A little known date in HMRC’s tax calendar is not as easily remembered as the 5th of November, a date we never forget, but it’s the 5th of October; an important date in the tax calendar because it’s exactly half way through the tax year and it has implications for new landlords.

The tax year starts each year on the 6th of April and ends of the 5th of April the follow year. The 5th of October is important because taxpayers are obliged to inform HMRC if they have a new tax liability, that is they earned income during the previous tax year.

This requirement does not apply to those who already file a self assessment tax return or where income has already been taxed at source. But the rules do apply to someone who is new to self-employment, or someone who has purchased an income earning rental property, or has taken in lodgers where the lodger related rental income is above the rent-a-room allowance of £7500 per year.

For those new to rental property ownership; those who have never filed a self-assessment tax return before, it is your responsibility to register with HMRC on or before the 5th of October. Self assessment typically applies if you are going self-employed, have complicated tax affairs with income over and above your employed and already taxed (PAYE) income. For example those with investment income, company dividends and for those with rental property income.

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You must register by the 5th October following the end of the tax year in which the income has been earned. For example, if you need to complete a new tax return for income earned in the tax year 6th April 2019 – 5th April 2020, you must register now for self assessment – the 5th October 2020.

If you completed a self assessment tax return last year there is no need to register again with HMRC as they know about you, and HMRC will expect you to complete another return by the 31st of January 2021 if you are still earning the additional income. The process is only for those who are new to this requirement.

So, anyone with significant savings and investments (outside of SIPPS and ISAs) will need to complete a self-assessment tax return if their dividend or interest income has exceeded the £2,000 tax-free dividend allowance, or their £1,000 savings allowance, or any amount of normal rental income.

In addition, any capital gains in excess of the £12,300 personal capital gains tax allowance will need to be declared, and for those parents with earned income in excess of £50,000 may be liable to pay the “high income benefit charge”, meaning they could have to hand back child benefit payments received.

If you fail to register by the relevant date you may have to pay a penalty, you may also have to pay interest on any tax paid late, so make sure you register as soon as you can and complete your return on time even if you have missed the 5th of October registration deadline.

You can register online but you will need your UTR – Unique Taxpayer Reference. It’s a 10-digit number sometimes called your ‘tax reference’ which you can obtain from HMRC.

Registering for Self Assessment for any reason other than self-employment

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