If You Complete A Paper Based Tax Return, You Should Read This

Do you prefer completing a paper based tax return?

Whilst many people now submit their tax returns electronically, it is possible to complete a paper based return.  To save you time and to avoid the possibility of mistakes, read our handy guide to completing a paper based tax return.

Get the right forms

When completing a paper based tax return, it is vital that you make sure you have the correct pages.

You will need to complete:

  • The two core forms (SA100 and SA101)
  • All relevant supplementary pages

The supplementary pages will include income from property, employed income, income from shares, pension income and so on.  There will also be a supplementary page for capital gains.

Check that you have all the relevant pages before completing your paper based tax return.  It is possible to download any missing pages (as well as guidance notes) from the HMRC website.

Four common mistakes to avoid when completing your paper based tax return

If you are sending in a paper based tax return:

  • make sure that you sign and date it
  • Do not include notes on the form such as ‘information to follow’
  • Ensure all supplementary pages are completed
  • Don’t alter the tax year on a paper based tax return to use it as a substitute form for another tax year

Remember that the submission date is earlier than online returns

If you send in a paper based tax return, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 October.

The deadline for paper tax returns is only later than 31 October if:

  • The notice to file your tax return arrives after the 31 July.  Here, you have three months from the date you receive the notice to send in a paper return
  • You are completing a paper return because there is no available online service to file your tax return (for example Non-Resident Companies)
  • You have been told by HMRC that you are not allowed to file your tax return online.  In this instance you will have until 31 January to send in your paper based tax return

If you would rather submit your tax return online, you get until 31 January to do this.

If you fail to send in your paper based tax return by the 31 October deadline, you will face an automatic penalty of £100.  Bear in mind that you will not receive a receipt confirming that HMRC have received your paper based tax return.

The short tax return

If your tax affairs are simple, HMRC may send you a short tax return to complete.  This is just four pages long but, importantly, it cannot be completed and submitted online.  If you are sent a short tax return, you should complete the paper version and return it to HMRC.

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