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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment: the legal framework

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Other issues: assessment, employees, trustees, personal representatives and beneficiaries of estates: construction and use of the term 'assessment'

Use of the term ‘assessment’ in the Taxes Acts covers both self assessments and HMRC assessments

Under self assessment there are both ‘self assessments’, that is:

  • a self assessment forming part of a tax return (eg under Section 9)
  • an amended self assessment following a correction (eg under Section 9ZB) or an enquiry (eg under Section 9C or, much more likely, under Section 28A)
  • a determination under Section 28C (which is treated as if it were a self assessment) following a failure to make a tax return

and ‘HMRC assessments’, that is:

  • a discovery assessment made under Section 29 to make good a loss of tax.

All references in the Taxes Acts to the process of assessing a person to tax, or to the process of creating a charge to tax by an assessment, cover both self assessments and HMRC assessments.

Language used in TMA 1970

In addition to the general rule regarding the construction of the word ‘assessment’ the language used in TMA 1970 applies equally to the self assessment process and HMRC assessment process. For example, references to assessments are in neutral terms such as ‘For the purposes of securing that members of a grouping are assessed’ (Section 12A).