Register now to send your tax return on time

If you’re filing online for the first time, make sure to register with HMRC by 21 January

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is reminding first-time Self Assessment filers that they need to register for online filing by the end of this week, or they may not be able to send their tax return on time.

Tax returns for 2010/11 must be sent online to HMRC by 31 January but, if you’re filing online for the first time, you need to register by Saturday 21 January, to allow enough time for an account Activation Code to be posted to you.

It’s important to register in time. If you send HMRC an online return after 31 January, you will receive at least a £100 penalty – even if you have no tax to pay.

The longer you delay, the more you’ll have to pay. If your tax return is three months late, you’ll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late. If it’s six months late, you’ll have to pay a further penalty and another, final penalty if it’s 12 months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.

To find out how to register, see our guide: registering for Self Assessment. Once you’ve received your Activation Code, you can activate your account and complete your tax return online.

For help and advice on completing an online return, you can the HMRC Self Assessment helpline on 0845 9000 444.

Don’t forget, if you owe any tax for the 2010/11 tax year, 31 January 2012 is also the deadline for paying it.