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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: partnership returns: logging partnership returns

On the day a return is received the date of receipt must be stamped on the return. Ensure that the stamp is well clear of the barcode to prevent problems with barcode reading.

The return must

  • Be electronically filed, or be on the official HMRC paper form for the correct year, or be a computer generated version which is identical to the official HMRC form for the correct year
  • Be signed by the correct person, including a person acting in any capacity
  • Include all supplementary pages indicated on the return as being necessary. A spreadsheet, table or list providing details which should be on separate supplementary pages (multiple trades or accounting periods) is not acceptable

The rest of this subject is presented as follows

Date of receipt

Any return delivered after 31 October is late. The legislation applying to returns for tax years 2010-2011 onwards means that returns received on 1 November will attract a late failing penalty. The previous practice based on the Special Commissioners’ decision in the case of Steeden v Carver (Sp C 212) no longer applies. However, we do not know if a return was delivered on time if delivered by hand and found in an HMRC post box on 1 November. Therefore, as the date of delivery is uncertain, a return found in a tax office post box before 7:30am on 1 November should be treated as put in the post box before midnight on 31 October.


1. Any returns received on 31 October, and any returns placed in the office post box before 7:30am on 1 November, should be date stamped and logged as received on 31 October.
2. Any returns received on 1 November, and any returns placed in the office post box before 7:30am on 2 November, should be date stamped and logged as received on 1 November.
3. Any returns received on 2 November, including those placed in the office post box after 7:30am, should be date stamped and logged as received on 2 November.

Logging and automatic recording of batch numbers

Note: References to SA returns include any accounts, statements or documents accompanying the return, that is any material that is sent in support of a return (see Section 29 TMA 1970 and EM3261). Such material may be submitted up to a month after the original return is submitted and should be linked with the return as soon as possible.

You should record (log) the date of receipt of the majority of signed SA returns using function LOG RETURN.

Incorrect UTRs may be entered on partnership returns, for example where a partner’s return is submitted timeously and logged correctly but bears the incorrect partner’s or partnership UTR. In such cases it is possible that incorrect penalties could be issued. In future any manual logging of partnership returns, or individual returns with partnership pages, should only be undertaken after function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY has been used to identify that no previous return has been logged against the UTR. In any case where function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY indicates that a return has already been logged, that return should be retrieved in order that the position can be reviewed and both returns logged accurately.

Where bar code reading equipment is available this should be used to log returns because it is quick and accurate. When using bar code reading equipment, take care if the name on the front of the return has been changed, check the pre-printed reference correctly applies to the partnership.

When entering the date of receipt in function LOG RETURN, each return within the batch being logged will be given a Return Batch Identifier (SAM121065). Batching is the process of collecting and logging together a number of SA returns (normally 50), allocating a sequential number to that group of returns, and using this number (Return Batch Identifier) as the reference for storage. This is to ensure a uniform and standard approach towards storing and retrieving SA returns throughout the Inland Revenue.

Further information on batching and storing of returns is available in subject ‘Storing Partnership Returns’ (SAM122080).

Each return should be noted prominently on the front with the Return Batch Identifier. This will be automatically recorded on function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY for each return after logging of the batch has been completed.

Where several years’ returns are submitted together, they should be worked at the same time and they should be placed in the same batch. The same Return Batch Identifier will be shown on MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY for each return year.

Batches containing several years’ returns submitted at the same time should be given priority when processing. Note that earlier year returns are still subject to post monitoring deadlines and so all returns, including the current year return, should be worked within that deadline.

Returns should be logged as ‘Home’ returns, and captured in the receiving office.

The only exception to this is if the case is PD1, High Net Worth Unit, Expat or CAR. These should be logged as ‘Away’ returns and redirected immediately to the owning office.

Where it is considered necessary to interrogate the ITSA system to establish the office with processing responsibility you should always use function MAINTAIN RESPONSIBLE OFFICE in preference to any other. The use of function VIEW CASE SUMMARY for this purpose should be avoided as it has a particularly demanding impact on the SA computer system.

‘Away’ returns, particularly those relating to CPR or EXPAT Teams, should be logged and the batch number recorded automatically, then forwarded on to the appropriate office with processing responsibility as soon as possible. The return should be replaced within the batch with a stencil showing relevant details.

Notes: Multiple Logging 

1. When an office receives a return that has been logged by another office, they can re-log it using their own batch identifier and the new date of receipt (this will not result in a Work List entry unless an earlier date than the original log is used). The taxpayer record will be automatically updated with the new batch identifier but the original date of receipt will not be overwritten
2. A batch identifier history, available within function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY from April 2007, will display the previous logging / location details of a return. On each occasion that a return is logged function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY will be automatically updated. A [Batch History] button will be available where a return for the selected year has been logged on more than one occasion. If this button is selected, a new screen will display any previous return batch identifier, and the associated date, for the return for the year selected. However, only the latest 10 return batch identifiers will be stored; where a return is logged on more than 10 occasions, the oldest identifier will be removed from the display
3. Where the case has already been captured, the batch identifier will not be automatically updated, the return should be included in a batch in the new office (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .

Returns received other than through normal routes, for example attached to post and not initially identified, should be incorporated into the new process. Where significant numbers are likely to arise from a single point of entry, they should be accumulated and passed to the logging team manager on a daily basis. In all other cases, any return identified should be passed or sent directly to the logging team manager as soon as it is identified, with a note attached that clearly indicates it has not yet been logged.

An Interim Logging process can be undertaken in certain circumstances and at certain times, for example around the October filing peak. If it becomes clear that full logging of returns will not be possible within 5 days, the full range of pre-logging checks need not be completed. Once you have removed those where no SA reference is shown, the remaining returns should be collected into batches of 50 then logged and batched with an appropriate Return Batch Identifier including the batch number ‘INT’. Full pre-logging checks should be undertaken as soon as possible after logging and the appropriate action taken. Note: This will cause additional work overall and this contingency should be avoided wherever possible.

This automatic recording system will only apply to returns logged manually. For Internet or ADC returns, the Return Batch Identifier field on function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY will remain blank. The Summary will already show the method of capture as an indicator.


Before a partnership return is logged it should be checked to ensure that the declaration is completed and signed and that the signatory has printed their name below the signature. The partnership return requires a declaration to be signed by

  • The partner named on the front of the return, or
  • The partner nominated by the other partners, (for example, is a named Partner in the Partnership Return), see subject ‘Maintain Taxpayer Record: Nominated Partner’ , (SAM101290), or
  • The manager of a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, or the member to whom the return is addressed for other EEIGs

Note: A photocopy or fax of a signature is not acceptable and a name that is printed is not an acceptable signature.

If a return is unsigned or the signature is illegible and the signatory has not printed their name below the signature, it should be unlogged and you should try to identify any other missing items before sending the return back to the nominated partner or agent (only to an agent where 64-8 held). Where an agent is acting, a letter should also be issued to the other party notifying them of the action taken.

If, in a case where an agent is acting, it is not possible to tell who submitted the return, it should be sent back to the nominated partner as it is their ultimate responsibility to ensure that the declaration is completed and signed.

If an unsigned return is received before the filing date and you are returning it within the 21 day period before the filing date, you should make sure the return is unlogged before sending it back for signature, enclosing letter SA604.

More information about unsatisfactory returns is available in subject ‘Unsatisfactory Partnership Returns’ (SAM122160).


1. Unsigned returns received on 1 November should not be treated in the same way as those received in the period 10 to 31 October. This is to correspond with the fact that, from October 2011, a return received on that date is considered to be late and will attract a penalty
2. A period longer than 21 days should be allowed in certain exceptional circumstances, for example overseas addresses or UK geographical areas where there are known longer postal times

Keeping records of returns sent back

As returns which are unsatisfactory will be unlogged before they are returned to the customer, there is no need to keep a record of these cases for later review.

Logging returns after fixed penalty imposed

Exceptionally you may want to log a return as received on the filing date, or earlier, after the automatic process to impose a fixed penalty has taken place. You should bear in mind that a penalty will have been imposed inappropriately and action as follows

  • Before logging the return, you should cancel the fixed penalty


  • After logging the return, you should explain your action to the person who submitted the return

Urgent capture cases

Where you identify any return which has been requested for urgent capture, or where the Enforcement Case signal is set on the record, arrange for immediate capture of the return as a priority.


Where the computer cannot find a partnership record for the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) entered it will reject the logging date and produce a paper report LDC RETURNS - LOGGING FAILURES - NO RECORD FOUND. On receipt of the report the return should be correctly logged using function LOG RETURN.

Unsolicited returns

If, exceptionally, a return has been received but there is no SA record held, if it belongs to your office, see subject ‘Unsolicited Returns: Partnerships’ (SAM122090). If the return is in the proper form, go to step 5 of the Action Guide on this subject (SAM122091).

If it belongs to an away office, it should be clearly date stamped and forwarded immediately to that office using Tax Post Direct. This will be the only circumstance when a return is received and forwarded without being logged.

Where an SA record is held for the UTR shown but function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY does not show ‘Issued’ for the return year (as indicated by function LOG RETURN), if it belongs to your office, go to step 20 of the Action Guide on this subject.

If it belongs to an ‘away’ office, it should be clearly date stamped and forwarded immediately to that office using Tax Post Direct.

If you do not log a return

If you do not log a return it can still be captured, but

  • The partnership record will show the return as outstanding until return details have been entered (captured)
  • The date of receipt will be taken to be the date return capture was started
  • The time limit for repairing an error or mistake (nine months from the date of receipt) may be measured incorrectly
  • A penalty for failure to make a return on time may be charged incorrectly

Amending a date of receipt

You can amend the date of receipt if it should be earlier than the date used when logging, by using function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY.

Blank returns

There will be occasions when a return is received that is blank and unsigned. Blank returns that are unsigned may be logged if they were issued in error, for example where

  • The partnership was issued with two returns from two separate SA records and is to complete the other one


  • Where information was held by the Department at the time the return was issued that the partnership did not meet the SA criteria

Where the return was not issued in error the return should be sent back with the appropriate letter asking for signature.