Who must send a tax return
The tax year is from 6 April to 5 April the following year.
You’ll need to send a tax return if, in the last tax year:
- your income from self-employment was more than £1,000 - this is your ‘trading allowance’
- you got more than £2,500 from renting out property - contact the helpline if it was between £1,000 and £2,500
- you got more than £2,500 in other untaxed income, for example from tips or commission
- your income from savings or investments was £10,000 or more before tax
- your income from dividends from shares was £10,000 or more before tax - tell HMRC if it was over your dividends allowance
- you made profits from selling things like shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax
- you were a company director - unless it was for a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) and you didn’t get any pay or benefits, like a company car
- your income (or your partner’s) was over £50,000 and one of you claimed Child Benefit
- you had income from abroad that you needed to pay tax on
- you lived abroad and had a UK income
- your taxable income was over £100,000
- you were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
- you had a P800 from HMRC saying you didn’t pay enough tax last year - and you didn’t pay what you owe through your tax code or with a voluntary payment
- your State Pension was more than your Personal Allowance and was your only source of income - unless you started getting your pension on or after 6 April 2016
You also need to send a tax return if you:
- need to prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare
- want to make voluntary Class 2 National Insurance payments to help you qualify for benefits
Certain other people may need to send a return (for example religious ministers or Lloyd’s underwriters) - you can check whether you need to. You usually won’t need to send a return if your only income is from your wages or pension.
If you’ve been told to send a return
If you get an email or letter from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) telling you to send a return but you don’t think you need to, check if you need to send a return.
If you don’t need to send a return, you must tell HMRC either:
You may have to pay a penalty if you don’t tell HMRC.
You must also tell HMRC if you’ve stopped being self-employed.
Claiming tax relief
Fill in a tax return to claim money back from HMRC for:
- donations to charity
- private pension contributions as a higher or additional rate taxpayer, or if your scheme isn’t set up for automatic tax relief
- work expenses over £2,500 - if they’re less and you don’t need to send a return for any other reason, contact the helpline instead
Registering for Self Assessment
You need to register if you didn’t send a tax return last year. There are different ways to register if you’re:
If you’re new to Self Assessment, you’ll need to keep records (for example bank statements or receipts) so you can fill in your tax return correctly.