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Who needs to file a tax return?

  • 3 min read
  • Last updated 4 Jan 2024

Most people in the UK do not need to file a tax return because any taxable income they have is taxed through a system called PAYE (paye as you earn).

However, there are a few situations where you’ll be required to complete a Self Assessment, also known as a personal tax return. Read more to find out what these situations are.

1. If you have any untaxed income

2. You want to claim a tax refund

In some cases, you may have to submit a tax return to claim a refund if you’ve paid too much income tax. Here are some examples:

  • You work in the construction industry through the CIS scheme
  • You’ve made investments in SEIS or EIS eligible startups or VCT funds
  • You’ve made donations to charity
  • You made private pension contributions as a higher rate taxpayer
  • You had work expenses over £1,000

3. HMRC tells you to submit one

Sometimes HMRC may decide you need to file a tax return. They’ll usually let you know by:

  • Sending you a P800 form
  • Sending you a notice to file a tax return

This could be for any reason, but some of the most common reasons are:

  • You didn’t de-register from self assessment so HMRC are still expecting a tax return from you
  • You’ve paid too little tax 
  • You have any untaxed income that cannot be collected through PAYE

4. You qualify for benefits

In some cases, you may have to file a Self Assessment tax return if you quality for benefits, i.e:

5. Other situations

You’re a ’name’ at the Lloyd’s of London

I’m a director of a limited company – do I still need to file a personal tax return?

In this case, you’ll only need to complete a tax return if you paid yourself dividends over £10,000. Otherwise, you’re no longer required to file a personal tax return.

However, you still need to make sure that your company submits a corporate tax return.

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