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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: individuals returns: returns for out of date years: individuals

Before 1 April 2010 we could not ask a taxpayer to make a self assessment after the relevant 31 January which was 5 years after the end of the tax year. The normal time limit for making assessments changed on 1 April 2010 to 4 years from the end of the tax year. The new time limit applies to all taxpayers after 1 April 2012.

Note: See Note 2 below if a Determination has already been made as different time limits may apply.

Note: Where the year of death falls in an ‘out of date’ year, you should not issue a return as no action can be taken to either collect or repay tax for that year. Where the year of death is an in-date year, but there are outstanding out of date returns, do not reissue the return(s). For further information regarding deceased cases see subject ‘Deceased cases’ at SAM90010.

Therefore, we will accept a late Self assessment for any year, from 1996-97 onwards, where it meets the following criteria

  • A return has been requested by issue of a notice under S8TMA 1970
  • No determination has been raised for the year of return
  • It is an original return and NOT an amendment

For further information on how to deal with these cases, follow the Action Guide (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .

However, there will be cases where, for previous years, a return or Notice to file a return, has been issued, and we agreed informally that for tax years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, the return was no longer required, and for tax years 2012-2013 onwards, we formally withdrew the Notice to file. Note: For tax years up to, and including, 2010-2011 the customer had to file the return.

As a nil charge was recorded for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 tax years, the out of date return will be classed as an amendment to the charge recorded, and for years where the Notice to file was withdrawn, it will be classed as an unsolicited return.

1 April 2010 onwards - Issue of returns and time limit for self-assessment - Return brings tax into charge

Return year Issue return / notice no later than Time limit for self assessment
2014-2015 23 December 2018 5 April 2019
2015-2016 23 December 2019 5 April 2020
2016-2017 23 December 2020 5 April 2021
2017-2018 23 December 2021 5 April 2022

A change in law in 2016 to introduce new section 34A TMA 1970 which will set out the time limits for self assessments solely. This will state that individuals have 4 years from the end of the tax year to submit a tax return when they have been served a notice to do so by HMRC. It will make clear this will not apply when other statutory time limits apply.

The guidance given to the SA processing office indicates that no out of date returns will be processed.

Return for out of date year not captured by relevant 5 April

The action required where returns for out of date years have not been captured in LDC by the relevant 5th April is as follows, and you must record all the actions you take by selecting the SA Note (Individual return for out of date year (xxxx) (details of action taken)) from the SEES Notes Paster.

If the return was received within the relevant time limit for self assessment identified above as appropriate or, if later, the relevant time limit for superseding a Determination (see Notes: below)

  • Use function CREATE RETURN CHARGE to record the return charge

Note: In these cases, corrections should not be made using S9ZB TMA 1970

Note: If there is an amount pre-populated in the ‘Outstanding debt included in your tax code field’ within CREATE RETURN CHARGE, you should use the SEES calculator to calculate the figures required. If you are unable to use the SEES calculator, you must reduce any PAYE tax included in the tax deducted at source figure, by the amount of the debt coded, before entering in function Create Return Charge.


1. In all circumstances the Revenue Determination constitutes the self assessment and creates the Payment on Account for the subsequent year
2. A Revenue Determination can only be replaced by an actual self assessment made within three years of the filing date for the return, or if later, within 12 months of the date of the Revenue Determination. Further information is available in the Debt Management and Banking Manual, under subject ‘SA debt and return pursuit: Revenue Determinations: Time limits for a return to supersede a determination’ (DMBM518010).