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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: trust returns: logging trust 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 HMRC paper form, or be a computer generated version which is identical to the official HMRC form
  • 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 partnerships) is not acceptable

The remainder of this subject is presented as follows

Date of receipt

Following the Commissioners’ decision in the case of Steeden v Carver (Sp C 212), a tax return filed on 1 November, although late, does not attract a penalty. A return found in a tax office post box before 7:30am on 2 November should be treated as put in the post box before midnight on 1 November.


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.

The exception to logging returns on receipt is where returns relate to a part year for the current year. These returns should not be logged and batched in the normal way. In such cases you should record in SA Notes the details of date of receipt, location in post sub-folder, and so on. For more information see section ‘Part Year Trust Returns for the Current Tax Year’ (SAM123050).

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 taxpayer.

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 Trust Returns’ (SAM123120).

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 any repayment cases or 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.

The term ‘Home return’ relates to any return for which processing responsibility sits with any location in the Area in which the return is first received.

The term ‘Away return’ relates to any return for which the processing responsibility sits with any Area other than that in which the return is first received.

Where it is considered necessary to interrogate the SA 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 received through IREC or 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 (an IREC), 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.


The SA Trust and Estate return requires a declaration to be signed by either

  • The trustee in a trust


  • A person acting in capacity for the taxpayer (for example, an executor / administrator of a deceased taxpayer)

The SA Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes must be signed by a trustee of the scheme.

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

Normally before an SA return is logged it should be checked to ensure that the declaration is completed and signed.

If a return is unsigned, it should be unlogged and you should try to identify any other missing items before sending the return back to the trustee 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.

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 trustee 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 14 day period before the filing date, you should make sure the return is unlogged before returning it for signature enclosing letter SA604.


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. 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 using function AMEND FIXED PENALTIES


  • After logging the return, you should explain your action to the trustee

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.

Bare trust cases

During conversion of the CODA records, an SA record will have been created for bare trust cases and returns will have been issued to them. Exceptionally where the trustee(s) has / have notified you of their intention to make a return under Section 59 ICTA 1988, the return should be logged and the liability should be calculated as normal. In all other bare trust cases these returns must still be logged to avoid any penalties being charged at a later date and then

  • Function CREATE RETURN CHARGE should be used to create a charge for the year of zero


  • The trust SA record should be made dormant


Where the computer cannot find a taxpayer 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 list, if the UTR has been incorrectly keyed in, use function LOG RETURN to log the return correctly.

Unsolicited returns

Where exceptionally a return has been received but there is no SA record held, (an unsolicited return)

  • If it belongs to your office, see subject ‘Unsolicited Returns: Trusts’ (SAM123140). If the return is in the proper form, go to step 5 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. 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 21 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 taxpayer record will show the return as outstanding until it is logged
  • 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 where they were issued in error, for example where the Trust was wound up before the beginning of the return year. Where the return was not issued in error the return should be sent back with a letter asking for signature.