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Do You Need to File a Tax Return?

Use this checklist to help you decide whether you need to file a tax return.

Who Needs to File a Self-Assessment Tax Return?

Here are the most common scenarios where people find themselves needing to register for self-assessment and fill out a tax return.

  • They earn money, either part-time or full time but do not receive a payslip when they are paid;
  • They are employed and self-employed;
  • They are a landlord collecting rent on additional properties;
  • They are employed, receive a payslip, but earn a gross salary of more than £100,000;
  • They are Directors of a Limited Companies whether they own shares, take a salary/dividend or not;
  • They received interest that was untaxed or not taxed at source. In general, interest paid by banks or building societies is paid after deducting tax. But others don’t deduct tax like a National Savings and Investment account. ISAs and Premium Bonds are excluded from tax returns as they are tax-free;
  • They receive dividends from shares;
  • They or their partner has a gross salary of over £50,000 and claim child benefit so need to pay the high-income child benefit charge;
  • They have savings or investment income of £10,000 or more;
  • They need to let HMRC know about a capital gain such as from selling a second property;
  • They completed one in the previous year and HMRC has assumed they should file another one.

Each of these scenarios is based on each tax year. A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April every year.

Who Doesn’t Need to File a Tax Return?

There are certain circumstances that mean someone does not need to submit a self-assessment tax return, here are the most common scenarios:

  • All their income is earned under PAYE and tax is deducted at source;
  • They earn an income of less than £1,000 like from eBay or babysitting, which falls under the rules of the Trading and Property Allowance;
  • They earn interest of up to £1,000 for basic rate taxpayers or £500 for higher rate taxpayers on your savings (Personal savings allowance);
  • They make money from a hobby.

Each of these scenarios is based on each tax year. A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April every year.

Getting Help from HMRC

If you are struggling to decide whether you need to file a tax return or you’ve been asked to complete one but don’t think you need to, then you should start by contacting HMRC on 0300 200 3310.

Will HMRC Tell You If You Need to Do a Tax Return?

No, it’s down to you to decide whether you need to register for self-assessment and file a tax return.

It may seem harsh, but it is impossible to for HMRC to know everyones financial affairs so they place the trust in us to declare untaxed income.

That doesn’t mean you can skip filing a return. The tax-man has ways and means of finding out if you should be filing a tax return but hasn’t done so!

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Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant turned entrepreneur who helps the self-employed gain financial confidence when it comes to running the numbers side of their business and filing tax returns with guides, templates and resources on the Go Self-Employed website.