How far can HMRC go back?

Time limits for assessments and claims

On 1 April 2010 the time limits for assessments and claims changed. This also applies to tax repayment claims.

All these limits apply from the end of the chargeable period.

 

Normal time limit (years)

Careless behaviour (years)

Deliberate behaviour (years)

Capital Gains Tax

4

6

20

Corporation Tax

4

6

20

Income Tax

4

6

20

PAYE

4

6

20

VAT

4

4

20

 

 

 

 

Repayment claims – Self Assessment and PAYE

The following tables show the deadlines for taxpayers under Self-assement or under PAYE:

Self Assessment taxpayers  

Tax year you want to claim tax back

Deadline to make your claim

2003-04 year

31 January 2010

2004-05 year

31 March 2010

2005-06 year

5 April 2010

2006-07 year

5 April 2011

2007-08 year

5 April 2012

2008-09 year

5 April 2013

 

PAYE and other taxpayers outside the Self Assessment 

Tax year you want to claim tax back

Deadline to make your claim

2003-04 year

31 January 2010

2004-05 year

31 January 2011

2005-06 year

31 January 2012

2006-07 year

31 March 2012

2007-08 year

5 April 2012

2008-09 year

5 April 2013

 

Error or mistake relief
Overpayment Relief replaces Error or Mistake Relief and repayment claims are limited to four years.
 

The new time limits do not affect:

  • Periods already out of date under the old time limits
  • The time limits for making enquiries into SA or CTSA returns
  • The time limits for making penalty determinations for direct tax
  • The time limits for assessing Class 1, 1A and 2 National Insurance Contributions, or
  • The two-year rule and the evidence of facts rules for VAT assessments

The normal time limit for most assessments and determinations is four years from the end of the relevant tax period, there are however many variations from this norm according to HMRC. 

More details

The tables of time limits in the appendices of HMRC's Compliance Handbook give a full summary.

For more information see the Compliance Handbook chapter 50000.