HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Claims Manual

SACM12220 - Overpayment relief: Special relief: What is covered

Special relief is a form of overpayment relief that can only apply to amounts charged in HMRC determinations for income tax self-assessment or corporation tax self-assessment where no other statutory remedy is available. Claims can be made on or after 1 April 2011.


A person (individual or company) who has received a notice to make a return must do so by the filing date. When a person fails to meet this obligation, HMRC has the power to raise a determination of the liability due and unpaid to the best of their knowledge and the information available to them. Where HMRC issues such a determination the sum on it becomes the amount that is legally due to be paid. There is no right of appeal against a determination. But submission of the return will displace the determination and the determined amount of tax will be automatically amended to the return amount, provided the return is received within the time allowed. See SAM121080 and COM23170 for the relevant time limits.

If these time limits are passed a person may, subject to what follows, claim special relief, if HMRC has made a determination in the absence of a return for a year of assessment or accounting period and

  • the person is out of time to make a return to displace the determination, and
  • they are unable to claim overpayment relief.

Unlike claims to overpayment relief, there is no time limit for claiming special relief.

Also unlike overpayment relief claims, special relief is not automatically excluded whenever

  • a person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that they had some other means of correcting an overpayment or over-assessment, but they failed to use those other means within the relevant time limit (Case C - see SACM12085), or
  • HMRC has already taken court action to recover amounts due under a determination (Case F - see SACM12100), unless the person was present or was legally represented during the proceedings, or an agreement was reached to settle the proceedings.

In addition to the above, the person making a claim for special relief must satisfy both the remaining requirements for overpayment relief and must meet three further conditions which reflect HMRC’s former practice regarding equitable liability - see SACM12230.

Para 3A Schedule 1AB TMA 1970

Para 51BA Schedule 18 FA 1998