The Fixer: Tax return confusion

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Dear Fixer,
I have been working full-time for my employer, an IT services company, for more than a year now.

However, I was self-employed until I started this job in November 2012. I did not think I would have to fill in a self-assessment tax return this year because I am now employed.

But one of my colleagues thinks I do still have to complete one this year. Is he right? Thanks.

M Copeland, Bristol

Dear Mr Copeland,
The tax returns sent in at this time of year (all online tax returns must reach HMRC by midnight on January 31) are for the 2012-2013 tax year, which ran from April 2012 to April 2013.

This means that you were earning money on a self-employed basis for up to five of the months concerned. So in other words, your colleague is right and you must file a self-assessment tax return.

You don't have long to do it if you want to avoid being fined. Miss the January 31 deadline and you will incur an immediate penalty of £100 – even if you have already paid what you owe or owe nothing at all.

The good news, however, is that online returns calculate your tax automatically as you go along – making the process a lot simpler.

If you are unsure about anything, you can also contact HMRC's Self Assessment Helpline on 0300 200 3310. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays.

The Fixer

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