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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Digital services: digital outputs

In order to encourage more digital interaction, HMRC are sending additional digital correspondence such as e-mail reminders, to customers who have ‘opted in’ and have supplied their e-mail address.

To enable customers to verify that the e-mail is genuine, HMRC e-mails will include the departmental logo and the customer’s full name, and only contain a general reminder to take action, for example, file a return or pay an outstanding amount of tax, or a notification about a change or event, for example, that a payment has been made. The customer would then access his online account to obtain more detail.

E-mails from HMRC will never contain

  • Financial information such as details of outstanding payments or tax refunds
  • Active links to the customers accounts, log-on pages or i-forms
  • Active links to sites outside HMRC or
  • Any attachments

When digital outputs have been issued, the customers’ record will show, for example, that a statement has been issued, but will not show whether the statement has been issued on paper or digitally.

The table below shows when outputs became available digitally


Date Form Form number
June 2014 Statements SA300
30 July 2014 Exit letter SA251
01 September 2014 Repayment notification R1000(CS)
3 December 2014 Notice to complete a tax return SA316
3 December 2014 Reminder to file a tax return/pay outstanding tax SA309A, SA309C
14 February 2015 Strongly worded reminder SA359
18 February 2015 Penalty letters SA326D, SA328D, SA370, SA372-30, SA372-60

Note: In December 2014, no paper reminders to file or pay outstanding tax (forms SA309A, SA309C and SA309E) were issued. Customers who had ‘opted-in’ received digital reminders and additionally, e-mail reminders were issued to unrepresented customers who had filed previous returns online.

Non-delivery of digital output

Where a customer has opted for paperless contact, HMRC will deliver the relevant document, or `Notice to file a tax return’, digitally to their secure mailbox in their Online account and, at the same time, an e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address the customer provided, to advise the customer to check their mailbox for new messages.

If the e-mail is not delivered successfully, Online Services will be notified and will re-send it. If it fails for a second time, the customer will automatically be de-registered from paperless contact and any future letters or `Notices’ will be issued on paper.

In such cases, the original SA316 (Notice to file a tax return) sent to the customers secure account, is deemed as ‘undelivered’ and SEES letter SA3 (which advises the customer that they have been de-registered from digital contact) will be issued together with a paper SA316 (Notice to file a tax return), using function RECORD DATE OF CLERICAL ISSUE, to show

  • The date action is being taken
  • That it is a ‘Not Failure to Notify’ case


  • The tax year involved

Where the digital output was a SA316 (Notice to file a return) an SA Note will also be made which says ‘Digital SA316 returned as undelivered. SA3 and SA316 issued’. The customer will then be given 7 days and 3 months from the date of that action to file the return.

If the customer subsequently re-registers for digital contact and provides an up-to-date e-mail address, digital communications will recommence.

Note: Digital notices, including a Notice to file a tax return, are deemed to have been delivered when HMRC has sent an e-mail message to the customer, and posted the digital information to the customers secure mailbox, and HMRC knows, and can prove, the e-mail has not ‘bounced’. The customer does not have to have read the e-mail message and/or the digital content for it to have been `delivered’.