Self-assessment – What it is, definition and concept

A self-assessment is the process that a citizen follows to pay a tax. In a self-assessment, it is the citizen who performs the calculations, fills in the required documentation and pays the amount to the corresponding body.

When a citizen has to pay taxes, he can do it through a self-assessment.

Therefore, we are talking about a tax return.

In this type of declaration and through an electronic portal of the collecting body, the citizen communicates the data required to settle the tax to the State. To do this, you must fill in the required documentation, calculate the amount of the tax based on the base and, finally, pay that amount to the collecting body.

But isn’t it the same as a sale? What is special about this modality?

Although we are going to develop it in depth in the next point, it is convenient to point out that in the self-assessment, the citizen performs the necessary operations to determine the amount of said tax.

Therefore, and as we will see below, we are talking about a liquidation in which the taxpayer, roughly speaking, is in charge of calculating what he owes, while in liquidation it is the State that is in charge of communicating to us the debt already calculated for , later, liquidate it.

Difference between liquidation and self-liquidation

When we pay a tax, we can do it through a settlement or, thanks to digitization, through a self-assessment.

When we do it through a settlement, the collecting body will be in charge of reviewing the information it has about us regarding the tax, will calculate the amount that we must pay and will notify us of the ways to make the income and the term in which we must pay it.

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On the other hand, when it comes to a self-assessment, we, the citizens, are in charge of filling in and completing the required documentation, calculating the tax and, subsequently, paying the amount required by said body.

In other words, when we talk about liquidation and self-assessment we are talking about the same process, but with the following difference. When we talk about liquidation, it is the body that calculates, fills in the information and demands the payment of the tax. On the other hand, when we talk about self-assessment, we are the ones who make this calculation, the ones who fill in the documentation and those who ultimately pay the required amount.

Self-assessment arises with digitization, allowing citizens to be accountable to the State through an electronic portal.

Rectification of a self-assessment or complementary self-assessment

Since we are talking about a settlement in which the taxpayer is in charge of filling in everything and calculating it on their own, there may be errors in which the taxpayer enters more money than required, or errors in which the taxpayer enters less.

For this there is what we know as a substitute statement.

In the event that the error goes against the interests of the citizen, that is, that he has paid more than he owed, he must notify it by means of a self-assessment rectification.

In the event that the error goes against the interests of the State, that is, that the citizen has paid less than what he owed, he must notify it through a complementary self-assessment.

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But in addition to this, we must know that each country stipulates in its regulations how and in what way these corrections and complementary self-assessments must be carried out. That is, the days we have to present them, among other information of interest.

How can I file a self-assessment?

Throughout the article we have mentioned on two occasions that self-assessment was born with the digitization of the Administration. That is, due to the existence of telematic means to render accounts before the State.

Therefore, it is necessary that people who wish to follow this method have a digital signature or a mechanism through which they can be identified electronically.

Sometimes, we can also do it through certain offices or collaborating centers. However, whenever we talk about self-assessment, we talk about a tax return electronically.

What documentation and information does a self-assessment collect?

If we have already made up our minds and want to render accounts through a self-assessment, you must bear in mind the following information, which will be included in said documentation:

  • Full name and surname.
  • Data relating to the taxpayer (address, NIF…).
  • Period to which the self-assessment refers.
  • Date of the self-assessment.
  • Economic data of the taxpayer.
  • The tax to pay and the amount.
  • The different ways in which we can pay the tax and settle it.
  • The term we have to settle the tax.

In addition to everything mentioned above and as we have said in the article, we must not forget that to make a self-assessment we must find a way through which to identify ourselves virtually. The most common is the digital signature.

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