Do I need to complete a tax return?

HMRC might require you to complete a self assessment tax return which needs you to include all of your taxable income.

The tax return or SA100 form is necessary for a range of reasons but when circumstances change isn’t always needed.

If you no longer meet the criteria for having to complete a tax return you can ask HMRC to withdraw your tax return and remove you from self assessment.

Understanding the criteria that you need to meet to be in self assessment is important so you can submit or cancel your tax return before the SA deadlines.

Why wouldn’t I need to complete a tax return?

Common reasons for not needing to complete a tax return include no longer being:

  • A self employed sole trader.
  • A partner in a partnership business.
  • A landlord with rental income above the property allowance.
  • In receipt of employment expenses worth £2500 or more.

The main reasons for having to fill in a tax return are:

  • You are a self employed sole trader.
  • You are a partner in a self employed partnership business.
  • You are a limited company director.
  • If your income from savings and investments is £10,000 or higher before income tax.
  • You are employed and have work related expenses of over £2500 in any one tax year – meaning you can claim back a tax rebate on those expenses.
  • You have work related expenses (for example mileage) worth over £2500 in your tax code.
  • You are a landlord resident in the UK or a non resident landlord.
  • You are a UK non resident tax payer.
  • You receive other untaxed income and it’s not possible to pay income tax through PAYE (for example income from an online side hustle as a seller on Amazon or ebay).
  • You receive other annual incomes from a Trust or Settlement, or from a deceased person’s estate as dictated in the terms of the will. Further tax may be due on these extra incomes.

Most people who have a simple tax position with only one form of employment under PAYE don’t need to complete a tax return.

HMRC check if you need a tax return tool

The HMRC check if you need a tax return tool is based online and you don’t need any login details to access it.

When using the checker you will be asked a series of questions (which are usually easy to answer) and you can use it as many times as you want so making a mistake doesn’t matter.

The tax return checker will give you an appropriate course of action when you have completed the process.

If you like most other people who have only one job under PAYE (and don’t earn extra income from other sources) it’s doubtful  that you will need to fill in a tax return.

But this fact doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check if you are unsure of your self assessment status with the “check your tax return” tool a good place to start for clarity and guidance.

I don’t think I need to complete a tax return. What should I do?

Sometimes you will be sent a tax return when you don’t need one and if this happens you need to let the tax office know as soon as you can.

Typically you will have a maximum of two years from the end of the tax year for which the return is due to make a withdrawal request.

Don’t assume that your tax return will automatically be stopped without you notifying the tax office.

You need to make sure that the tax return is stopped to avoid any penalties for not submitting your return on time.

Even if late filing penalties have already been imposed it is still possible to request the withdrawal of a return and if HMRC approves the request there will be no need to file the return and any penalties incurred for missing the tax return deadline will be waived.

If HMRC gives their approval they will send you a letter to confirm that you are not required to submit a tax return.

HMRC can refuse a request and may still ask you to complete a tax return and provide information about the change in your circumstances in the additional information sections of your tax return.

How to contact HMRC to withdraw a tax return

If your situation has changed and you believe that you no longer have to file a tax HMRC provides a few different options to let them know.

In order to proceed with any of these methods you will be asked to supply your national insurance number and unique tax reference number (UTR). Both of which you can locate in your personal tax account of the HMRC app.

Using HMRC’s online options are often the quickest and easiest way to submit your cancellation request but you can do it over the phone and in writing too.

HMRC online:

Online form: You can use a specific online form which can only be accessed through your government gateway account.

HMRC Digital assistant: Is a computer generated service offering responses and support on self assessment queries.

HMRC by phone:

If you’ve already received a tax return for a particular year you can discuss your circumstances with HMRC over the phone and request to have it cancelled on 0300 200 3310 or +44 161 931 9070 from outside the UK.

HMRC by post:

You can write to HMRC at the address below.

Self Assessment
HM Revenue and Customs
United Kingdom

When HMRC agree to withdraw a tax return you will not be required to submit it and any penalties for missing the filing deadline will be waived.

If HMRC gives their approval to cancel your return they will send you a letter to confirm that you are not required to submit a tax return.

I haven’t received a letter from HMRC do I still need to submit a tax return?

If you have to fill in a tax return HMRC will normally send you a reminder letter through the post if you haven’t signed up for the HMRC digital self assessment email reminders service.

It’s always best to tell HMRC as soon as you can if you have moved address to ensure you don’t miss any post that they send you about self assessment.

If you elect the electronic method for communication you will receive email notifications so it’s important to make sure that you are using an up to date email address that you have regular access to.

If HMRC fail to send you a letter or email for whatever reason, and you still need to complete a tax return it’s still your responsibility to complete on time.


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