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Because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can impose penalties when you need to send a tax return but miss the deadline, it is important to be aware of situations where a return is needed. We share below common scenarios where you will need to complete a return.

You must always submit a tax return to HMRC if you are self-employed – or are employed and may have self-employed earnings – and you earned more than £1,000 or if you are a partner in a business partnership.

You may also need to submit a self-assessment tax return to HMRC if you have made capital gains or have untaxed income, such as:

  • money from renting out a property
  • income from savings, investments and dividends
  • foreign income

If your earnings from the above sources fall below certain limits, you may not need to complete a return. However, the income may still be subject to tax. A good rule of thumb is that unless the income is tax free, is covered by your tax allowances or tax has been collected through your PAYE code, a tax return is normally required.

You should always check the position and if you are in doubt, HMRC provides an easy-to-use online tool to confirm if a return is needed.

Higher earners in receipt of child benefit

If your income is over £50,000 and either you or your partner get Child Benefit, HMRC will require you to complete a tax return to pay a tax charge, known as the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’.

Landlords with rental income

Most landlords who receive rental income will need to complete a return.

For landlords with undeclared rental income, it is important to address this sooner rather than later. The good news is HMRC has a special Let Property Campaign for landlords who are behind with their tax returns.

By making a voluntary disclosure, you can usually expect a lower penalty than HMRC would normally charge and obtain the best possible terms.

Landlords also need to bear in mind that since 6th April 2020, where Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is due on the disposal of a UK residential property, the deadline for submitting a return and paying the tax is reduced to 30 days from the date of completion of the sale.

CGT is a complex tax with many reporting and payment deadlines, as well as potential reliefs that could lead to sizeable savings. It’s therefore important that you seek professional advice.

This above list is not exhaustive, but it will hopefully give you an idea of the sort of things that can trigger the need for a tax return.

Need help filing your self-assessment tax return?

If you are having to complete a tax return for the first time and don’t know where to start, we can help. TaxAssist Accountants offers a great range of tax advice for tax payers, business owners and landlords and we are well-versed in assisting with tax returns, Let Property Campaign disclosures and CGT returns. There may also be situations where you are not getting reliefs against tax that you are entitled to, so if you are a higher rate taxpayer and pay into a private pension or make gift aid payments, we can help ensure all reliefs are claimed.

To arrange a free initial consultation about our services , call our team today on 0800 0523 555 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form.

Date published 27 Sep 2021 | Last updated 18 Nov 2021

This article is intended to inform rather than advise and is based on legislation and practice at the time. Taxpayer’s circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this article, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.


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