Oct 12

Do you need to complete a tax return?

The most common reasons for needing to fill in a tax return are listed below.

If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) asks you to complete a tax return for any other reason (this will normally to be to make sure that you’re paying the right tax and getting the right allowances) you must always do so.

You’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed (including being a member of a partnership) you always have to complete a return.

Company directors, ministers, Lloyd’s names or members

You must complete a return if you’re any of the following:

  • a company director (unless you’re a director of a non-profit organisation, for example a charity, and don’t receive any payments or benefits)
  • a minister of religion (any faith)
  • a name or member of Lloyd’s

Income above a certain level from savings, investment or property

If you don’t already complete a tax return, you’ll need to do so if you receive any of the following:

  • £10,000 or more income from savings and investments
  • £2,500 or more income from untaxed savings and investments
  • £10,000 or more income from property (before deducting allowable expenses)
  • £2,500 or more income from property (after deducting allowable expenses)
  • annual trust or settlement income on which tax is still due (even if you’re only treated as receiving this income)
  • income from the estate of a deceased person on which tax is still due

You’re 65 and receive a reduced age-related allowance

If you receive a reduced age-related allowance because you’re 65 but your income is over a certain level (£24,000 for the 2011-12 tax year), you’ll need to complete a tax return. But there are exceptions, for example if your tax affairs are very straightforward. Contact the Self Assessment Helpline if you think that this applies.

Contact the Self Assessment Helpline

Income from overseas

You must complete a tax return if you have any foreign income that’s liable to UK tax.

Find out more about tax on foreign savings and investments

Your annual income is £100,000 or more

If you receive total income of £100,000 or more you’ll need to complete a tax return. You may have higher or additional rate tax to pay that hasn’t been collected through your tax code.

Find out more about how much Income Tax you pay

You need to claim certain expenses or reliefs

If you’re employed and want to claim for expenses or professional subscriptions of £2,500 or more, you’ll need to complete a tax return. You can just write to HMRC, with full details, if you want to claim expenses below this amount.

Some less common reliefs, such as Enterprise Investment Scheme relief or relief on Venture Capital Trusts, can only be claimed by completing a tax return.

You owe tax and HMRC can’t collect it through your tax code, or you prefer to pay direct

If you pay tax through PAYE and owe tax at the end of the year, you’ll need a return if either of the following applies:

  • HMRC can’t collect the tax due by making a change to your tax code (they’ll tell you if this is the case)
  • you don’t want to pay the tax through your tax code – you prefer to make a direct payment instead

You have Capital Gains Tax to pay

If you have Capital Gains Tax to pay, for example you’ve sold, given away or otherwise disposed of an asset such as a holiday home or shares, you’ll need to complete a tax return and the Capital Gains Tax pages.

Find out more about tax returns and Capital Gains Tax

You’ve lived or worked abroad or aren’t domiciled in the UK

You may need to complete a tax return if you’re:

  • not resident
  • not ordinarily resident
  • not domiciled in the UK and claim the ‘remittance basis’
  • dual resident of the UK and another country

Residency is a complex issue, you can find out more about your residency status, the remittance basis and what to do next by downloading the guide below.

Download a guide on residency, domicile and the remittance basis (PDF 752K)

You’re a trustee

You’ll need a tax return if you’re a:

  • trustee or personal representative (including someone who manages the tax affairs of a deceased person)
  • trustee of certain pension schemes

Find out more about tax returns for trustees

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