Tips for Completing HMRC Self-Assessment Tax Returns

If you need to complete a Self-Assessment and file a return, HMRC can help. Those who have taxes automatically withheld from their wages will not need to complete a self-assessment, but those who own their own business, perform freelance work, or earn other income that is not taxed, may need to report all or part of that income. HMRC does allow many of the steps of the self-assessment process to be completed online. However, phone assistance is also available when needed.

The first step to completing the self-assessment process online is to register. This can be done on the HMRC website ( and there is no cost to register. Forms and help sheets are available on the site, and some types of software are acceptable for use in transferring income information into the system. It is possible to purchase software that sends HMRC your personal Self-Assessment tax return, Partnership tax return, or Trust and Estate tax return. This can be purchased separately, and not from HMRC directly.

Some of the forms that are available online include:

  • Self-employment and Partnerships
  • Employment
  • UK property
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Foreign
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Residence and Remittance Basis
  • Lloyd’s Underwriters

If you find that you do owe money, payment can be submitted online using a debit or credit card. Other payment methods are also accepted, such as a direct debit from a bank account. It is still possible to mail in a payment via post. Allow a few days for payment to be credited when sending payment via post. Direct payment transfer from a bank account can take up to five business days. Keep these time-frames in mind if you need to have payment submitted before a deadline.

Just because you are self-employed or own a business does not automatically mean that a refund is out of the question. You may be able to get a tax refund if you are employed and had too much tax taken from your pay or have stopped work. You may also receive a refund if you sent a tax return and paid too much tax or have paid too much tax on any pension payments received. Purchasing a life annuity could also make a difference. If a refund is owed to you, you will need to select a payment method at the time your return is filed.

HMRC help and support is available if you need it. Webinars and videos are available on the UK government website, and these can help to answer many of the most common questions. Whether you are completing the self-assessment process for the first time, or have done it several times before, HMRC agents can answer your questions and provide guidance for your personal tax situation.