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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: partnership returns: unsatisfactory partnership returns


The return must 

  • Be electronically filed, or be on the HMRC paper form, or be a computer generated version which is identical to the official HMRC form.
  • Be signed by the correct person at box 11.3, including a person acting in any capacity. This includes where signature on a partnership return is illegible and the signatory has not printed their name below the signature
  • Include all supplementary pages indicated on the return as being necessary.
    Note: A spreadsheet, table or list providing details which should be on separate supplementary pages (multiple trades or accounting periods) is not acceptable
  • Include details in all boxes which should have been completed on the return, unless the information is enclosed with the return, in which case you can capture the information into the correct boxes
  • Include the partner’s name in box 6, and Unique Taxpayer Reference in box 8 of the Individual partner details on the Partnership Statement. Note: Further information is also available for returns where ‘mandatory boxes’ have not been completed in subject ‘Mandatory Boxes: Partnerships’ (SAM122110).
  • Not include entries

    • ‘Per attached’, and the information cannot be easily identified from the details supplied. Note: A spreadsheet, table or list providing details which should be on separate supplementary pages (multiple trades, partnerships, accounting periods) is not acceptable
    • ‘To follow’, which indicates that required information has not been filed
    • ‘Per enclosed accounts’, and the SAI has not been completed correctly

    Note: Further information is available in subject ‘SAI: Completion of Partnership Return’ (SAM122130) for returns which should contain SAI but either no SAI is included or only minimal details are returned.

An unsatisfactory return is a return that fails to satisfy the filing requirement of Section 12AA TMA1970 as stated in the ‘Notice to File’.

Section 12AA TMA1970 requires that returns provide information reasonably required for the purpose of establishing the amounts in which a partner is chargeable.


The exception to these general rules is

  • The omission of information in support of a Tax Credit Relief claim on the Foreign Income pages. This will not make a return unsatisfactory if

    • Liverpool Large Business Office has agreed the omission with the partnership


    • The entry is supported by a claim to partial exemption from UK tax on income by a dual resident

All cases

All returns should be reviewed upon receipt to identify if they are unsatisfactory and if so, they should not be logged. Where it is considered an unsatisfactory return has been received, it should be reviewed for the next appropriate action by an experienced officer.

If, following the review, it is considered that the return could in fact be treated as satisfactory, the experienced officer should

  • Log the return
  • Identify all omissions and errors
  • Obtain all information possible from the return and enclosures and, where the information can be easily identified, make repairs to the return entries

If, following the review, the return is still considered as unsatisfactory, no repairs of obvious errors should be made, and the form should be sent back without any amendment (with any relevant missing supplementary page for completion where applicable). If it does not satisfy the requirements then it is not a return and we can only correct a return.

An unsatisfactory return must be rejected and sent back to the nominated partner, see subject ‘Maintain Taxpayer Record: Nominated Partner’ (SAM101290) or agent who submitted it (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.

Note: 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 partnership as it is their ultimate responsibility to ensure that a satisfactory return is submitted.

Unsatisfactory returns received before the filing date and which are being sent back within 21 days before 31 October (or within 21 days of any other filing date), which were logged and which are now considered unsatisfactory should be handled in accordance with the Action Guide at SAM122161.


1. Unsatisfactory 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. Where the return has been received prior to the filing date but is being returned as unsatisfactory within21 days before the filing date, a period of 21 days is given to allow a satisfactory return to be submitted. 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

All returns that are rejected must be accompanied by SEES letter SA770 explaining why it is being sent back. The letter should suitably amended according to the date the return was received and when it is being sent back. Where an agent is acting, send SEES letter SA606 to the agent with a copy of the SEES letter SA770.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

For the avoidance of doubt the 21 day period of grace, or longer where allowed, only applies where the return is unsatisfactory as a result of a genuine oversight. It does not apply where the return is deliberately unsatisfactory, in an attempt to take advantage of the period of grace. For example, the 21 days, or longer where allowed, do not apply if a return is deliberately sent in without a relevant set of pages, to buy a little more time to complete those pages. Nor does it apply if a return is deliberately sent in without a signature, to buy a little more time to obtain the signature. If you come across a case where an unsatisfactory return is sent in several years running, refer it to an experienced officer to decide whether the 21 day period of grace, or longer where allowed, can be given or not.

Note: A partnership with a turnover of £15 million or more or a CT partnership is not required to complete the SAI boxes in the partnership return, but must instead file its accounts and computations.