Q. Some of my colleagues have recently received 2012 tax returns or a notice to complete a self-assessment return from H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC).  In recent years I have not received a tax return for completion and I wondered whether or not I should have done so and how I go about requesting one if I need to. Can you help please?

A. It is that time in the tax year when HMRC have recently issued over 9 million self-assessment tax returns – or notices to complete a return if the return had been submitted electronically online in previous years. HMRC place the onus on notifying the need to complete a self-assessment tax return on the taxpayer and this is a question I frequently get asked as most people are unsure if they should be completing a return or not.

Reaching the right answer is important as HMRC will levy penalties for failure to notify chargeability if you should have submitted a return and failed to do so!

A simple checklist is below. If you can answer yes to any of the questions below you will need to complete and submit a self-assessment tax return to HMRC.

• Have you been Self Employed or a Partner in a business at anytime during the period 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012?
• Were you a Director of a company in the above period?
• Was your total income in excess of £100,000 (including taxable benefits) during the year ended 5 April 2012?
• Did you receive any income from the letting of property, either solely or in joint names, in the period 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012 – even if you made no profit from the letting?
• Have you received any foreign income – earned or unearned – during the year ended 5 April 2012 liable to tax in the UK?
• In the period 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012 did you receive more than £2,500 in untaxed interest from any source?
• In the above period was your total income from savings and investments £10,000 or more?
• If you were an employee did you incur expenses or pay professional subscriptions in excess of £2500 in the year ended 5 April 2012?

If you have answered yes to any of the above and you have not received self-assessment return for completion then you need to contact HMRC and inform them that you require a return for completion informing them why. You can do this by calling HMRC on 0845 900 0444. When you call you will need to have your National Insurance number to hand.

If you need to complete a return for any of the above reasons you will need to inform HMRC no later than 5 October 2012. If you inform them after this date you may be liable for a penalty.

For any one completing a tax return there is always the risk that HMRC may open a tax enquiry into the return. At present HMRC are aggressively pursuing tax avoidance in any form and this may include an enquiry into your return whether or not it is incorrect. HMRC have the right to enquire to ensure that it is in order.  If this was to happen we would always recommend that you seek professional advice from a suitably qualified accountant or tax advisor. You can protect yourself against the cost that this would incur and further information on the tax enquiry fee protection cover we provide can be found at www.feeprotectiondirect.com

If you are unsure as to whether or not you still need to complete a return than our tax experts are available on 01455 852550 to provide further guidance should you need it.