HMRC have issued their tool “Check if you need to send a Self-Assessment Tax return” for 2017/18. We have tested it on ourselves and the results were somewhat confusing.

If you have:

  • Income below £50,000 per year
  • No capital gains
  • Rental profits below £2,500 and
  • Less than £10,000 from dividends and savings

the tool says that you do not have to file a tax return for 2017/18.

If you continue to read to the bottom of the page it then tells you:

“You must tell HMRC if you had:

  • more than £5,000 income from share dividends
  • between £1,000 and £2,500 in any other untaxed income, such as tips, commission or money from renting out a property

You do not need to send a return for this. You can either:

  • check your Income Tax and go to ‘Tell us about a change’
  • call HMRC”

The problem is that many taxpayers may not read this far, they will see, in big bold letters, “You do not need to send a Self Assessment tax return” and leave the page. Yet they may owe tax on their rental income which could be as much as £999 if their employment income exceeds the personal allowance and basic rate band and rental profits are £2,499.

To use the 'Check your income tax' option above you need to have registered for a government gateway account, which requires activation codes to be sent via the post. The whole process is not straightforward and with just seven weeks until the filing deadline some taxpayers may struggle to establish what they need to do in time, let alone meet their filing obligations.

Links to our guides:

Do I need to file a tax return (directors)?
Do you need to file a self assessment tax return? What if you are a director? Can HMRC make directors file tax returns? 

Do I have to file a tax return (non-directors)
A guide setting out when you should  file a self-assessment return if you are not a director.

Penalties: failure to notify 
When must you notify HMRC of chargeability to tax? What are the deadlines and how much are the penalties?

2017/18 Self-assessment Tax Return toolkit
A summary of top tips for dealing with last minute tax returns; what not to forget, and how to protect against enquiries.