Envelope showing HMRC logo on top of a form to complete a self-assessment tax return

Should you file your tax return early?


HMRC sets out the benefits of filing your self-assessment tax return before the January rush.
Thousands more people are choosing to file their self-assessment tax returns early, avoiding the last-minute rush ahead of the January deadline. HMRC figures show a rise of 7 per cent in people filing between April and September 2023, and the trend is set to continue.

There can be benefits to filing your tax return early:
Peace of mind: some people file early to avoid the stress of last-minute filing.
Know what you owe: filing early means you will know what you owe. This can help you budget for the year and pay your tax bill in instalments if you need to. You can also get help if you find you can’t pay.
Get refunded quicker: you can find out sooner if you’ve paid too much tax during 2023/2024 and are owed a refund. HMRC will let you know as soon as your tax return has been processed and arrange for any overpayment to be refunded sooner too.
Receive the support you need: you can use HMRC’s digital services to do what you need to do quickly and easily online. Helpline and webchat advisers can provide support if you need specific extra help.
Proof of income: filing early provides proof of income, which you’ll need for a mortgage, loan or to claim benefits.
Plan ahead: choosing to file your tax return early does not mean you have to pay HMRC any money early. The 31 January deadline for payment remains unchanged. If you choose to pay your tax bill earlier for your own convenience, that’s fine, but it’s entirely up to you.
Budget plan: HMRC offers a Budget Payment Plan facility. You can choose how much and how often you want to pay by direct debit, putting you in full control of managing your bill.
Your payment options: you’ll have more time to investigate your payment options if you’re unable to pay in full by the deadline. You may be able to pay your tax bill in instalments through a Time to Pay arrangement, which you can set up online.
Pay via your tax code: the deadline to file your completed 2023/2024 tax return online and pay any tax you owe is 31 January 2025. Filing before the end of December means you may have the option, if eligible, of paying anything owed through your PAYE tax code.

You can appoint a relative, friend or an accredited accountant to complete and send your tax return to HMRC on your behalf. If this is the best option for you, you will need to notify HMRC.

You can manage your tax affairs using HMRC’s online services.

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