File your tax return

HM REVENUE and Customs (HMRC) is reminding first-time self assessment filers that they need to register for online filing by the end of this week.

Tax returns for 2010/11 must be sent online to HMRC by January 31 but, if you’re filing online for the first time, you need to register by Saturday (January 21) for an account Activation Code to be posted to you.

It’s important to register in time. If you send HMRC an online return after January 31, you will receive a £100 penalty – even if you have no tax to pay.

If your tax return is three months late, you’ll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late. If it’s six months late, you’ll have to pay a further penalty and another, final penalty if it’s 12 months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.

Registering is simple – visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/online and follow the instructions. Once you’ve received your Activation Code, you can activate your account and complete your tax return online.