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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: returns processed at HMRC Netherton: HMRC Netherton: logging returns

Record receipt

On the day a return is received the date of receipt must be stamped on the return. Note: Ensure that the stamp is well clear of the barcode and location markers on the return.

The logging stamp should show

  • Date return received
  • Office name
  • Date return logged
  • Action taken on return

Date of receipt

Any return received after 31 October is late. The legislation applying to returns for 2010-2011 onwards mean that returns received on 1 November will attract a late filing 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 so 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

Where returns are not captured using ADC and are dealt with by OS Netherton, the date of receipt of the majority of signed SA returns should be recorded (logged) using function LOG RETURN.

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 ITSA 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 ITSA returns throughout HMRC.

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.

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, 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.

Note: This automatic recording system will only apply to returns logged manually. For returns captured via ADC, 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.


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

The SA return requires a declaration to be signed by either

  • The taxpayer


  • A person acting in a capacity for the taxpayer (for example, a personal representative of a deceased taxpayer)

If a return is unsigned, it should be reviewed as to whether the return is unsatisfactory in any way, and should be unlogged before being sent back to the taxpayer or agent who submitted it (only to an agent where 64-8 held).

Further details are available at subject ‘HMRC Netherton: Return Is Not Signed’ (SAM127040).

Amending a date of receipt

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