Pension administrators: relief at source annual information returns

Guidance and specifications for the annual information returns required from registered pension schemes operating relief at source schemes.

Submission deadline

If you’re operating a relief at source scheme you must send HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) an annual return of individual information for each tax year ending 5 April.

You must do this by the following 5 July. If you don’t, you won’t receive:

If you submit your return HMRC will continue to treat it as outstanding if:

  • the information is incomplete
  • it’s in the wrong format
  • it can’t be opened

HMRC will tell you if the information has been successfully received, or if you need to correct or re-submit it.


Registered pension scheme relief at source spreadsheet

You can send HMRC your return on an Excel spreadsheet that is pre-structured to the format that needs to be followed.

To help you successfully submit the information by spreadsheet we have updated it to include conditional formatting. This means that if you have entered too many characters in a cell the spreadsheet column header in row 1 will turn red and will stay red until you have removed any excess characters.

If you submit the spreadsheet to HMRC without removing the excess characters, the submission will automatically fail and the return will continue to be outstanding. You’ll need to resubmit an amended spreadsheet.

The spreadsheets:

  • are in Excel version 2003 (.xls)
  • can accept 65,536 rows of information
  • can’t convert to the later version of Excel (.xlsx)
  • can’t check the accuracy or suitability of the data entered

If you need a later version of the spreadsheet please email and tell us which spreadsheet you need.

Flat electronic text file

Files must be in ASCII/EBC/DIC. The content of files should conform with the registered pension schemes electronic flat text file specifications.

This will create a flat text file (CSV files are not acceptable) that you should submit by one of the methods detailed in your notice.


If at all possible you’re encouraged to submit your return of information electronically as this substantially improves the security of the data.

From April 2018 you must not use the paper format, instead you must send files electronically.

Submitting your return electronically is also generally easier and less time consuming than manually completing paper forms.

If you’re unable to submit the return of information electronically then the return should be made on form RPSCOM100(Z).

From April 2018 this form will no longer be available from HMRC. Downloaded or photocopied forms are not allowed. Before April 2018, you can obtain original copies of the form by calling the Self Assessment orderline.

The RPSCOM100(Z) is read by Optical Character Reader equipment and it’s essential that your submission is 100% correct and submitted in line with HMRC’s published instructions or it may be rejected.

Send completed returns

You should send your return by Secure Data Exchange Service (SDES), email, or post. You must not use the paper return from April 2018, and from April 2019 you can only submit your annual notification of residency status report using SDES.

Until April 2019 you can still send your information on electronic media by post.


If you’re sending your return by email you should send it to You’re responsible for the data until HMRC has received it.

The subject of your email must contain the return type, the relief at source reference number (including sub-number) and the year of the return.

If your return is over 6MB in size you should split it into separate numbered volumes. You should email each volume separately and number the emails 1 of n, 2 of n and so on.

HMRC recommends that you password protect your data and send the password in a separate email to


SDES can be used to send returns from April 2018, but from April 2019 this will be the only way to send your annual information returns to HMRC.


If you’re sending your data stored on CD, DVD or USB you can post it to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Centre for National Information (CNI)
Ty Glas Road
CF14 5ZG

Make sure the media is securely packaged, clearly labelled, password protected and sent using a tracked postal method.

Annual returns of individual information for the tax year 2017 to 2018 onwards must not be submitted on paper.

If you require any help with the information that is required on the return, or if you have any difficulties in complying, please contact pension schemes helpline.

If you need help with your submission (or if you haven’t had confirmation from HMRC that it’s been successful) please contact or Telephone: 03000 582413.

Published 27 August 2013
Last updated 31 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. How to send an annual information return has been updated as Secure Data Exchange Service is replacing the Secure Electronic Transfer system. The paper form RPSCOM100(Z) can't be used for tax years from April 2018.
  2. HMRC is constantly reviewing and updating submission methods and contact details, and the most up to date information will be supplied in the notice.
  3. First published.