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Self Assessment: Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970)

Updated: Jan 16


Understanding the Basics of SA970

The SA970 form, officially known as the "Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes," is a specific document used in the UK for trustees of registered pension schemes to report financial activities to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It details the scheme's income, capital gains, and related tax matters for a tax year. This form enables trustees to fulfill their legal obligation of declaring income, calculating tax liability, and claiming any applicable tax reliefs or repayments related to the management of pension scheme assets.

Self Assessment Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970) is a critical process for trustees in the UK. It involves the reporting of financial activities related to the pension scheme they manage. This article provides a comprehensive guide to understanding and completing the SA970 form, essential for trustees to ensure compliance with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regulations.

Self Assessment: Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970)

Key Features of the SA970 Form

The SA970 form is designed for trustees to report income, capital gains, and any relevant reliefs or expenses associated with the pension scheme for the tax year. It's important for trustees to understand the specific sections of the form:

  1. Identification and Basic Information: Trustees must provide the scheme's Self Assessment tax reference, name, and correspondence address. This information is crucial for HMRC to correctly identify the pension scheme.

  2. Income Reporting: The form requires detailed information about various types of income, including UK and overseas investments, trading income, income under a Deed of Covenant, and other taxable income. Accurate reporting of income is essential for correct tax calculation.

  3. Tax Calculations: Trustees can opt to calculate the tax due themselves or request HMRC to do it. If trustees choose to calculate the tax, they need to ensure accuracy in their calculations to avoid discrepancies.

  4. Repayment Claims: If applicable, trustees can claim a repayment. This section requires detailed banking information for the pension scheme or its nominee.

  5. Contact Details and Changes: Trustees should provide current contact details and notify HMRC of any changes in the scheme’s trustees or their addresses.

  6. Additional Information and Declaration: This section is for any additional information that might be relevant to the tax return. It ends with a declaration that the information provided is accurate and complete.


Compliance and Deadlines

Trustees must submit the SA970 form by specific deadlines to avoid penalties. The deadlines depend on whether the tax calculation is done by the trustee or HMRC. For the tax year ending 5 April 2021, the deadline for trustees calculating the tax themselves was 31 January 2022. It will now change accordingly in 2024.

Importance of Accurate and Timely Submission

Accurate completion and timely submission of the SA970 are crucial. Errors or omissions can lead to penalties and interest charges. Trustees should keep detailed records of all income, gains, and expenses related to the pension scheme to support the figures entered in the SA970 form.

The SA970 form is a vital tool for trustees of registered pension schemes in the UK to report their tax responsibilities. Understanding its features and requirements is essential for compliance and effective pension scheme management. This guide provides an overview of the form, emphasizing the importance of accuracy and timeliness in its submission.

Who is a "Trustee of Registered Pension Schemes"

In the UK, "Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes" refers to individuals or a corporate body appointed to oversee the management and administration of a pension scheme. These trustees hold a position of significant responsibility and are tasked with ensuring that the pension scheme is operated and managed in accordance with the scheme's rules, relevant law, and regulations set forth by governing bodies like the Pensions Regulator and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Key Responsibilities of Trustees:

  1. Acting in Best Interest: Trustees are required to act in the best interests of the scheme beneficiaries. This includes making decisions that benefit current and future pensioners.

  2. Compliance with Laws and Regulations: They must ensure that the pension scheme complies with various laws and regulations, including the Pensions Act, tax laws, and other relevant legislation.

  3. Management of Assets: Trustees oversee the management of the pension scheme's assets. This involves making investment decisions and ensuring that the assets are managed effectively to meet the scheme's future liabilities.

  4. Administration: They handle the administration of the pension scheme, which includes maintaining accurate records, providing information to scheme members, and processing pension payments.

  5. Communications: Trustees are responsible for communicating effectively with the scheme members, keeping them informed about their benefits and any changes to the scheme.

  6. Fiduciary Duty: As fiduciaries, trustees have a duty to act prudently, responsibly, and honestly, putting the interests of the scheme members above their own.

  7. Risk Management: They must identify, assess, and manage risks that could impact the pension scheme's ability to meet its obligations.

  8. Advisory Role: Trustees often seek advice from financial, legal, and pension experts to make informed decisions about the scheme's management.

  9. Reporting and Documentation: They are responsible for preparing and submitting various reports and documents, such as annual reports and tax returns like the SA970 form for registered pension schemes.


In summary, trustees of registered pension schemes in the UK play a critical role in ensuring the effective, compliant, and sustainable management of pension funds, with their actions directly impacting the financial security of the scheme's beneficiaries.


Income Reporting on the SA970 Form

The SA970 form, specifically for trustees of registered pension schemes, requires detailed reporting of various types of income. Understanding how to accurately report income is crucial for trustees to ensure compliance with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requirements.


Types of Income to Report


  1. Investment Income: Trustees need to report income from UK and overseas investments. This includes interest from bank accounts, dividends from shares, and income from other investments. It's vital to distinguish between UK and foreign sources as they are taxed differently.

  2. Rental Income: If the pension scheme owns property and earns rental income, this must be reported. Expenses related to property maintenance can often be deducted, but it's essential to keep detailed records.

  3. Capital Gains: Although pension schemes are typically exempt from Capital Gains Tax, any gains from the disposal of assets should be reported. This ensures transparency and aids in accurate record-keeping.

  4. Other Income: This includes any other taxable income not covered in the previous categories. It could be income from a business the pension scheme is involved in or other miscellaneous income.


Compliance and Accuracy

Accuracy in reporting is non-negotiable. Inaccurate reporting can lead to penalties and interest charges. Trustees should maintain comprehensive records of all transactions to support the figures entered in the SA970 form.


Supporting Documents

Trustees should keep all supporting documents for at least six years. These include bank statements, dividend vouchers, rental agreements, and records of asset sales. This documentation is crucial if HMRC requests evidence to support the figures on the SA970 form.


Deadlines and Penalties

The deadline for submitting the SA970 form is 31 January following the end of the tax year for trustees calculating the tax themselves. Late submissions can result in penalties. Even if no tax is due, a late filing penalty may still apply.


Key Points for Trustees


  • Ensure all income types are correctly categorized and reported.

  • Maintain detailed records and supporting documents.

  • Be aware of the deadlines and potential penalties for late submission.

The accurate reporting of income on the SA970 form is a critical responsibility for trustees of registered pension schemes. It requires a thorough understanding of different income types and diligent record-keeping. In the next part, we will explore the intricacies of tax calculations and repayments on the SA970 form, offering further insights and guidance for trustees.


Tax Calculations and Repayments on the SA970 Form

The SA970 form, crucial for trustees of registered pension schemes in the UK, involves not just reporting income but also calculating tax liabilities and claiming repayments. This part of our guide focuses on these aspects, providing trustees with the information needed to accurately complete their tax returns.


Calculating Tax Liability


  1. Understanding Tax Obligations: The SA970 is used to return details of the scheme’s income from investments. It's essential for trustees to understand the tax implications of these investments and calculate the tax due accurately.

  2. Using the SA976 Guide: Trustees can refer to the SA976 calculation guide for assistance. This guide helps in understanding how to calculate the tax due on different types of income reported in the SA970 form.

  3. Self-Calculation or HMRC Assistance: Trustees have the option to calculate the tax due themselves or request HMRC to do it. If trustees opt for HMRC to calculate the tax, the form must be submitted earlier (by 31 October following the tax year). Otherwise, the deadline is 31 January.


Claiming Repayments


  1. Eligibility for Repayment: If a registered pension scheme or common investment fund is exempt from tax, trustees may claim a repayment of tax during the tax year using form R63N.

  2. Reporting on SA970: At the year-end, trustees must use the SA970 form to declare the total tax paid during the year, the amount of tax already claimed back using form R63N, and any remaining tax repayment due.

  3. Documentation and Accuracy: Maintaining accurate records and documentation is crucial for successfully claiming tax repayments. Trustees should keep all relevant documents to support their claims.


Payment Deadlines and Methods


  1. Deadlines: Tax payments must be made on or before 31 January. This includes any tax owed from the previous tax year and the first ‘payment on account’ of tax for the current tax year.

  2. Penalties for Late Payment: Late payments may attract interest and penalties. It's crucial to adhere to the deadlines to avoid these charges.

  3. Payment Methods: Payments can be made through various methods, including internet or phone banking, debit or credit card, at a bank or Post Office, by Direct Debit, or by posting a cheque to HMRC.


Accurate calculation of tax liabilities and timely claiming of repayments are vital elements of completing the SA970 form. Trustees must ensure they understand the tax obligations of their pension scheme, meet deadlines, and maintain proper records to comply with HMRC requirements. This guide aims to provide trustees with the necessary information to navigate these aspects of the SA970 form confidently.

Special Considerations and Submission Details for SA970


Special Considerations for SA970


  1. Accessibility and Format: The SA970 form and its accompanying guides, such as SA975 and SA976, are available in different formats to accommodate users with assistive technology needs. Requests for alternative formats can be made to HMRC.

  2. Updates and Changes: The forms and notes for the SA970 are regularly updated to reflect the latest tax year and changes in tax laws. It's important for trustees to use the most current version of the form for their tax submissions.

  3. Digital Submission: As of the information available, the SA970 form must be completed and sent as a paper tax return to HMRC. It's currently not possible to submit this form online. Trustees should ensure they have the correct postal address for HMRC and adhere to the submission deadlines.

  4. Professional Assistance: Trustees may seek professional advice, such as from an accountant, to ensure accurate completion of the SA970 form. This is especially beneficial for complex pension schemes or where large sums are involved.


Submission Details


  1. Submission Deadline: The deadline for submitting the SA970 form depends on whether the trustee or HMRC is calculating the tax. For trustee calculations, the deadline is 31 January following the end of the tax year. If HMRC is to calculate the tax, the deadline is 31 October.

  2. Payment Methods: Trustees can pay any tax owed through various methods, including internet or phone banking, debit or credit card, at a bank or Post Office, by Direct Debit, or by posting a cheque to HMRC.

  3. Penalties and Interest: Late submissions or payments may result in penalties and interest charges. Trustees should ensure they meet all deadlines to avoid these additional costs.

  4. Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records and documentation is critical for the successful completion and submission of the SA970 form. This aids in supporting claims made on the form and in case of any queries from HMRC.

  5. Address for Paper Forms: Completed paper forms should be sent to HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AS for UK residents. For those outside the UK, the address is HM Revenue and Customs, Benton Park View, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE98 1ZZ, United Kingdom.

The completion and submission of the SA970 form require careful attention to detail, adherence to deadlines, and an understanding of the specific requirements for pension scheme trustees. This guide aims to provide trustees with the necessary information to navigate the SA970 form process confidently.


Final Insights and Overview


Remaining Aspects of the SA970 Form


  1. Amendments and Corrections: If a trustee discovers errors or omissions after submitting the SA970 form, they should promptly inform HMRC. Corrections can be made by submitting an amended return.

  2. Dealing with Complex Situations: Certain situations, such as changes in trustees or the scheme's tax status, may necessitate additional documentation or specific sections of the SA970 form to be completed. Trustees should be aware of these scenarios and how to report them accurately.

  3. Support and Resources: HMRC provides various resources and support for trustees completing the SA970 form. These include help sheets, guidance notes, and direct assistance through HMRC's helpline. Trustees are encouraged to use these resources to ensure compliance and accuracy.

  4. Importance of Timeliness: Meeting deadlines for the SA970 form is crucial to avoid penalties. This includes both the submission of the form and any payments due.

  5. Changes in Legislation: Tax legislation and pension regulations can change. Trustees should stay informed about any changes that may affect their obligations or the completion of the SA970 form.


Overview of the SA970 Process


  1. Gathering Information: Collect all relevant financial information, including income from investments, rental income, and any capital gains.

  2. Completing the Form: Fill out the SA970 form accurately, ensuring that all required sections are completed and the information provided is correct.

  3. Calculation of Tax Liability: Calculate the tax due or opt for HMRC to calculate it. Use the SA976 guide for assistance if needed.

  4. Claiming Repayments: If applicable, use form R63N to claim tax repayments during the tax year and report these on the SA970 form.

  5. Submission: Submit the completed form by the relevant deadline (31 January for self-calculation or 31 October for HMRC calculation).

  6. Payment of Tax: Ensure any tax due is paid by the deadline, using one of the accepted payment methods.

  7. Record Keeping: Keep detailed records and documentation for at least six years, as these may be required by HMRC for verification purposes.

  8. Seeking Professional Advice: Consider seeking professional advice, especially in complex cases or for large pension schemes.


Completing the SA970 form is a significant responsibility for trustees of registered pension schemes in the UK. It requires a thorough understanding of the form's requirements, careful record-keeping, and adherence to deadlines. By following the guidelines provided in this article, trustees can ensure compliance with HMRC's regulations, accurately report their pension scheme's financial activities, and avoid potential penalties.


Additional Elements and Trustee Responsibilities


  1. Dealing with HMRC Inquiries: After submitting the SA970 form, trustees might face inquiries from HMRC for clarification or additional information. Prompt and accurate responses are crucial to maintain compliance and transparency.

  2. Changes in Pension Scheme Details: Any changes in the pension scheme, such as amendments in investment strategies or trustee details, must be reported to HMRC. These changes can affect the tax liabilities and must be reflected in the SA970 form.

  3. Handling Penalties and Disputes: If trustees face penalties due to late submission or errors in the form, they should address these issues promptly. In cases of disputes over penalties or tax assessments, trustees have the right to appeal to HMRC.

  4. Awareness of Tax Reliefs and Exemptions: Trustees should be knowledgeable about the various tax reliefs and exemptions applicable to pension schemes. This knowledge helps in optimizing the scheme's tax position and ensuring that all available reliefs are claimed.

  5. Engagement with Scheme Members: Trustees should maintain clear communication with the pension scheme members, especially regarding changes that might affect the members' benefits or contributions.

  6. Regular Review and Updates: Regularly review the pension scheme's financial position and tax obligations. Stay updated with the latest tax laws and HMRC guidelines that impact pension schemes.


Ensuring Comprehensive Compliance


  1. Auditing and Financial Reporting: Depending on the size and complexity of the pension scheme, trustees may need to arrange for auditing and detailed financial reporting to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulatory requirements.

  2. Training and Development: Trustees should consider ongoing training and professional development to stay informed about the latest practices in pension scheme management and taxation.

  3. Consulting Experts: Engage with financial advisors, tax experts, and legal professionals as needed to ensure the pension scheme is managed effectively and in compliance with all legal obligations.

  4. Risk Management: Implement robust risk management strategies to safeguard the pension scheme's assets and ensure its long-term sustainability.


Final Notes


The role of a trustee in managing the tax affairs of a pension scheme is both challenging and critical. Adherence to HMRC's requirements, staying informed, and proactive management are key to fulfilling this role effectively. The SA970 form is a fundamental aspect of this responsibility, and trustees must approach it with diligence and accuracy.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filling the SA970 Form (2023)


Following are different sections and questions in the SA970 Form, which you will have to fill in.

Section 1: Basic Information

  1. Self Assessment tax reference: Enter the tax reference number as shown on the Notice to file.

  2. Pension scheme name and correspondence address: Fill in the full name and address of the pension scheme.


Section 2: UK and Overseas Income


Section 1: UK Income

  1. 1.1: Enter the total income from UK investments and deposits, after tax deducted.

  2. 1.2: Specify the tax amount deducted from this income.

  3. 1.3: Calculate and enter the gross amount before tax.

  4. 1.4: Mention any tax already reclaimed for the pension scheme using form R63N.

  5. 1.5: Deduct box 1.4 from box 1.2 to find the tax not already reclaimed.

Section 2: Overseas Income

  1. 2.1: Enter the total income from overseas investments after tax deducted.

  2. 2.2: Specify UK Income Tax deducted from overseas income.

  3. 2.3: Enter UK Income Tax already reclaimed from these investments.

  4. 2.4: Deduct box 2.3 from box 2.2 to find the UK Income Tax not already reclaimed.

Section 3: Trading Income

If you received trading income:

  • 3.1: Enter the turnover and other business receipts.

  • 3.2: Specify allowable expenses for tax.

  • Further boxes in this section should be filled as per the specifics of the trading income.

Section 4: Income under a Deed of Covenant

If you received income under a Deed of Covenant:

  • 4.1: Enter the total income received under a Deed of Covenant, after tax deducted.

  • 4.2: Specify the tax deducted from this income.

  • 4.3: Calculate and enter the gross amount before tax.

Section 5: Income Paid under Deduction of Tax

If any payments or charges on the pension scheme’s income were paid under deduction of tax:

  • 5.1: Enter the gross amount before tax.

  • 5.2: Specify the tax deducted.

Section 6: Other Taxable Income

If you received other taxable income:

  • 6.1: Provide a description of the income or chargeable gain.

  • 6.2: Enter the amount of taxable income after tax deducted.

  • 6.3: Specify the tax deducted.

  • 6.4: Calculate and enter the gross amount before tax (Box 6.2 + Box 6.3).

  • 6.5 to 6.7: Enter taxable amounts of chargeable gains on different assets, if applicable.

Section 7: Calculating Tax or Repayment

Decide if you want to calculate the tax or repayment due:

  • 7.1: Enter the tax due for the tax year before any payments on account. Use a minus sign for repayments.

  • 7.2: Specify your first payment on account for the next tax year, if applicable.

  • 7.3 and 7.4: Indicate if you are making a claim to reduce payments on account or if you do not need to make payments on account.

Section 8: Claiming a Repayment

If you want to claim a repayment:

  • 8.1 to 8.12: Provide detailed banking information for the pension scheme or its nominee, and fill in the declaration for repayment.

Section 9 to 12: Contact Details and Changes

  • Update pension scheme contact details, including phone numbers and addresses.

  • Report any changes to the names and addresses of the trustees.

Section 13: Additional Information

  • Provide any provisional figures or disclose any tax avoidance schemes.

Section 14: Declaration

  • Sign and date the form, confirming that the information is correct and complete.

This guide provides a general overview of completing the SA970 form. Trustees should ensure that all information is accurate and reflective of their specific circumstances. For complex situations or if in doubt, seeking professional advice is recommended.


How Can a Personal Tax Accountant Help You With SA970 Form

How Can a Personal Tax Accountant Help You With SA970 Form

Navigating the complexities of tax obligations can be a daunting task for trustees of registered pension schemes in the UK. This is where the expertise of a personal tax accountant becomes invaluable, especially when dealing with the Self Assessment Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970). A personal tax accountant offers a range of services that can greatly assist in the accurate and timely completion of the SA970 form, ensuring compliance with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regulations.

Expertise in Tax Legislation

Tax laws and regulations are not only complex but also subject to frequent changes. A personal tax accountant stays abreast of the latest tax legislation, including any updates specific to pension schemes. This expertise is crucial in accurately completing the SA970 form. They can guide trustees through the intricacies of tax obligations, ensuring that the pension scheme is in full compliance with current tax laws.

Accurate and Efficient Completion of SA970

Filling out the SA970 form can be intricate, given its detailed requirements for reporting income, gains, and expenses. A tax accountant can efficiently handle these details, reducing the likelihood of errors that could lead to penalties or additional tax liabilities. They ensure that all sections of the form are correctly filled out, including the declaration of UK and overseas income, trading income, and other taxable income.

Maximizing Tax Efficiency

One of the key benefits of hiring a personal tax accountant is their ability to identify tax-saving opportunities. They can advise trustees on how to structure the pension scheme’s investments and activities in a tax-efficient manner. This includes guidance on claiming available reliefs and exemptions, ultimately benefiting the pension scheme’s financial health.

Handling Complex Situations and Queries

Trustees often face complex situations, such as changes in investment strategies or the scheme's tax status. A personal tax accountant can provide tailored advice in these scenarios, ensuring that all relevant changes are accurately reflected in the SA970 form. Additionally, they can respond to any queries from HMRC on behalf of the trustees, providing professional representation and peace of mind.

Risk Management and Compliance

A tax accountant can assist in risk management by identifying potential areas of concern in the pension scheme’s tax affairs. Their expertise helps ensure that the scheme remains compliant with tax regulations, minimizing the risk of non-compliance penalties. They can also guide trustees through the audit process, should the scheme be subject to an HMRC audit.

Time-Saving and Stress Reduction

Dealing with tax matters can be time-consuming and stressful. By delegating the responsibility of completing the SA970 form to a tax accountant, trustees can save significant time and reduce stress. This allows trustees to focus more on other important aspects of pension scheme management.

Providing Ongoing Support and Advice

A personal tax accountant can offer ongoing support and advice throughout the tax year, not just during the tax return submission period. They can keep trustees informed about any pertinent tax changes, advise on financial decisions affecting the scheme, and assist with planning for future tax years.

In summary, a personal tax accountant plays a crucial role in assisting trustees of registered pension schemes with the SA970 form. Their expertise in tax legislation, efficiency in form completion, ability to maximize tax efficiency, handling of complex situations, risk management, and ongoing support are invaluable. Engaging a tax accountant can lead to significant benefits, including compliance assurance, time savings, stress reduction, and overall better financial management of the pension scheme.

Important FAQs on SA970

Q1: Who is required to file an SA970 form?

A: The SA970 form must be filed by the trustees of a registered pension scheme in the UK.

Q2: What is the deadline for filing the SA970 form?

A: The deadline is typically 31 January following the end of the tax year for which the return is being filed.

Q3: Can the SA970 form be filed online?

A: As of the latest information, the SA970 form must be completed and sent as a paper tax return.

Q4: What penalties apply for late filing of the SA970 form?

A: Late filing can result in penalties, which may vary depending on the delay's duration and circumstances.

Q5: Are there any exemptions to filing the SA970 form?

A: Specific exemptions depend on the pension scheme's circumstances and should be verified with a tax professional.

Q6: How do trustees calculate tax owed on the pension scheme?

A: The tax owed can be calculated using the SA976 guide or by requesting HMRC to calculate it.

Q7: What information is needed to complete the SA970 form?

A: Trustees need detailed financial information about the scheme, including income, gains, expenses, and investments.

Q8: Can a trustee claim tax relief through the SA970 form?

A: Yes, tax reliefs applicable to the pension scheme can be claimed through this form.

Q9: How should overseas income be reported on the SA970 form?

A: Overseas income should be reported in the specific section for overseas income, with details about the source and amount.

Q10: What should trustees do if they discover errors in their filed SA970 form? A: Trustees should inform HMRC and submit an amended return to correct any errors.

Q11: Is professional assistance mandatory for completing the SA970 form?

A: While not mandatory, professional assistance from a tax advisor or accountant is highly recommended due to the form's complexity.

Q12: How long should trustees keep records related to the SA970 form?

A: Trustees are advised to keep records for at least six years for audit and verification purposes.

Q13: Can the SA970 form include provisional figures?

A: Yes, provisional figures can be included, but they should be clearly indicated as such.

Q14: What should trustees do if they need to report changes in the pension scheme? A: Changes in the pension scheme should be reported to HMRC as soon as possible, and relevant adjustments should be made in the next tax return.

Q15: How do trustees handle repayment claims through the SA970 form?

A: Repayment claims can be made in the relevant section of the form, where trustees must provide details of any tax overpaid.

Q16: Are trustees of all types of pension schemes required to file an SA970?

A: The SA970 form is specifically for trustees of registered pension schemes. Trustees of other types of pension arrangements may have different reporting requirements.

Q17: What happens if trustees fail to file an SA970 form?

A: Failure to file can result in penalties, interest charges, and potential legal consequences.







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