Short tax returns

Produced by Tolley

The following Personal Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Short tax returns
  • Who might receive a short tax return?
  • When should a main tax return be submitted for a taxpayer issued with a short tax return?
  • Filing a short tax return

Short tax returns

The short tax return was introduced in April 2005 with the aim of reducing the compliance burden for taxpayers with simple tax affairs.

The short tax return (form SA200) is a four-page document that covers the most common sources of income (employment, self-employment, pensions, investment income, UK property) as well as common reliefs (pension contributions, gift aid, personal allowances). Capital gains and losses are reported on the usual capital gains summary supplementary pages and submitted with the short tax return.

There is no facility on the short return to calculate the tax due, although a simple guide is included for taxpayers who want to make a rough calculation of the tax due.

It is not possible for a taxpayer (or the agent) to self-select a short tax return. This form is not available online, nor can it be ordered from the helpline. Therefore, it is not possible to provide a link to the short return within this guidance note. However, the short tax return guide is available online.

Who might receive a short tax return?

HMRC will issue the short return to certain taxpayers based on the entries in the previous tax return. Examples of the type of taxpayer who may be issued with a short return include employees (who are not directors) with taxable benefits, self-employed traders with turnover of less than the annual VAT registration threshold and pensioners who have pensions and straightforward investment income.

However, receiving a short tax return does not necessarily mean that a main tax return should not be completed instead. It is up to the agent (or the taxpayer themselves if they are unrepresented) to decide whether a short tax return is appropriate based on the taxpayer’s circumstances and sources of income / gains for the tax year in question.

If, for example, the self-employed taxpayer’s turnover exceeded the VAT registration threshold in the tax year, then a main tax return should be completed instead. Alternatively, there may need to be

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