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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Returns: individuals returns: unsolicited returns: individuals

Unsolicited returns are returns received from taxpayers (or their agents) who have not been required, by the official issue of a return containing a Section 8 / 8A notice, to file a return.

Cases which involve a return for an out of date year

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In the case of a return which involves a nominee identified as a ‘high-risk’ agent

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Cases which involve a return meeting the criteria for referral elsewhere

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All other cases

Where you receive an unsolicited return or information which purports to be a return you should in

  • Employment, pension or social security income cases

    • Consider whether the liability can be dealt with through PAYE. If you think the case is not appropriate to SA you should not set up or re-activate an SA record until you have clarified the position with the taxpayer or agent. Note: If liability is to be dealt with through PAYE, and form P810 has been issued for the year, treat receipt of the return as if it was receipt of form P810 and note the BULK LOGGING TARGETED REVIEW FORMS screen on the PAYE Service that P810 information has been received
  • All other cases (including employment, pension or social security income cases where you think a return is required)

    • Set up an SA record in a new case, or reactivate the record in a dormant case. For information on setting up a taxpayer record see section ‘Set Up Taxpayer’ in business area ‘Records’; for information on re-activating a dormant record see section ‘Maintain Taxpayer Record’ in business area ‘Records’

You should then consider whether there has been a potential Failure to Notify chargeability and if so, use function ADD / AMEND ANNUAL COMPLIANCE DETAILS to set the Mandatory Review signal (category ‘FTN’) on the SA record.

  • If the information received purports to be a return but which is not in the proper form and which lacks a proper declaration you should

    • Write to the taxpayer, (send a copy to the agent where the information has come from the agent) explaining that the information given cannot be treated as constituting a return since it falls short of the requirements

    Note: Where an unsolicited return is signed by someone on behalf of the taxpayer (for example, Power of Attorney), also seek confirmation of authority if there are any doubts

    • Enclose an official return for completion

    And

    • Record the date of issue of the return using function RECORD DATE OF CLERICAL ISSUE. The date recorded should be the same as the date on your letter
  • If the unsolicited return is in the proper form, you should log the return to record the date of receipt.

You must then write to the taxpayer (see SAM121141 for suggested wording), sending a copy to the agent where the return has been sent in by an agent, to

  • Acknowledge receipt of the return

Note: Where an unsolicited return is signed by someone on behalf of the taxpayer (for example, Power of Attorney), also seek confirmation of authority if there are any doubts. In this instance, say that all we are doing is seeking to establish whether this is a valid return and are not giving notice of intention to enquire into the return

  • Advise the taxpayer that you will treat the return for all purposes as if it were in response to a notice to make a return by the date we received it

You should treat the return as having a filing date of 31 October or, where received after 31 October following the end of the tax year, the same as the date it was received.

Note: If you receive any objection to the intended action you have no alternative but to unlog the unsolicited return and issue a formal return containing a Section 8 / 8A notice.

You should then capture the return.

If the return is received after 31 January, notify the Review Interest Network Officer (RINO) that the relevant date for payments (balancing charge and payments on account), and the late payment penalty trigger date for tax years 2010-2011 onwards (surcharge trigger date for tax years 2009-2010 and earlier), should be deferred. This is because deferring the relevant date for payment will prevent interest being charged from the original due date. However, it will not prevent a late payment penalty being charged for tax years 2010-2011 onwards (surcharge for tax years 2009-2010 and earlier). You should defer the late payment penalty trigger date to 30 days after the deferred relevant date (28 days for surcharges for years 2009-2010 and earlier). As there is no computer functionality for this purpose, you must use the Time To Pay (TTP) functionality and set the TTP start and end dates accordingly.

If Failure to Notify applies, the due date for payment will remain as 31 January and payments on account for the following year will also remain as 31 January.

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Last date for S9A enquiry

As the return is treated as due on the date HMRC received it, the last date for enquiry into the return is the end of the 12 month period commencing on the day the return was delivered.

For example

Return received                   21 November 2014
   
12 months period commences 21 November 2014
12 month period end                   21 November 2015
Last date for enquiry             21 November 2015

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