Who needs to complete a personal tax return?

Posted on Posted by Malcolm Swallow

Quite a lot of people really:

  • Company directors per se;

  • Anyone regularly paying higher rate tax;

  • Anyone who receives significant un-taxed income;

  • Perhaps you are self-employed, even a little bit;

  • If you have property interests;

  • Maybe you have overseas income to tell HMRC about;

  • You make capital gains;

  • Anyone who is asked to by HMRC - this is non negotiable. If they ask you mustrespond even if you have no UK income whatsoever, or pay a fine. They have no facility for un-asking for a return at all.


For more information:




And even more helpfully:

Every partner of a partnership incurs this fine. So a typical firm of solicitors with say 5 partners misses the deadline by a week, but has paid all its tax by 31.1.18, still gets clobbered with £500 smackers just for being a few days late, it’s nice to have a cozy warm relationship with HMRC, and feel they want to help us all.


Valid excuses to evade the fine? None really, perhaps if you have photographic evidence of you being run over in January, and carted off to hospital they might relent. And even then only if you can correctly explain why you did not do the return sooner e.g. in December. And of course if you’re a partnership you need to get all the partners run over to avoid the fine.


How do I know if I have to do a return? – call them, not us, we can’t fix it!


In order for anyone to do a tax return you need a unique tax reference (UTR). The only way to get this is:

  • Rummage through your bins to retrieve all those reminder letters HMRC has bombarded you with, then email one of them to us, and we can fix it

  • OR, much harder ring HMRC and ask them for your UTR. They will put you through soooo many hoops it’s like it costs them a fortune to issue one, they are so teeeedious. Call them (make sure you can speak Scottish/Geordie fluently), and don’t take no for an answer.

  • And don’t ring us -we can’t fix it without lying to HMRC, and that costs extra.

  • Telephone HMRC? Details here.

  • Oh and of course they can’t tell you the UTR over the phone, they have to engage in the ceremony of ‘writing a letter’ to you to tell you. And no they won’t fax it either unless you prostrate yourself over the phone. This means it is vital to plug your brain in a long time before 31st January to allow enough time for Leo to wheeze into life and churn out the letter/number.

  • Don't even mention the idea of using that new-fangled communication method of email or text message to send the magic numero!!

  •  By the way make sure they are sending it to the address you expect them to!!

  • Once you have the magic UTR, email it to us, and we can do the return in a jiffy.

  • Then you merely have to make the payment, and that’s another story.

Tags: SA,tax returns,SA returns,HMRC,taxes