Prerequisite – HMRC Registration

The first step is to ensure you’ve registered (fees do apply if not) and have been informed by HMRC that you need to complete a tax return for the last tax year.

Tax years run from 6 April – 5 April the following year. So the 2022/23 financial year runs from 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023.

The tax return deadline for the 2022/23 financial year is 31 January 2024.

An important item to remember is that if you are due to pay any tax, this must be done in full by the deadline. So if you submit on the last day, you’ll have very little time to pay the amount due. If you submit earlier in the year (say mid August), you would still have until the deadline to pay, therefore providing much more time to spread the payments.

If you’re submitting last minute, you’ll only be able to pay by Debit Card – HMRC do not accept payment by personal credit card, and direct debit/bank payments may not reach them in time.

Payments on Account

A key item to consider is something referred to as ‘Payments on Account’. In essence, this is where HMRC require you to ‘pre-pay’ towards the next financial year’s tax bill.

If your tax bill at the end of the year is more than £1,000, you’ll need to pay the same amount – again – to HMRC to cover this. The payment is split with half being due by the submission deadline, and the remainder by the end of July.

Any payments ‘pre-paid’ are then deducted next year against your next tax bill.

Unique Tax Reference Number

When registering, you’ll receive something called a Unique Tax Reference or UTR number. Keep this safe, as you’ll need this to complete your return.

You’ll also need a Government Gateway account, and this can be created online on HMRC’s website.

Important: The Government will send an activation code to your home address, therefore you must do this as soon as possible – it can take up to 10 days to send this in the post (just remember, you might not be the only one in the country doing this last minute), so it’s best to get it done as soon as you can.

Until the logins and numbers arrive in the post, you cannot submit a return online.


We’d rather not try and remind people of these to add any pressure, so we’ll summarise – if you submit late, you’ll be hit with a penalty of £100. This can also increase the later your return is.

You’ll also be charged interest on your tax due.