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Check If You Need to Send a Tax Return

There may be times when you need to check about filling in a tax return. This section explains who may need to complete and then file a Self Assessment tax return.

UK TAX YEAR DATES: The British tax year begins on April the 6th each year.

As a rule, it runs for 365 days (except a leap year with 366) and ends on the 5th of April during the following year.

These tax year dates conform to the taxation rules of the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs.

The government have an online tool to find out if you need to send a Self Assessment tax return. The tool operates for each full tax year (6th of April to the next 5th of April).

Note: The software device is not connected to HMRC online services. That means you can check if you need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return without a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

Even so, the tool does not provide information on how to apply for the Marriage Tax Allowance. Likewise, it does not show you how to claim tax relief or make a claim for a tax refund.

This list is indicative of who must send a Self Assessment tax return to HMRC. It includes employed persons, self-employed, directors of a company, retirees, and others.

Thus, in the last tax year you will need to send a tax return if you:

  • Received income over £1,000 from working for yourself (this is the new ‘trading allowance’).
  • Received £2,500 or more in untaxed income. Examples might include selling services online or from renting out a property. Contact HMRC helpline if the amount was between £1,000 and £2,500.
  • Had an income from savings plans or investments that was £10,000 or higher (before tax).
  • Had an income through dividends from shares that was £10,000 or more before tax.
  • Realised gains (made profits) from selling things. This can include selling a second home, shares, or other chargeable assets that are liable for a Capital Gains Tax payment.
  • Were a company director. The exception could be if it was for a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) without pay or benefits (e.g. a company car).
  • Had income (or your partner did) over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit as high rate taxpayers.
  • Had income from abroad that falls under the ‘paying tax on foreign income‘ rules.
  • Lived abroad but you also had an income from the United Kingdom.
  • Had an income over £100,000.
  • Were a trustee of a trust or a registered pension scheme.
  • Had a P800 from HMRC informing you that you did not pay enough tax in the previous year. The same applies if you did not pay what you owe through your tax code or with a voluntary payment.
  • Income from your State Pension was above your Personal Allowance and your only source of income. An exception applies if you started getting your pension from the 6th of April 2016.

Note: The list extends to other people who may need to send a return. It can include religious ministers or Lloyd’s underwriters. But, as a rule you will not need to send a Self Assessment tax return if the only source of income comes from your wages or pension.

If HMRC Tell You to Send a Tax Return

HM Revenue and Customs can send you an email or a letter informing you to send them a tax return. If this happens you must send it back to HMRC even in cases where no tax is due.

You can also contact HMRC to close a Self Assessment account. This might apply if you sent tax returns in the past but did not need to send one for the last tax year.

Note: You must inform HM Revenue and Customs any time you stop being self employed.

How to Claim Tax Relief

There may be situations when you can claim money back from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You should fill in a tax return to claim for:

How to Register for Self Assessment

There are several different ways to register for and file your Self Assessment tax return depending on whether you are:

Note: Anyone who is new to Self Assessment tax registration should be keeping your pay and tax records to help you fill in the correct information. As a rule, these records will include bank statements and all sales receipts.

How to Send a Tax Return Online

You can send a tax return online once you have registered for Self Assessment. The easiest method is the HM Revenue and Customs free Self Assessment online service. You can also use the Self Assessment helpline when filling in a tax return.

Software or Paper Forms

You can choose the method of sending any Self Assessment return. You can either use a software version or the paper assessment forms and helpsheets. You must use either one of those options to send tax returns:

  • For a partnership.
  • For a trust and estate.
  • If you get income from a trust.
  • If you lived abroad as a non-resident.
  • If you are a Lloyd’s underwriter.

There is a specific paper version for Self Assessment ‘Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970)‘. The deadline for this return is the 31st of October using paper forms.

Note: The 31st of January is the deadline for a trustee of a registered pension scheme or non-resident company. There are deadlines and penalties for those who do not pay their tax bill on time.

Who Needs to File a Self Assessment Tax Return in United Kingdom?