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Should he submit a Tax Return?

Should he submit a Tax Return?

A new client has asked me to advise him on his tax obligations.  His income consists of a pension, a social security benefit and investment income and he is not registered for self assessment.  I have done a calculation for 2012 and he has a tax liability of £3.91.  As this is such a small amount, does he have to register and submit a Tax Return?


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28th Nov 2012 16:08

Tax Return

No matter how little tax is due, he must file a return. or face an immediate £100 penalty, plus others. AS he can now file only online, I would advise he applies for a UTR as this is currently taking about six weeks to issue, plus you have to be registered as his agent, though this can be done online.

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28th Nov 2012 16:32

Hang on

Its possible that your calculation may be incorrect (hint, hint) are you sure you've included all those one off charitable donations?

Has he been asked to submit a tax return by HMRC? If not and there's no tax to pay then he doesn't need to submit one.




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By DMGbus
29th Nov 2012 08:52


The obligation in the first instance is to notify HMRC that [if it is correct] there is a liability over and above tax paid at source.

The responsibility then passes to HMRC to either register the taxpayer for Self Assessment, or alternatively make a demand for the tax due.

I am aware that there instances where HMRC do NOT always require Self Assessment returns to be completed where small liabilities arise and either do not demand the tax or make a demand for payment outside the self assessment system.

Now, next question: "is £3.91 too trivial an amount to notify HMRC?".  I am unaware of a de minimus level.  However think about this: PAYE code 810L (personal allowance £8,105): this will lead in a typical PAYE taxpayer's case to an 80 pence tax underpayment for 2012/13.  Now, who's going to jump in and say "must register for self assessment as there's 80 pence of tax underpaid!"?

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29th Nov 2012 10:08

All this over £3.91????

1) Why would your client ask for his tax obligations to be calculated if not asked (pension has personal allowance less state pension income, investment income tax deducted at source presumably?)...why oh why!?!?

2) For people who have income which is taxed at source the revenue will run a tax calc (P800) detailing if you have under/overpaid tax and will write to the individual (at which point ESC A19 may come into play)


If the clients income is near/above the abatement level regarding restriction of additional personal allowance, or he has investment income paid gross then there maybe a reason to do a return...if the £3.91 is simply due to an 'error' or rounding issue in the PAYE system on the pension then leave it to HMRC to decide whether it is worth chasing (postage + paper + person to review....etc) 


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30th Nov 2012 08:53

@ Hugh W Dunlop

Would the first responder please advise whence he gets the figure of £100?  I have been having a read of para 6(2) Sch 41 FA 2008 and cannot find any reference to it.  By my reckoning the maximum exposure to a penalty is £3.91, and even that could arguably be heavily discounted under subparas (b) or (c).

Would HMRC levy a penalty of £3,91, or some lesser amount as prescribed?  One day a coin may land on its edge.  It is also possible that hell might freeze over.  Both, I think, would have to coincide before the penalty was raised.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

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