Tax returns for trustees of registered pension schemes

As the trustee of a registered pension scheme you may need to fill in form SA970 Tax Return for trustees of registered pension schemes at the end of the tax year. You use the return to notify HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of how much tax the pension scheme owes or to declare how much tax has been deducted from the scheme's investment income. You can also use it to claim a repayment.

Trustees of a scheme are jointly responsible for making a return. If HMRC knows that a tax return is needed, they'll send one or all of the trustees, care of the address of just one of them, a letter which explains when the trustees will need to send the tax return back.

On this page:

How to get a tax return for a pension scheme

If you've been asked to complete a return

If you're a trustee of a registered pension scheme, you may receive a letter soon after the end of the tax year. HMRC will issue this letter if they know that the pension scheme has previously paid tax or claimed a refund. The letter tells you that you must complete a tax return (form SA970) for the pension scheme.

If you've been asked to complete a tax return you must do so - even if no tax or repayment is due.

You can use the link below to download form SA970. You'll also find links to a guide to help you fill the return in (form SA975) and a guide that helps you calculate the tax if you wish to do this yourself (form SA976).

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

If you think you need a return but HMRC hasn't contacted you

If you haven't been asked to complete a tax return you must contact the Pensions Scheme Helpline (see the link below) and ask for a Self Assessment tax return if any of the following apply:

  • you've got Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay
  • you wish to claim a refund of tax
  • you've claimed a refund already during the tax year

Contact the Pensions Schemes Service Helpline

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Completing and filing the pension scheme tax return

You must complete the core six-page registered pension scheme tax return - form SA970 even if no tax or repayment is due.

Note that it's not currently possible to send the SA970 online - you must complete and send HMRC a paper tax return instead.

Follow the links below to download a tax return and to find out what to look out for when filling in the return.

Completing your tax return (trustees of registered pension schemes)

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Deadlines for sending in a tax return for a registered pension scheme

If you're planning to calculate the tax due yourself, the deadline for sending in the return is 31 January following the end of the year of assessment.

If you want HMRC to work out the tax due for you and send you a tax calculation, you'll need to send the tax return back earlier - by 31 October. If you send the tax return after that date, HMRC may be able to work out the tax due before the payment deadline (31 January) but they can't guarantee it, so you may have to work out the tax due yourself.

Tax return deadlines and penalties - learn more

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Claiming repayments during the tax year

If you deal with an approved retirement benefit scheme that's exempt from tax, you may wish to claim a repayment of tax during the tax year. In this case, you'll need to complete form R63N Repayment request for Registered Pension Schemes, see the link below.

At the end of the year you must also use the tax return - form SA970 - to tell HMRC the total tax paid during the year, the amount of tax you've already claimed back using form R63N, and, if relevant, to claim any remaining tax repayment that may be due.

Download form R63N to claim a repayment (PDF 40K)

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Payment deadlines

On or before 31 January, the scheme must pay:

  • any tax that's owed from the previous tax year
  • the first 'payment on account' (advance payment) of tax for the current tax year

Tax return deadlines and penalties - learn more

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Ways to pay

You can pay your tax bill in various ways. Electronic methods are usually faster and are more secure.

You can pay in any of the following ways:

  • through your bank's internet or phone banking service
  • by debit card over the internet
  • by Bank Giro or at the Post Office ®
  • by Direct Debit - you'll need to register for HMRC online services first
  • by posting a cheque to the HMRC Accounts Office

Find out more by following the links below.

How to pay your tax

Log in to HMRC online services

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If a pension scheme changes or is wound up

If a registered pension scheme details change or a scheme is wound up, you'll need to tell HMRC. You use the Pension Schemes Online service to do this (see the links below).

You may still have to make a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year in which a scheme is wound up.

Log in to HMRC online services

Find out more about Pension Schemes Online

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Record keeping

As a trustee of a registered pension scheme you must keep records so that you can complete the pension scheme tax return fully and accurately. The records will vary depending on each scheme's individual circumstances, but should include full details of income from the sources shown on the tax return and any repayments received during the year.

Record keeping for trustees of registered pension schemes

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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)

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