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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: return issue: pension scheme returns

Since 6 April 2006, all pension schemes wishing to benefit from tax reliefs must be registered with HMRC. Registration replaces the former process of tax approval. The tax affairs of all Registered Pension Schemes are dealt with by Pension Schemes Services (PSS - formerly APSS).

A ‘notice to file’ the Tax Return for the Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970), is only issued to schemes by PSS.

The Trust and Estates Tax Return (SA900) continues to apply to pension schemes which are not registered, and these schemes are normally dealt with in Trust Offices.

The SA970 is only used to return details of the schemes’ income from investments. Tax due on payments made out of the scheme by the Scheme’s Administrators should be dealt with in accordance with the instructions in the Pensions Tax Manual (PTM).

Return issue

The notice to file is manually issued by PSS to those Registered Pension Schemes having tax liability to declare or have claimed, or wish to claim, repayments of tax deducted at source from the scheme’s investment income. There is a basic Tax Return (SA970) with guidance notes (SA975) and Tax Calculation Guide (SA976).


Relevant cases will be identified from the ‘Manual Issue Of Return’ Work List with the reason MANUAL RETURN SIGNAL. You must

  • Prepare and issue the notice to file a return manually
  • Prepare a self-adhesive label, showing the address of PSS, to be affixed to the return address box

If you do not know the name of the trustee, then issue the return to ‘The trustee of ….. (name of scheme).

The ‘notice to file’ should be issued on the first working day after 5 April of the return year. Use function RECORD DATE OF CLERICAL ISSUE to update the SA record.

For more information see subject ‘Processing the Pension Scheme Tax Return’ (SAM123330).

On receipt the completed return will be logged and any amendments to personal details updated on the SA record in the normal way. Technical Support System (TSS) is used to enter return details.

Stock of returns

The Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970) is not available through the normal ordering process. It can only be downloaded from the HMRC website.