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Who must file a tax return

You must send a tax return if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), any of the following applied:

  • you were self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and earned more than £1,000 (before taking off anything you can claim tax relief)

  • you were a partner in a business partnership

  • you earned £100,000 or more

You may also need to send a tax return if you have any untaxed income, such as:

  • some COVID-19 grant or support payments

  • money from renting out a property

  • tips and commission

  • income from savings, investments and dividends

  • foreign income

Other reasons for sending a return

You can choose to fill in a tax return to:

  • claim some Income Tax reliefs

  • "Tax relief" means that you either:

  • pay less tax to take account of money you’ve spent on specific things, like business expenses if you’re self-employed

  • get tax back or get it repaid in another way, like into a personal pension

  • You get some types of tax relief automatically - but some you must apply for.

When you can get tax relief

  • Tax relief applies to pension contributions, charity donations, maintenance payments and time spent working on a ship outside the UK.

  • It also applies to work or business expenses – you may be able to:

  • get tax relief on what you spend running your business if you’re self-employed (a sole trader or partner in a partnership)

  • claim tax relief if you’re employed and you use your own money for travel and things that you must buy for your job

  • prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare or Maternity Allowance

If you get Child Benefit

  • If your income (or your partner’s, if you have one) was over £50,000, you may need to send a return and pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

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