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Simple Assessment – ending the tax return

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  1. Why HMRC are making the changes
  2. What it means for customers
  3. How it works
  4. What customers need do next
  5. To find out more

Simple Assessment is a new way of collecting tax which will make life easier for millions of customers who have had to do Self Assessment tax returns in the past.

1. Why HMRC are making the changes

Currently, around 11 million people have to complete a tax return every year to provide HMRC with information about their income. With greater use of existing data HMRC can now find the information for some of those customers elsewhere without needing them to complete a tax return. This new system is called Simple Assessment.

2. What it means for customers

From September 2017 HMRC will remove the need for some customers to complete a tax return, starting with two groups:

  • new state pensioners with income more than the personal tax allowance in the tax year 2016 to 2017
  • PAYE customers, who have underpaid tax and who cannot have that tax collected through their tax code

All existing state pensioners, who receive state pension over their personal allowance, who have received a notice to file a Self Assessment for the tax year 2016 to 2017 should complete their return as usual. They will be taken out of Self Assessment for the next tax year, 2017 to 2018, and will receive a Simple Assessment notification instead.

3. How it works

Rather than asking customers to fill in a return with lots of information, HMRC will now use data it already holds and calculate what tax is owed.

Customers with more complex tax affairs who continue doing Self Assessment will still benefit from a modernised process in the future. This means they will only be asked for information needed to assess their tax, benefits and credits. HMRC will complete the rest of the information automatically.

4. What customers need do next

HMRC will write to customers from September 2017 with a tax calculation. This could be a P800 or a Simple Assessment letter (PA302).

The letter will show their:

  • income from pay
  • pensions
  • state benefits
  • savings interest
  • employee benefits

Customers just need to check the information is correct, and if it is they can pay their bill online or by cheque by the deadline in the letter.

If a customer thinks any information is incorrect they have 60 days to contact HMRC. For instance, if they think amounts used are wrong or HMRC didn’t act on information received.

Should customers miss the deadline they should contact HMRC to discuss their circumstances or financial penalties will be applied in line with current policy.

If customers are not happy with the follow-up response from HMRC, they have 30 days to appeal against the decision.

5. To find out more

Read more about HMRC’s plans to transform our services.

To access your Personal Tax Account go to

It takes just a few minutes to get started. You’ll need your National Insurance number and a recent payslip, P60 or passport to sign-in for the first time. Join the millions of taxpayers already using their Personal Tax Account, and sign in today.