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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: return issue: introduction

SA paper returns and SA316 (Notice to complete a tax Return) are  issued annually on or after 6 April following the end of the tax year to which they relate.

Where a customer is new to SA, that is, the customer has been set up on SA during the current tax year, the system will issue a form SA316 at the bulk annual issue (ITAR) the following February. If a paper return is required, refer to subject ‘Issuing returns other than at bulk issue’ (SAM120040).

Up to 5 April 2015 and from 6 April 2016, either a paper SA100 return or form SA316 were issued depending on the customers return profile but in April 2015, for the 2014-2015 tax year only, form SA316 was issued at the bulk issue in all cases (including where a SA100 paper return was previously issued), unless one or more of following circumstances apply:-

  • The customers address is abroad
  • The customer meets the SA200 criteria


  • The customer is 70 years old or over, or will be 70 by 5 April at the end of the tax year, and is not represented by an agent

Note: Where the customer is unable to file online for technical or operational reasons, or is a deceased case or a failure to notify case, the relevant paper return will be issued.

From 6 April 2016, customers who have filed their 2014-2015 return online will receive a form SA316, and customers who filed their 2014-2015 on paper will receive a paper return, for 2015-2016 onwards.

In cases, where an SA316 has previously been issued and the customer requires a paper return, the form SA316 includes instructions on how to print a paper copy from the, but if the customer insists that we send a paper return, the reissue of a form SA316 can be inhibited. For details of how to inhibit the issue of a form SA316 when issuing a return, see subject ‘Issuing returns other than at bulk issue’ (SAM120040).

Note: Regardless of any inhibition signal, if the automatic selection process deems that the issue of form SA316 is not suitable, a paper return will be issued but the issue of a return (or SA316) will be prevented if the ‘Last SA Return Required’ or ‘Liability Unlikely’ (LU Year) signal is present on the record.

Customers who previously filed a short return (SA200) will continue to receive a form SA200.

For information - In April 2013, for the 2012-13 tax year only, six different types of form SA316 were issued to customers:-

SA316 The standard ‘Notice to file’ form
SA316A Aimed at New to SA pensioners
SA316B Aimed at New to SA ‘vulnerable pensioners’
SA316C Aimed at New to SA customers who have recently started a small or medium enterprise
SA316D Sent to customers who currently complete the SA200 ( Short tax return) but who may be encouraged to file online
SA316E Sent to customers who currently complete the paper SA100 ( main tax return) but who may be encouraged to file online


But from April 2014, only the standard SA316 was issued.

For customers who have opted for paperless contact from April 2015, an e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address provided by the customer, prompting them to view their account where they will see a message to file their return (digital SA316).

In early January 2017, two new letters were issued to encourage filing by the online filing deadline. The SA380 was issued to customers who had not filed their paper return on, or before 31 October, advising how to file online, and the SA381 was issued to first time filers reminding them that the filing deadline is 31 January. These letters were only issued in January 2017.

There are different returns for individuals (Main Tax Returns (SA100) and Short Tax Returns (SA200)), trusts, partnerships and approved self administered pension schemes. Each return has a minimum number of pages. Supplementary pages are available where the taxpayer / partnership, trust or pension scheme is in receipt of income or gains not covered in the basic return.

Represented individuals and trusts will be automatically issued with the return and any supplementary pages needed. They will not be issued with the Tax Return Guide, Tax Calculation Guide, Tax Calculation Summary page or guidance notes for supplementary pages. A note on the return will tell them that if, exceptionally, they need these guides, they can be obtained from the website.

When issuing a basic return manually, or any of the supplementary pages, a Tax Return Guide, Tax Calculation Guide, Tax Calculation Summary page or guidance notes for supplementary pages should not be issued where the individual or trust is represented.

Information held on the individual and trust record type taxpayer’s Return Profile determines which supplementary pages are issued with the basic return annually. Note: A Short Tax Return (SA200) should only be issued to a taxpayer where the Return Profile shows that the appropriate criteria are met. Further details are available at subject ‘Criteria For Issue Of Short Tax Return’ (SAM120020).

To ensure therefore that the relevant pages are issued, the individual and trust record type taxpayer’s Return Profile must be maintained in day-to-day work. Where a duplicate return is requested and the return profile is updated at the same time, the additional pages in most circumstances will be issued with the return.

A basic partnership return, of 8 pages including the short Partnership Statement, is issued to all partnerships. The Tax Return Guide is not issued automatically where an agent represents the partnership. Where the partnership receives certain types of income or gains, supplementary pages and a full Partnership Statement are issued manually on request. The guidance notes should not be issued if an agent represents the partnership. As the partnership Return Profile provides Management Information, it must be maintained in day-to-day work.

There is no computer support to issue the Tax Return for Trustees of self administered Pension Schemes. The issue of the return, plus guidance notes and Tax Calculation Guide if an agent is not acting, is carried out manually. The supplementary pages and relevant notes are obtained by the trustee from the website.

All the returns are supported by guidance notes.

Help sheets giving more detailed guidance are available online for the more complicated areas.

The majority of SA316 (Notice to Complete a Tax Return) and Returns, together with guidance notes, are issued automatically, but there are cases where manual issue is required. These cases will appear on the ‘Manual Issue Of Return’ Work List.

Paper versions of Individuals (SA100 and SA200), Partnership and Trust returns for CY-1 and form SA316 can be issued automatically after annual bulk issue through use of function RECORD RETURN REQUEST. An exception is where the return relates to CY as you will have to amend in manuscript the return period.

An SA return required for any year earlier than CY-1 is issued manually, and the issue noted on the SA record using function RECORD DATE OF CLERICAL ISSUE. The issued return should include the supplementary pages in accordance with the taxpayer’s return profile.

If the taxpayer requires additional pages, the return directs the taxpayer to the If the return is for CY-3 or earlier, you must issue a covering letter with the return advising the taxpayer to obtain any additional pages required by downloading them from the web site. If approached for additional pages, you should download the pages from the web site, print and issue them to the taxpayer.

When using function RECORD RETURN REQUEST or RECORD DATE OF CLERICAL ISSUE you must indicate whether or not Failure to Notify applies. The computer will then automatically set the relevant due date of the balancing payment for interest purposes and the due date of the payments on account for the current year to the correct dates. Where Failure to Notify does apply, for Management information purposes, you must also indicate whether you became aware of chargeability from

  • The taxpayer or agent


  • From some other source

Note: The computer uses the due date of the return when calculating any surcharge, regardless of whether Failure to Notify applies or not.