1: A few things you should know
a. The UK personal tax year runs from 6th April through 5th April;
b. Every person who was a Director of a UK ltd company (regardless of whether that company was trading or not) between 06 April 2017 and 05 April 2018 needs to complete a personal self assessment tax return for the 2017/18 personal tax year;
c. The 2017/18 personal self-assessment tax return (and any payment) is due by 31 January 2019 if filed online;
d. HMRC (www.hmrc.gov.uk) provide a free online service to complete your 2017/18 personal self assessment tax return. You will need to register for this service in sufficient time. If any payment is required, you can make this using Internet Banking;
e. If you don’t have a National Insurance number already, you will need to get one.
2: Obtaining a National Insurance (NI) Number
If, for whatever reason, you do not have a National Insurance (NI) number, and you intend to work in the UK, you need to apply for one. You also require a NI number when applying to be set‐up for self‐assessment.
Your National Insurance number is your own personal tax account number, it is unique to you and you will keep the same one all your life (e.g. FH123456A).
The number makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded on your account. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The old style temporary National Insurance number (TN062083F) where the digits are your date of birth, and the last character denotes your sex, are no longer used by the HMRC.
If you don’t yet have a National Insurance number, please read the document ‘Getting a National Insurance Number’ in our knowledge base.
3: Getting Registered for Self Assessment
Once you have a National Insurance number you are ready to get registered for self‐assessment. There are three ways to do this.
a. Apply online
This is the best option, it’s easy to do, it’s fast, and its reliable. Take a look at our article here on how to get this underway.
b. Phone call to the HMRC on 0845 900 0444
This is the second easiest option, but it can be unreliable if you get to speak to a poorly trained HMRC call centre operator. You will need your NI number on hand, and the date you were appointed a director (you can see this from your ‘My Company Info’ page). Tell the call centre operator that you need to get set up for personal self‐assessment because you are a company director. They may tell you that you need to call another number to register as a self employed person. This is WRONG. Tell them it is a requirement that you register for self‐assessment since you are a company director, and that you are NOT self‐employed. If the call centre operator insists that you need to call a different number, then ask to speak with their supervisor.
c. Complete and post the HMRC form SA1
You can download the form from your ‘My Toolbox’ page. It is simple to fill in, and the instructions on where to send it are on the form. If you do not hear from HMRC after 4-6 weeks it may mean that your form has got misplaced within the HMRC system. We recommend you send in another form with a cover note saying you have not heard anything from them since submitting your form for the period lapsed, so are re-submitting again to be registered for self assessment.
4: Unique Tax Reference
Once you are registered for self assessment you will be sent a letter from the HMRC. This letter will contain your 10 digit UTR (unique tax reference). This is an extremely important tax reference number as it is the main reference number you specify on your personal self‐assessment tax return, and it is also used as a payment reference should any tax be owing to the HMRC.