What is a Notice to Complete

Posted 26/09/2019

Individuals in the UK who must prepare and send a self-assessment tax return to HMRC or registered limited companies with Companies House will receive a Notice to Complete a Tax Return once their year end is up. The Notice to Complete is not a request for an immediate submission; the individual or company will have around 9 months to calculate and pay any tax from the notice date.

Self-assessment tax return notices are sent out from the 1st May each year and advise that the tax return and payment are due by the end of the following January. Company tax return deadlines depend on the year end of the annual accounting periods and are nine months and one day due after this date. For example, if the year end is 31st March for the accounts, then the corporation tax payment is due to HMRC by the following 1st January date. The company tax return itself would need to be submitted to HMRC within 12 months of the accounting end date. If the receiver has an accountant then they can pass the notices on to them for recording and safekeeping. If the accountant is listed as the company’s agent with HMRC they will be sent a copy of the company’s Notice to Complete. The accountant will not receive copies of an individual’s tax return notice, but they will receive any copies of correspondence on tax matters for individuals and companies.

One feature of Notices to Complete is the payment references and methods of payment across the bottom and back of the page. As HMRC are moving on from paper records and payments and are encouraging users to use technology for submissions and reports, the notices to complete will be updated to reflect payment methods available. If an electronic bank transfer is not usually made the receiver should review the payment methods to ensure their usual way to pay is open to them for the year. A tax return will need to be submitted by registered companies or self-employed individuals regardless of whether they receive a Notice to Complete or not. Not receiving this notice is not a valid excuse for a lack of submitting a tax return during an investigation.

The reference on the company notice to completes are important as the last 6 digits will change from year to year. These last digits in the reference helps HMRC to allocate the payment against the correct accounting period for that company. If the same reference as a previous year is used the money will still be allocated to that company’s HMRC account but it may take longer for HMRC put the money in to the correct period. If this happens HMRC may need to be contacted directly to reallocate the payment against the correct period to avoid an automatic late payment letter to be sent out.
The reference for self-assessment tax does not change; this will always be the individual’s 10-digit unique taxpayer reference followed by the letter K.

Tags: HMRC Letter, Correspondence, Notice to Complete, Self Assessment, Corporation Tax


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