UK Historic Tax Return Help

Nov 6, 2018
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United Kingdom
Hi All,

I'm looking for a little advice as I'm finally at my whits end regarding some historic self assessments.

This is a bit of a long story so thanks in advance to anybody willing to read on! This dates back almost 15 years and

From leaving school around 1998 I was self employed in the construction industry where I worked for around 4 years. Each year I employed an accountant to submit my self assessment and I never had any issues with HMRC aside from some delays in receiving a tax return on one of those years which was promptly straightened out.

Moving forward to around 2003 I made the move into retail due to change in my travel situation and needing to be closer to home. I called HMRC after receiving a self assessment form and advised I was no longer self employed to which they asked me to write a letter to that affect and post it in. This was done and I then heard nothing from HMRC for around 2 years and all seemed to be fine.

Then around 2005 I received another self assessment form which I then contacted them about to explain the situation and they advised they had no note of the letter I sent in on the system, I hadn't been given the correct advice and then after a couple of long calls and being told that the onus was placed back on me to which we hit deadlock situation as I believed I was in the right.

I was solidly of the belief that this was a problem with their records, I had done as i was asked and had followed the requests and that they should take some responsibility for the matter. In hindsight now, i should have just completed the self assessment and returned it as NIL however I didn't do this and received a letter some months later with charges for the lack of submission.

After this I had patchy contact from them on the matter every 2-3 years with another round of calls some time around 2010 and then 2017 where I finally gave in and agreed to complete what had now become requests for returns for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 (all years where I was employed) along with the corresponding charges! They sent out the paper assessment forms and a change in my home situation left me with little time to even think about anything other than the aforementioned and again the matter never crossed my mind.

Which brings me to today. I received another letter requesting payment for the lack of submissions and I'm now back to making a call tomorrow to discuss the situation with HMRC.

I'm more than aware that I could well have avoided this issue completely by nipping this in the bud some years ago however I'm conscious that I can be stubborn at times so it goes without saying that I've caused myself a lot of this grief. I guess I'm just looking for a steer on what I should do next and how I should approach the call to HMRC tomorrow.

Is there anything I should be mentioning? Is there any recourse for failings on HMRC's part? I can already see that I'm probably going to need to submit the assessments so can they be done online when this old? Is there a good resource on help for submitting a NIL assessment?

Thanks again to anyone who took the time out to read through this wall of text and also thanks in advance for any help or guidance you may be able to give.




VIP Member
Aug 26, 2011
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That must be pretty frustrating for you! This kind of situation seems to be pretty common unfortunately. I agree that phoning HMRC is the best course of action, and confirm everything in writing. There is some further advice here, and it looks like there's a form you can fill in too (although I don't know whether it will be relevant given the time that has elapsed). Worth a look though:

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