Self-assessment tax returns – Do you need to submit one?

Who must submit a self-assessment tax return?

You must submit a self-assessment tax return to HMRC if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), you were:

  • self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and earned more than £1,000 (before taking off anything you can claim tax relief on)
  • a partner in a business partnership

You will not normally need to send a return if your only income is from your wages or pension. But you may need to send one if you have any other untaxed income, for example:

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

Are there any other reasons for submitting a return?

Yes. You can choose to fill in a self-assessment tax return to:

  • claim some Income Tax reliefs
  • prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare or Maternity Allowance

Also, if you receive Child Benefit and your income (or your partner’s, if you have one) was over £50,000, you may need to send a return and pay the High-Income Child Benefit Charge.

What Income Tax reliefs are available?

‘Tax relief’ means that you either:

  • pay less tax to take account of money you’ve spent on specific things, like business expenses if you’re self-employed
  • get tax back or get it repaid in another way, like into a personal pension

You get some types of tax relief automatically – but some you must apply for.

When can you get tax relief?

 Some examples where tax relief applies are to pension contributions, charity donations, maintenance payments and time spent working on a ship outside the UK.

It also applies to work or business expenses – you may be able to:

  • get tax relief on what you spend running your business if you’re self-employed (a sole trader or partner in a partnership)
  • claim tax relief if you are employed and you use your own money for travel and things that you must buy for your job.

To find out more about income tax reliefs read this article.

If you are unsure, get in touch

If you are in any doubt regarding your requirement to complete a Tax Return get in touch.

If you have not submitted a Tax Return previously HMRC will need to be notified by the 5 October following the end of the tax year. We can liaise with HMRC to register you for the Self-Assessment system.


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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