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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Debt and return pursuit: Self Assessment: debt and return background: filing of returns

An obligation to file a return must have been placed on the taxpayer either by the issue of a return or a Notice to File (form SA316).

The taxpayer’s record will show the

  • date a return is issued, and the
  • date a return is logged as received by HMRC.

The filing date depends on the taxpayer type and the date of issue of the return.

Taxpayers should be encouraged to file their returns online where appropriate, and advised to submit paper returns direct to Customer Operations.

Where a paper return is received by a Debt Management office, stamp the date of receipt on the front of the return ensuring the stamp is clear of the barcode and forward the return to Customer Operations for logging. For more information see the Self Assessment Manual, ‘Individuals Returns’ (SAM121000).

Years 2006/07 and previous

For years up to and including 2006-07, for individuals, trustees and partnerships where there are no company partners the filing date for both paper and online returns is the later of

  • 31 January where the return was issued on or before 31 October, or
  • 3 months and 7 days after issue where the return was issued after 31 October.

Years 2007/08 and following

For 2007-08 and later years, for individuals, trustees and partnerships where there are no company partners the filing date is the later of

  • 31 October where a paper return is received and a paper return or Notice to File was issued on or before 31 July
  • 31 January where an online return is received and a paper return or Notice to File was issued on or before 31 July
  • 3 months and 7 days after issue of a paper return, where the paper return was issued after 31 July. This applies to both online and paper returns.

If a paper tax return is filed late, it is not possible to avoid a penalty by filing a further tax return online before 31 January.

Each year prior to the ‘bulk’ paper return deadline 31 October, SA Customer Operations (Processing) issue guidance detailing the dates HMRC accept paper returns as received on time.

Taxpayers who are unable to file online

For taxpayers who are unable to file online for HMRC technical or operational reasons, such as Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes and Non-Resident Companies, the paper filing date is the later of

  • 31 January where the return was issued on or before 31 July and
  • 3 months and 7 days after issue where the return was issued after 31 July.

Partnerships

For partnerships where one or more partners is a company the filing date is the later of

  • 12 months after the end of the period covered by the company return or
  • the normal partnership filing date.

Reminder sequence

In December one of the following reminders will be issued alerting taxpayers to their obligation to file a return

  • SA309A - SA Online Tax Return and Payment Reminder will be issued. The SA309A is a personalised warning to individuals and trusts about penalties, interest, surcharge and includes a payslip
  • SA309E - SA Tax Return and Payment Reminder will be issued to taxpayers who are unable to file their tax return online for technical or operational reasons. The SA309E is a personalised warning about penalties, interest, and surcharge and includes a payslip

There will be various penalties for late filing of a return. For more information about these see the Self Assessment Manual, ‘Penalties’ (SAM61000).

Notes:

In cessation cases you should encourage taxpayers to file their returns before the filing date but remember that they are under no obligation to do so.

Forms

The following forms are relevant to the procedures for penalties.

  • SA309A: Online Tax Return and Payment Reminder - personalised warning issued in December about fixed automatic penalties, interest and surcharge. A payslip is included.
  • SA309E: Tax Return and Payment Reminder - personalised warning issued in December to taxpayers who are unable to file online for technical or operation reasons about fixed automatic penalties, interest and surcharge. A payslip is included.
  • SA352: Insert - Don’t miss the 31 January deadline, warns about fixed automatic penalties and surcharges. Issued with the SA309A and SA309B December 2008 (SA309B obsolete from Dec 09 onwards) where no taxpayer statement was issued to the taxpayer. In December 09 the SA352 was issued with the December statement. From January 2010 the SA352 is obsolete.