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From 6 January 2024, the main rate of class 1 National Insurance contributions (NIC) deducted from employees’ wages is reduced from 12% to 10%. From 6 April 2024, the main rate of self-employed class 4 NIC will reduce from 9% to 8% and class 2 NIC will no longer be due. Those with profits below £6,725 a year can continue to pay class 2 NIC to keep their entitlement to certain state benefits. Our guidance will be updated in full in spring 2024.

Updated on 6 April 2023

Tax returns: leaving self assessment

If you no longer need to file self assessment tax returns, you should tell HMRC.

Content on this page:

HMRC have asked you to file a tax return

In general, if your circumstances have changed and you think you no longer need to complete a tax return, for example, because you pay all your tax under PAYE, let HMRC know as soon as possible.

See Who has to complete a tax return for more information on whether you need to file a tax return for a year.

If you do not meet HMRC’s self assessment criteria but you have already received a tax return for a year, HMRC might agree to cancel the filing requirement if you explain your circumstances to them over the telephone. If they agree to withdraw the return, you will no longer need to submit it and any penalties for missing the filing deadline will be cancelled.

If HMRC do not agree, however, they may ask you to complete the return and to tell them about your change in your circumstances in the Additional Information boxes.

Alternatively, HMRC might agree to cancel the tax return, but instead issue you with a Simple Assessment, if they think you have not paid enough tax.

  If you have been issued with a notice to file a tax return, you have a legal obligation to complete one (and penalties will be issued if you fail to do so) until that notice is formally withdrawn, even if you do not meet the self assessment criteria.

HMRC have not asked you to file a tax return

If you have not received a notice to file a return for the year but think you might receive one, contact HMRC and let them know why you think you no longer need to complete a self assessment return. You might be in time to stop them issuing one.

Stopping self-employment

If you have stopped being self-employed you will generally need to fill in a tax return for the tax year in which your self-employment ends. The date that you stopped being self-employed should be shown on the tax return. HMRC should then close your self assessment record and stop sending you tax returns to complete.

However, as explained above on this page, if HMRC issue you with a notice to file a tax return for a year, even if this is after you have stopped self-employment, they will expect to receive one until notified otherwise.

For more information, see our page on Stopping your business.

Leaving the UK

If you do not think you should be completing tax returns because you have left the UK, you will need to fill in a tax return for the year that you left. The date that you departed the UK should be shown on the tax return. HMRC should then close your self assessment record and stop sending you tax returns to complete. You should always ensure HMRC have your correct address on record, even if this is overseas.

If HMRC issue you with a notice to file a tax return for a year, even if this is after you have left the UK, they will expect to receive one until notified otherwise.

For more information on what to do when you leave the UK, see Notifying HMRC when leaving the UK and GOV.UK.

If you wish to claim a tax refund after leaving self assessment

If you are no longer within self assessment, but you have allowances or reliefs to claim or think you are due a tax refund, then see our page on Tax refunds.

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