Emily Coltman

About the author: Emily Coltman, FCA is the chief accountant for FreeAgent, who make online accounting software for small businesses and freelancers.

Who needs to file a Self Assessment tax return?

More information

At the start of every tax year, in April or May, HMRC sends a notice to file a tax return to everyone who they are aware needs to submit one. If you receive a notice, you must complete a tax return and submit it to HMRC before the deadline.

You will be likely to need to file a tax return if you:

  • are self-employed
  • are a partner in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • are a director in a limited company and have taken money out of the company
  • received more than a certain amount of untaxed income in the tax year - for example, from renting out a property or from interest on savings
  • made profit from selling chargeable assets (such as property and shares) and are required to pay capital gains tax
  • had an income, or your partner had an income, over the threshold and one of you claimed Child Benefit (check the current threshold)
  • had income from abroad that you need to pay tax on
  • lived abroad and had a UK income
  • had an income over a certain threshold
  • were a trustee of a trust or registered pension scheme
  • received a P800 from HMRC stating that you didn’t pay enough tax last year
  • are a minister of religion

There are a few other reasons a person might have to file a Self Assessment tax return and if you’re in any doubt you should ask your accountant or get in touch with HMRC for clarification.


Hi I'm Emily Coltman, I'm chief accountant to FreeAgent where we make online accounting software for small businesses.

So, who has to file a tax return?

Well the answer is, if you run your own business, you do!

And that's if you're a sole trader, if you're a partner in a partnership, or if you're the director of a limited company unless you're not taking any money out of the company.

Basically, if you get a notice to complete a tax return from the revenue you do have to complete the return or you will get fined.

There are other people who might have to fill in a tax return, we've put some more information under this video and don't forget that you can file your tax return through FreeAgent, we've put some more information for you at the top of this page.

Thanks very much for watching and we'll see you in the next video.

Disclaimer: The content included in this guide is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this guide. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.