income, for example from tips or commission
  • they are a self-employed sole trader whose annual turnover is over £1,000
  • they are an employee claiming expenses in excess of £2,500
  • they have an annual income of over £100,000
  • they have earned income from abroad that they need to pay tax on.

You can also now check on GOV.UK whether you need to declare, or possibly pay tax, on any casual income you receive. The new interactive guidance is quick and easy to use and explains what individuals need to do if they receive non-PAYE income from:

  • Selling things, for example at car boot sales or auctions, or online
  • Doing casual jobs such as gardening, food delivery or babysitting
  • Charging other people for using your equipment or tools
  • Renting out property or part of their home, including for holidays (for example, through an agency or online)

Fraud warning

HMRC are asking customers to be aware of copycat HMRC websites and phishing scams. 

People are asked to alwas type in the full address to be sent to the correct link for filling out their tax return securely online.

They also warn to be alert if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that they can claim financial help, are due a tax refund or owe tax. It might be a scam. Check GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact.