Freqently Asked Questions

Do I need to Complete a Tax Return?

Most people in the UK will pay their tax ‘at source’, for example, through PAYE if they’re employed, and will not be required to file a tax return. Therefore, self assessment does not affect all UK taxpayers and you will usually only need to complete a tax return if one or more of the following apply to you:


  • You work for yourself – you are self-employed or a CIS worker;
  • You are a partner in a partnership business;
  • You are a company director, except for directors of not-for-profit organisations who receive no pay;
  • You are a minister of religion – any faith or denomination;
  • You are a trustee or the executor of an estate.

You also may need to complete a self assessment tax return if:


  • You have untaxed income. This could be, for example, interest that is not taxed before it is paid to you or rental income. If you are an employee or a pensioner and the income is less than £2,500 a year you might not have to complete a tax return but it is still your responsibility to report such income by contacting HMRC. If you receive other untaxed income and the tax due on it cannot be collected via your PAYE coding notice you will need to complete a tax return;
  • You receive regular annual income from a trust or settlement, or you receive income from the estate of a deceased person and further tax is due;
  • You have taxable foreign income whether or not you are resident in the UK. This includes non-UK resident landlords. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website;
  • You have income from savings and investments of £10,000 or more before tax;
  • You have annual income of £100,000 or more before tax;
  • You or your partner receive child benefit and your income is over £50,000. This is because of the high income child benefit charge;
  • You have tax due at the end of the year that cannot be collected via your PAYE coding notice in a later year;
  • Your untaxed income is £2,500 or more – but if you are a pensioner you may be able to pay your tax through your PAYE Coding Notice;
  • Your claims for expenses are £2,500 or more;
  • You have capital gains where: 
    • You have given away or sold assets worth more than 4 times the annual exemption amount; or
    • You have a capital loss but your gains net of any losses are more than the annual exemption; or
    • You have no losses to claim but your gains are more than the annual exemption; or
    • You need to make any other capital gains tax claim or election for the year.

HMRC may also want you to complete a return for other reasons.


Note that if HMRC have sent you a tax return or a notice to complete one, then you must fill it in and return it by the due date unless there is a good reason you do not need to be in self assessment and HMRC agree to cancel it.