In this section:
If you have relatively straightforward tax affairs and already pay tax through PAYE (Pay As You Earn) you probably won't need to complete a tax return. But if you have income from self-employment or above a certain level you may need to complete one.
On this page:
You can see the most common reasons for needing to fill in a tax return below.
You have to complete a return for each year you were self-employed (or a partner in a partnership). You need to complete a tax return even if you make a loss or if it's your final year of trading.
Joe is a self-employed plumber. In September 2013 he decides to finish in business and finds employment with a local company.
As Joe ceased in business in September 2013 he still needs to complete a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014. In April or May 2014 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will send him a notice to complete a tax return. Joe will need to send his tax return to HMRC by 31 January 2015. On his tax return he will need to include details of his employment and self-employment, including the date he stopped being self-employed.
If Joe's circumstances stay the same he won't need to complete tax
returns in the future.
You must complete a return if you're any of the following:
If you receive total income of £100,000 or more you'll need to complete a tax return. You may have higher or additional rate tax to pay that hasn't been collected through your tax code.
If you are an employee or a pensioner and already pay tax through a PAYE code, you can sometimes ask for tax that you owe on income, such as savings and property, to be collected through your code number. You'll need to complete a tax return instead if the income you receive is:
If you don't pay tax through a PAYE code you’ll need to complete a tax return if all of the following apply:
Raj has been renting out a property for a number of years. He has completed annual Self Assessment tax returns showing the rental income and expenses. He sold the property in May 2013.
As he sold the property in May 2013 Raj still needs to complete a tax return for the tax year 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014. In April or May 2014 HMRC will send him a notice to complete a tax return. Raj will need to send his tax return to HMRC by 31 January 2015. On his tax return he must give details of the rental income and expenses, and the date he sold the property.
If Raj sold the property at a profit, he may have capital gains tax to pay. If so, he will need to give details of this on his tax return.
If Raj's circumstances stay the same he won't need to complete tax returns in the future.
If you're employed and want to claim expenses or professional subscriptions of £2,500 or more, you'll need to complete a tax return. If you want to claim expenses below this amount, you can contact HMRC.
You can only claim certain reliefs, such as Enterprise Investment Scheme relief or relief on Venture Capital Trusts, by completing a tax return.
The new High Income Child Benefit tax charge, introduced on 7 January 2013, may mean you need to complete a Self Assessment tax return for the first time. You must complete a tax return if all of the following apply:
Lynda and David live together with their daughter Libby. Libby was born in January 2014. Lynda receives child benefit. David works for a national distribution company and earns £55,000 a year. Lynda works part-time for a local supermarket earning £18,000 a year.
As David is earning over £50,000 and earns more than Lynda he will have to pay a tax charge. The charge is based on the amount of child benefit Lynda received. David will need to complete a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014 showing details of the child benefit received up to 5 April 2014. He must send his tax return to HMRC by 31 January 2015.
If their circumstances stay the same David will need to complete annual tax returns in the future.
You must complete a tax return if you have any foreign income that's liable to UK tax.
You must complete a return if you receive income (or are treated as receiving income) on which tax is still due, for example from:
If you have Capital Gains Tax to pay, for example you've sold, given away or otherwise disposed of an asset such as a holiday home or shares, you'll need to complete a tax return and the Capital Gains Tax pages.
Residency is a complex issue. Follow the link below to find out more about your residency status, the remittance basis and what to do next.
You may need to complete a tax return if you're:
You'll need a tax return if you're a:
If HMRC has asked you to complete a tax return and you've checked the information above and think you don't need one, call the Self Assessment Helpline. They will tell you whether you still need to complete a tax return.
If you don't currently complete a tax return but your circumstances change, you need to tell HMRC.
If you've checked the sections above and you need a tax return, follow the link below to register for Self Assessment.
If you're not sure if you need a tax return, contact the Self Assessment Helpline. They will tell you whether you need a tax return or whether you can pay the tax due in some other way instead.
For example, you may owe tax as:
You need to register for Self Assessment before you can get a tax return. HMRC will use the information you provide to set up the right records for you and will send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference. You'll then receive a letter, each year usually in April or May, telling you to complete your return. You can send your tax return online or on paper but there are lots of benefits to sending it online.
There are different types of tax returns depending on the type of income you have. Find out more using the links below.
You can save time and paperwork by sending your return online. You'll receive an automatic acknowledgment and also find out what you owe or are due back right away, because the figures are calculated for you instantly.