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HMRC responds to reasonable excuse coverage

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has responded to the recent coverage regarding its approach to Reasonable Excuse claims for filing self-assessment tax returns late.

The tax authority has reiterated its desire to use an increasing percentage of its resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion as opposed to penalising ordinary people trying to do the right thing.

However, HMRC also confirmed that the deadline for appealing fines for the 2013-14 tax year has now passed.

Those who have already submitted a Reasonable Excuse claim will only be let off the fine providing they have now submitted their return, paid the outstanding tax and have a good reason for its late submission.

This framework is all part of HMRC’s proportionate approach to penalty appeals; for small businesses and self-employed individuals in particular.

It’s adoption of digital technology is also helping the Revenue to gain a more complete picture of unpaid tax, moving away from penalty notices as a ‘mechanical reaction’ to a single missed deadline.

HMRC hopes to be able to track long term patterns of behaviour and focus more closely on those repeat offenders who fail to pay or send their tax returns on time.

This week, the Revenue is due to announce changes to the penalties incurred for filing real time PAYE information after the deadline.

Reasonable Excuse explained

If you have a good reason for the delay in filing your return, you may appeal against the penalty. HMRC provides a list of common examples of Reasonable Excuses on its website here.

Should you require assistance with preparing your tax return, your local TaxAssist Accountant would be happy to help.

To discuss your tax affairs with us, simply contact us online or give us a call on 0800 0523 555 and we’ll put you in touch with your nearest TaxAssist Accountant.

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