Do I have to fill out a self-assessment Return

I was met a new client last week and they didn’t realise that they needed to fill out a self-assessment return

HMRC had not approached them or asked them to submit one. They were completely oblivious to the fact that they should have been completing a return for the last few years.

Not only that in a leaked email a few years back, HMRC has admitted that over 5 million taxpayers may have had their liabilities calculated incorrectly. Despite subsequent adjustments and assessments, and in many cases refunds issued, they may still have paid the wrong amount.

Self-assessment is what it says, you are responsible for determining if you need to file one or not. It is not a good defence to say to HMRC that you were not aware. Ignorance is not a good defence in law.

Generally you will have to fill one out in the following circumstances-

  • You are self-employed, including being a sole trader or in a partnership
  • You are a company director but not in all cases
  • You have rental income
  • You have income from savings, investments or dividends that exceeds a certain amount
  • You have income from overseas that you need to pay tax on
  • You have income from a trust
  • You have capital gains tax to pay
  • You have income that is not taxed at source, such as income from tips, commissions or bonuses
  • You have income from a second job, or receive a pension and have other taxable income
  • You have received income from any other source that is not taxed at source.
  • You are a higher rate taxpayer and your pension contributions are a ‘tax relief at source’ pension scheme rather than a ‘net pay’ arrangement


Best talk to a professional to determine if you need to file one or not



Paul Stankiewicz is the owner and principal at Paul Marks & Co Chartered Accountants which is the trading name of Paul Marks Ltd a Limited Company registered in England and Wales (registered number 4487645).This article is designed for the information of readers only and is the opinion of the author only. Readers should not act on any of the information contained in this article without seeking professional advice. Nothing in this article constitutes advice, nor does the transmission, downloading or sending of any information or the Material create any contractual relationship. Links to third party websites are provided as a convenience to the reader, Paul Marks Ltd does not control and is not responsible for any of those websites or their content. Paul Stankiewicz and Paul Marks Ltd accepts no liability or responsibility whatsoever for any loss or damage suffered by any user of the information contained on or accessed through this article or the Material downloaded.