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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Amend payment: trace payment: locate SA payment using SA trace function

A payment received without a payslip or without any indication of the target liability will be allocated first to any pre-SA arrears. Therefore, where a payment cannot be located on the SA record it may have been set against another liability.

If you have been unable to locate the payment use one of the two SA functions below to trace the payment.

Using an SA function

The two SA functions available for tracing payments are

  • TRACE NON-CHEQUE PAYMENT (used for all types of non-cheque payments (SAM3040) except cash and Postal Order)

To trace a payment select the function appropriate to the type of payment you are trying to trace and enter the search criteria requested on screen A.

If you are tracing a cheque payment you should enter the cheque data if you have the full details. You can enter a start date for the search in place of the cheque number. For non-cheque payments, you must specify the payment type, amount, the Banking Operations Accounts Office that processed the payment and a start date.

Payment type

You can choose one of four payment types that are displayed in a drop down menu. The payment types displayed are

  • BACS (see note 1)
  • Bank Giro (Paper) (see note 2)
  • Bank Giro (Tape)
  • Girobank


1. You should also choose this payment type if the payment you are searching for is a Direct Debit.
2. You should also choose this payment type if the payment you are searching for is a CHAPS, Paymaster or any other credit direct to a Banking Operations bank account.

Where you enter a search start date you also have the option of entering an end date. The end date cannot be

  • More than 7 calendar days ahead of the start date
  • Later than ‘today’ minus 1 working day

If an end date is not entered the system will search up to 7 days ahead of the start date but not beyond ‘today’ minus 2 working days.

Where an attempt to locate a payment fails

  • Try varying the start date of the search or use a start date in place of the cheque number
  • In the case of a non-cheque payment if you are still unsuccessful repeat the attempt after changing the Banking Operations office identifier to the other Banking Operations office
  • In the case of a Lloyds cheque where you have keyed a 7-digit bank account number with a leading zero and have been unsuccessful in finding a match, repeat the attempt, but this time omit the leading zero

Viewing a matched SA payment

Where you succeed in tracing a payment and locate only one payment posting you are automatically taken to function VIEW PAYMENT DETAILS

  • Screen B in the case of a cheque payment
  • Screen D or E in the case of a non-cheque payment

If the search locates more than one payment a list of matching payment postings is displayed on screen B of the TRACE function you are using. You can select any payment on the list and view the selected payment using function VIEW PAYMENT DETAILS.

Up to 150 matching payments can be displayed and if there are more, a message advises you that there are more matched postings that cannot be displayed. In this situation you should use the start and end date fields to limit the period searched by the function and so reduce the number of matched payments.

Note: The SA trace functions cannot trace any payment processed by Banking Operations ‘today’ or on the previous working day, a Miscellaneous Charges Unit payment or a payment transferred to SA from OAS.