Double check whether you need to file a tax return

You may believe that you don’t need to file a tax return for 2018/19 but it’s worth double checking. Director, Nicola Roby highlights some things you should consider.

Almost 750,000 taxpayers missed the 31 January deadline on 2019, running the risk of a £100 fine. Many were simply unaware they needed to file a return.

Charitable donations

If you’ve donated to charity under Gift Aid, the Government gives the basic rate tax relief to the charity. Higher and additional rate taxpayers can claim relief on the difference between their top tax rate, 40% or 45% respectively and the basic rate – 20% on the donation.

If you haven’t already informed HMRC about your donations, you can submit a tax return to claim relief. Also, if you make Gift Aid donations before 31 January, you can elect for them to be treated as having been made in the 2018/19 tax year to accelerate tax relief, then use the refund to make another donation.

Pension contributions

You can claim tax relief on pension contributions at your highest rate of income tax. Higher or additional rate taxpayers can claim an additional 20% and 25% tax relief respectively, where they are not in a net-pay or salary-sacrifice pension arrangement through their employer, but instead make direct pension contributions.

Venture Capital Schemes

These schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and venture capital trusts, offer valuable income tax and capital gains tax relief. If you have made eligible investments into these schemes you should claim income tax relief on your tax return for the year in which the shares are issued to you.

You can also elect to carry the contributions back to the previous tax year.

Capital losses

You must first set these against any other gains in the same tax year even if the gains are covered by your annual exemption – this means you may waste your annual exemption.

If you still have losses remaining, you must advise HMRC via your tax return so that the capital losses can be carried forward. This is the only way to use losses that have been ‘claimed’ against gains made in future years.

Sale of substantial chargeable assets

If you aren’t registered for self-assessment and your total gains are less than the annual exemption (£11,700 for 2018/19), you must still report them on a tax return if the sales proceeds were in excess of £46,800. This threshold relates to the proceeds, so even if you made a loss, you are still required to submit a tax return.

Filing a tax return doesn’t necessarily mean paying extra tax. Often it can mean tax reliefs and refunds.

Contact us for more advice.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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