HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is issuing a reminder to anyone who hasn't yet submitted their 2008-09 self assessment tax return - don't forget, your return must be both on time and online.
The 31 October 2009 deadline for paper returns has now passed, which means you must file your return online by the 31 January 2010 deadline. If you submit a paper return after 31 October 2009, or you file online after 31 January 2010, you could receive a £100 penalty.
If you're a first-time self assessment filer, or you're new to online filing, you'll first need to register for the HMRC Self Assessment Online service. Registering is simple - visit the HMRC website and click "Register for Self Assessment Online." Once you've registered, an Activation Code will be sent to you in the post - it may take up to seven days for this to arrive, so it's advisable to register as soon as possible.
When filing online, your tax is calculated automatically, you get an online acknowledgement once you've filed, and it's processed faster, so any money you're owed is repaid more quickly.
HMRC are expecting more than 9.5m self assessment returns this year. Around 5.8m people filed online last year, up from 3.8m the previous year - an increase of over 50%.
Self-assessment is now in its 13th year, having been introduced for the 1996/97 tax year.
** Additional Information & Advice **
Additional help with filing your 2008-09 self assessment tax return is available from the HMRC Self Assessment helpline on 0845 9000 444, which is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year's Day).
Depending on your circumstances, however, it may be a good idea to speak with a solicitor who specialises in tax law. You can be matched with a solicitor for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.