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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Records: set up taxpayer record: criteria for a PAYE / SA record

During day to day work an SA record is required for a year where

  • The latest employment, Job Seekers Allowance, or Incapacity Benefit claim, or Occupational pension is live

And one of the following criteria is present

  • The following indicator is set

    • DIR - other than exempt directors. There are some directorships where tax returns do not need to be completed for the reason of the directorship alone. Provided that their tax affairs do not otherwise require completion, returns will not be required from directors of companies which are set up for charitable purposes, or that are neither profit making nor trading and that do not make payments in any way or provide any company benefits for the directors.


    Directors of Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC)

    Directors of companies set up by tenants to manage freeholds

    Nominal directorships (for example school governors)

    Where they otherwise qualify to do so, based on other income and amounts, relevant directors can complete a Short Tax Return (SA200) rather than a Main Tax Return (SA100)


  • The total taxable income (including benefits and so on), before allowances and tax reliefs are set off, exceeds £100k. Note: No signal is set on NPS to identify these cases


  • The individual or their partner is entitled to receive Child Benefit (or someone else claims Child Benefit for a child who lives with the individual) which is liable to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (from 2012-2013), and the individual has the higher adjusted net income


  • The latest coding contains

    • Any expenses or professional subscriptions of £2500 or in excess
    • Other earnings from part time earnings, other income (not earnings) commission, income from property, tips, public service pension, occupational pension, forces pension or personal pension annuity individually are in excess of £2500
    • Untaxed interest (for years up to and including 2015-2016)
    • Higher Rate Adjustment is in excess of £5625


1. The reconciliation of all years on PAYE, prior to the case being set up in SA, should be dealt with in accordance with PAYE93032 and PAYE93033
2. If the total expenses claimed are £2500 or more the case should be set up on SA (or the SA record reactivated, if dormant) for the year to which the expenses claim relates. If the claim is for CY, update the SA record so that an SA tax return will be issued in April. If the claim is for a year earlier than CY and a return has not already been issued, issue one now
3. From 6 April 2016, for tax years 2016-2017 onwards, an SA return is not required where the taxpayer is an occupational pensioner and the untaxed interest is less than £10,000. For previous years, an SA return is not required where the taxpayer is an occupational pensioner and untaxed interest is less than £2500, or where the untaxed interest is more than £2500 but there is no tax liability
4. For tax years 2016-2017 onwards, a return is not required where a taxpayer is in receipt of
  • savings and investment income of £10,000 or less before tax


  • dividend income of £10,000 or less before tax    
      5. Where the taxpayer is in receipt of income from self employment shown on a self employment page but included in their code number, there will always be a requirement for the taxpayer to submit an SA return even if the income is below £2500
      6. If the gross income from property exceeds £10,000 irrespective of the amount of expenses to be set off, an SA record is required. For example, gross income from property of £11,000 less expenses of £9,500 gives a net income of £1,500 to be included as a deduction in the code - an SA record is required
      7. If a loss arises on income from property and gross income is less than £10,000, or Rent A Room income is below the exempt amount, an SA record is not required. Note: If the taxpayer is unable to provide details regarding a new source, an SA record is required
      8. Where the taxpayer is a UK resident seafarer and wishes to claim Seafarers Earnings Deduction (SED) they can register for SA and make their claim on the SA return. Those seafarers who are non-UK residents and wish to claim SED must do so on form R43M and should not be set up in SA

Other circumstances

  • In receipt of income from self employment (this includes foster carers) or partnership (partnership returns will also be required)
  • A company director - other than exempt directors
  • A minister of religion (of any faith or denomination)
  • In receipt of untaxed income of £2500 or more and there is tax liability (some pensioners may be able to pay the tax on this through their PAYE coding). )For years up to, and including, 2015-2016, this includes cases where personal allowances do not cover state pension and there is no source of income. For 2016-2017 onwards these cases will be dealt with under PAYE
  • Non-resident landlords
  • In receipt of taxable foreign income. If however the foreign income is less than £300 and consists solely of foreign dividend income and the taxpayer does not meet any other criteria for SA, there is no requirement for the taxpayer to complete SA returns
  • In receipt of income from the letting of property or land (if net income is less than £2500 a year they may be exempt unless part 4 of notes above applies). See also Note 5 and 6 above regarding gross income, losses or exempt amounts
  • Name or member of Lloyds
  • In receipt of savings or investment income (from which tax has been deducted) of £10,000 or more (before tax)
  • In receipt of (or treated as received) income from a trust or settlement or any income from the estate of a deceased person, and further tax is due on that income
  • In receipt of unauthorised payments from a pension scheme which are liable to a tax charge, including those payments which are liable to unauthorised payment surcharge
  • Makes a claim for repayment of tax deducted from sick pay refunded to the employer, when in receipt of compensation for loss of earnings due to injury at work which covers that sick pay. Note: This will apply only for a closed year where refund is made in the following year
  • Makes a claim for Community Investment Tax Relief
  • Enterprise Investment Schemes Relief, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme Relief or Social Investment Tax Relief where the relief claimed for each item is £10000 or more
  • Expats

Where the EXPAT signal is set and

* The taxpayer is working wholly, or partly, in the UK for a UK resident employer, on assignment, while remaining employed by an overseas employer, or
* The taxpayer is assigned to work wholly, or partly, in the UK at a recognised branch of their overseas employers business
* All individuals included by an employer within a dedicated expatriate scheme
* All individuals included by an employer within an expatriate modified PAYE scheme
  • From April 2011 those individuals with an annual allowance pension charge
  • An SA return should be completed together with Capital Gains pages where the individual has Capital Gains to pay after the annual exemption

Note: The requirement for an SA record where there is an entitlement to reduced age allowances was withdrawn from May 2013.