HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

SAM127080 - Returns: returns processed by EDM scanning facility: unsatisfactory returns

A submitted Short Tax Return (SA200) must be on the HMRC paper form and be signed by the correct person, including a person acting in any capacity.

The SA200 must not include turnover of £85,000 or more from self employment or £85,000 or more from UK property.

In all cases where it is considered that a return is unsatisfactory because of the turnover figure

  • No repairs should be made and the form should be sent back without any amendment. If it does not satisfy the requirements then it is not a return and we can only correct a return
  • A Main Tax Return (SA100) is required and should be issued to the taxpayer, together with supplementary pages as necessary (Self Employment and / or UK Property)

An unsatisfactory return must be rejected and sent back to the taxpayer 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: Where it is not possible to tell who submitted the return in a case where an agent is acting, it should be sent back to the taxpayer as it is their ultimate responsibility to ensure that a satisfactory return is submitted.

Returns received on or before the paper return due date, which are sent back on or after 10 October (or in the corresponding period up to any other filing date), that are identified as unsatisfactory, should be unlogged before being sent back for completion by the taxpayer.


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, since 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


All returns that are rejected must be accompanied by


  • Form SA602 (or SA602A in manually amended return cases), SA603, SA604 or SA605
  • A locally produced letter where there are several reasons for rejection and the SEES letters are not appropriate or where turnover is too high for completion of a Short Tax Return, explaining why it is being sent back

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.