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filling in form on a tablet | accountingweb | Overlap relief request form now live

Delayed overlap relief form live at last


After delays caused by technical hitches, the online form for requesting overlap relief information from HMRC has finally been released.

14th Sep 2023
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The online form for requesting overlap relief information from HMRC has launched following a two-week delay. 

The form, which was due to be released on 29 August, was delayed due to technical difficulties and eventually went live on 11 September. 

Basis period reform

Overlap profits normally arise in the first two tax years of a new trade where the accounting date of the business does not align to the tax year end and – under the old opening year rules – profit for the period of overlap fell into tax twice. Until this tax year, overlap relief (which should have been carried forward each year on the self assessment tax return) would be deducted either when the business ceased trading or if the accounting date was changed to a date later in the tax year. 

A key element of basis period reform (which is implemented for the current tax year 2023/24) is that as long as the figure is entered on the 2024 tax return, traders with overlap relief will have the relevant amount automatically deducted from the additional profits that arise between the end of the accounting period in 2023/24 and 5 April 2024. The resultant amount (known as the “transitional part”) is automatically spread over the five tax years 2023/24 to 2027/28, although taxpayers are able to choose to accelerate the taxation of the transitional part if they prefer. 

In an ideal world, agents would have a record of the overlap relief brought forward and be able to enter the correct figure in the 2023/24 tax return from April 2024. However, the world is far from ideal and there are many self-employed sole traders and partners who do not have the necessary figure. It is vital that they obtain this information from HMRC. 

Digital revolution

The launch of the online form will be a relief to taxpayers and agents as, until now, the only way to request historical data on overlap profits was to write to HMRC and join the back of the lengthy queue as HMRC and its designated taskforce wade through the tax authority’s postal backlog.

Once a request for information has been submitted, the taxpayer can expect to receive a response from HMRC within three weeks, unless the case is particularly complex.

To reassure recipients that the response is a genuine HMRC communication, the message will contain: 

  • a unique taxpayer reference (UTR), redacted to show the last four characters
  • the first initial of the taxpayer’s name
  • their last name.

Taxpayers and agents should not respond to any communication regarding their request for overlap relief figures that does not contain these details, as it is likely to be a scam. 

When HMRC’s response does arrive, it may not be as fruitful as anticipated. 

Gaps in the data

According to HMRC, information on historical overlap profits can only be provided if such information has been previously reported on past tax returns. If that data is not available in the system, HMRC may be able to provide enough data to allow the taxpayer or agent to work out the overlap relief available, but again this relies on enough information being available in the HMRC archives.

A more cynical take would be that rather than determining overlap relief figures, the form is in many cases just a tool to determine whether or not HMRC holds the necessary data to calculate overlap relief at all.

Replies (3)

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By DonDan
14th Sep 2023 13:27

To be fair to HMRC i have had reasonable success in getting the overlap relief figure over the phone in the last couple of years. The call handler would put me through to the technical team and they would go through the relevant figures on the 97/98 tax return.

I wonder if they will now refuse to do this now the online option has finally been released

Thanks (2)
By rockallj
14th Sep 2023 14:17

I applied for this for two clients yesterday.
Each individual, including parters in a partnership must be input separately.

If taxpayers have two trades, self/employment & partnership, etc. each business must be separately input.

Let’s see when the results roll in.

PS. Amy, thanks for letting us know that turnaround is about 3 weeks. Pity HMRC doesn’t advise this on application.

Thanks (3)
By Trainee77
15th Sep 2023 11:46

Do you need to submit them all in one go or can you do some today and some later in the month?

Thanks (0)