HM Revenue & Customs is urging first-time Self Assessment filers who haven't sent in a return to register for its online services now.

Registration can take up to seven working days to complete, and the final step involves HMRC sending an activation code in the post. To register, simply visit and follow the on-screen instructions. HMRC has stressed the importance of avoiding a last-minute rush to beat the 31 January filing deadline.

31 January is also the deadline for paying any tax owed for 2012/13. Taxpayers who owe less than £3,000, and want HMRC to collect the tax they owe through next year’s tax code, need to submit their online return by midnight on 30 December.