In this section:

Completing your tax return (registered pension scheme trustees)

As the trustee of a registered pension scheme you may need to fill in form SA970 Tax return for trustees of registered pension schemes. If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) asks you to complete a return, you must always do so.

You must complete this return on paper. You can't send it online.

On this page:

Getting the tax return (SA970)

If you're a trustee of a registered pension scheme, you'll receive a letter each year, usually in April, telling you to complete a tax return. You can use the link below to download the return (form SA970) and a guide to help you fill it in (SA975).

If you download the form, make sure that you put your name, address and 10-digit tax reference number, called a Unique Taxpayer Reference on the tax return. You'll find the reference number on statements and letters from HMRC.

Go to form and notes for SA970 - Tax return for trustees of registered pension schemes


Tax records you may need

You must keep accurate records so you can complete the tax return. The information you'll need will depend on the pension scheme's circumstances but will include information about the scheme's income and trading activities.

Find out more about record keeping for your pension scheme return


Understanding accounting periods

Registered pension scheme tax returns usually have a 12 month accounting period that coincides with the tax year, running from 6 April one year to 5 April the next.

Accounting periods that don’t end on 5 April

Your pension scheme may have may have a 12 month accounting period that ends on a different date, for example, it runs from 1 July to 30 June. In this case you can base your tax return on the income received during the accounting period that ends in that tax year. For example you'd complete the 2013-14 return based on income actually received in the accounting period that ended on 30 June 2013.

Changing the accounting period

If you change the end-date for an accounting period, even by a day, you must complete all further returns based on the tax year end instead of the accounting period end. Take extra care to make sure you don't miss out any months during the year of the change over.

For example, if you change your accounting period end from 30 June to 5 May:

You completed the 2012-13 tax return based on a 12 month accounting period to 30 June 2012.

You change the accounting period to end on 5 May 2013.

  • your 2012-13 return is based on the 12 month accounting period to 30 June 2012
  • your 2013-14 return is based on the period from 1 July 2012 to 5 April 2014 (the tax year end)
  • future years' returns will be based on the period 6 April to 5 April


If you don't have exact figures for your tax return

If you don't have exact figures you can use:

  • an estimate - a figure you want HMRC to accept as your final figure
  • a provisional figure - one you want HMRC to use until you can confirm the actual amount

If you use a provisional figure, you must tell HMRC when you expect to have actual figures.

Use the 'Additional Information' section to say how you've arrived at these figures and why you can't use actual figures. If you make adjustments at a later date and you haven't paid enough tax, you may have to pay interest and penalties.


Deadlines for registered pension scheme tax returns

The deadline for sending the return to HMRC is midnight on 31 January following the end of the year of assessment. If you miss the deadline, you'll have to pay a penalty even if you have no tax to pay.

There's an earlier deadline, if you want HMRC to work out the tax due for you. You'll need to send the return to HMRC by midnight on 31 October.

Tax return deadlines and penalties - learn more


Working out the tax due yourself

If you're going to work out the tax due yourself, the tax calculation guide for registered pension schemes (SA976) will help you.

Go to SA976 - Trustees of registered pension schemes tax calculation guide

Check current Income Tax rates and allowances


Avoiding common mistakes on your tax return

If you make a mistake, HMRC may need to contact you before they can accept your return, so:

  • make sure you sign and date the return
  • check that you've completed all the relevant sections
  • add your 10-digit tax reference number, if you downloaded the form
  • use the right form for the right tax year - don't just alter the date on an old form
  • avoid adding notes such as 'information to follow' or 'per accounts'
  • take care when entering UK income - the gross amount before tax must include only amounts on which your scheme has had tax deducted - show the tax in the 'tax deducted' box


Sending in your tax return

Check through the return and make sure you've filled in all the relevant sections. Sign and date it then send it to:

Pension Schemes Services
FitzRoy House
Castle Meadow Road


What happens after you've sent your tax return

If you sent in your return by midnight on 31 October, HMRC will work out the tax due for you. You'll receive a tax calculation. If you are due a repayment of tax, you'll usually get this automatically. But it may be set off against other tax instead if there is an amount due soon.

If you have tax to pay, you will have to pay it by 31 January. Check your Self Assessment statement to find out more.

Understanding your Self Assessment Statement


Getting help and advice

Administering a pension scheme can be complicated. If you're already a trustee, or you're thinking about becoming one, consider taking advice from a solicitor. You may also find it helpful to talk to a tax adviser or accountant.

If you have problems completing your tax return, call the Pension Scheme Services Helpline.

Contact the Pensions Scheme Services Helpline

Search for a solicitor on the Law Society website (Opens new window)

Find a tax adviser at the Chartered Institute of Taxation website (Opens new window)

Find a chartered accountant on the ICAEW website (Opens new window)