HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: return issue: withdrawing a notice to file

Tax years 2009-10 and earlier

For tax years up to, and including, 2009-10, under Self Assessment any customer sent a notice to file a return is required to complete and file that return.

Tax years 2010-11 and 2011-12 only

For tax years 2010-2011 and 2011-12, where a return had been issued and remained outstanding and the customer contacted us to confirm that they no longer satisfied SA criteria, we agreed informally that the return was no longer required and to update the record accordingly.

Tax years 2012-13 onwards

However, for tax years 2012-2013, and later, an individual, partnership or trustee can request that we withdraw a notice to file and, if the customer no longer satisfies SA criteria for that year, we can agree to withdraw the notice, unless the customer is RLS, and cancel any penalties for failing to file the return, under Schedule 55 FA2009. An agent can also request, on the customers’ behalf, that the notice is withdrawn and we will accept the request as long as the customer has authorised the agent to act on their behalf.

In cases where the customer is RLS, no action can be taken to issue the SEES letter SA832 (Withdrawal notice) or cancel penalties until a new address is obtained. When a new address has been obtained and the record updated, the guidance at SAM120116 should be followed.

Where the ACI signal is set and/or an SA note is made that confirms that Compliance have an interest in the case the return must be completed.

If we agree to withdraw the notice to file and a return has been selected for the following year, if you are sure that the request to withdraw the notice to file is for the served return and for future years, a SEES letter SA832 (Withdrawal notice) can be sent for the notice already served and for the notice we cannot prevent being issued. For further information, see subject ‘Withdrawing a notice to file’ (Action Guide) at SAM120116.


This also applies from 6 April 2012 onwards for partnerships which include one or more companies for a relevant period beginning on or after 6 April 2012, and for any other partnership in respect of a return for a year of assessment beginning on or after 6 April 2012.

For information, the ‘relevant period’ will generally be the period that the partnership makes up its accounts to which ends in the tax year of assessment. For example, filing dates for partnerships which include one, or more, companies are based on the end of the relevant period, whereas partnerships without companies have their filing dates based on the end of the year of assessment.

Note: If a determination is in place or a tax return has already been received, the notice cannot be withdrawn.

For information regarding SA Criteria to help you decide if the notice should be withdrawn, see SAM100050 and SAM100060.

Time limits for withdrawal request

The period during which a customer may request the withdrawal of the notice to file is 2 years beginning with the end of the year of assessment, or a period agreed between HMRC and the customer.

For partnerships which include one or more companies, the withdrawal period is 2 years beginning with the end of the relevant period in respect of which the return was required by the notice under Section 12AAA. For other partnerships, the period is 2 years beginning with the end of the year of assessment to which the filing notice relates.

Notifying chargeability after withdrawal notice issued

Where the customer has received a withdrawal notice (SEES letter SA832), they will have 6 months from the end of the year of assessment or 30 days, beginning with the day after the day on which the notice was withdrawn, whichever is the later, to notify HMRC that they are chargeable to tax for that year.

If notification is received after the period stated above, it will be a failure to notify case and the customer will be liable to a potential failure to notify penalty under Sch. 41 FA08. Further information regarding this subject can be found in the Compliance Handbook.

Where there is chargeability after a withdrawal notice has been issued, a new notice to file will need to be issued and the SEES letter SA833 will be treated as the notice to file. The customer is given 3 months and 7 days, or the normal filing date, (whichever is the latest) to file the return, however the original due dates for payment will apply under Section 59(B) (4) and the SEES letter SA833 should be treated as a notice to file.

From April 2015, records can be made dormant automatically using function ‘Request removal from SA’ (RRSA). For further information see ‘Automation of dormant records’ SAM101094.

For further information on Dormant Records, and the manual process see SAM101090 onwards.

For information about manual action to take to formally withdraw a notice to file, see ‘Withdrawing a notice to file’ (Action Guide) at SAM120116.

Reactivating the record where Notice to file reissued

For further information on the action to take to reactivate an SA record and reactivate an SA year, see subject ‘Reactivating an SA record’ (Action Guide) (SAM101093) and ‘Reactivating an SA year’ (SAM120120).