Do I need to do a Self Assessment tax return?

More people than ever are self-employed, but many permanent employees also need to complete a Self Assessment tax return. Are you one of them?


Self-employment is soaring

Research shows that self-employment is at its highest rate per capita, since records began over 40 years ago. For many, this shift in trend from permanent to self-employment, has been an inevitable side effect of the economic downturn. In the recession, the number of permanent roles shrank across most industries, and contractors and freelancers became an increasingly relied-upon resource for companies and organisations. 

You may already recognise yourself in this picture: perhaps you switched from perm to temp in the past few years and are now up and running, making ends meet, working for yourself. Or maybe you've recently made the leap: you have the skills and experience to make a business out of what you do best.

Relative newcomer to the self-employed fold or seasoned self-assessor, you'll probably know all about doing your Self Assessment tax return for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). And you may now be aware that you can do it all online using the GOV.UK Verify service.


Self Assesment CalculationsSelf Assessment isn't solely for the self-employed

For many of us, however, our employment status is not so cut and dry. For instance, you may have a permanent job where you're taxed at source, but earn some self-generated income on the side. Whether it's from a bit of painting and decorating or running a store on eBay, if you're making more than £2,500 annually and it's not being taxed, you'll need to complete a Self Assessment tax return. However, did you know that even claiming employment-related expenses may mean you’ll need to do a Self Assessment as it may affect your tax liability?

If you've shifted up a gear from selling the occasional item online to buying and reselling goods on a regular basis, once you're making a profit over £2,500 you'll need to tell HMRC about it. And it's not just online transactions you'll have to declare – even if you're making a regular profit on the car boot circuit, you'll need to file a Self Assessment.

We've made a useful tool to help remove the mystery about whether you need to file a tax return or not. Simply follow the journey below to find out. (But do make sure to also check with HMRC!)


So, you need to do a Self Assessment, what next?

Whilst it may seem daunting at first, doing a Self Assessment for HMRC doesn't have to be complicated. You can find out from HMRC if you need to do a Self Assessment here. And once you've registered for Self Assessment, you can complete it online. Conveniently, it's one of the growing number of services that GOV.UK have shifted to digital.

When you register to use online services with GOV.UK you'll need to get your identity verified. CitizenSafe is one of the Government's trusted providers of identity checks and you'll see us on the list of companies you can use to prove your identity. Once you've registered with us (it only takes around 15 minutes!) you'll be able to log in to GOV.UK as many times as you like, and complete your Self Assessment online if, and when you need to. You can even sign up for alerts so you don’t miss the important deadline!


Try our CitizenTax App

We know that tax can be overwhelming at times! So we made the CitizenTax app to make your life a little simpler - and you can use it to work out if you need to fill in a Self Assessment. CitizenTax is available through iTunes and GooglePlay


For more information about registering for Self Assessment and enrolling for online services visit GOV.UK. And be sure to check out our blog where you'll find loads of helpful advice and up-to-date information about GOV.UK Verify and completing your Self Assessment online. You can also find out about some of the other government services for which we provide safe and secure identity verification.

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