Are you able to prevent receiving penalties for missing the tax return deadline?

I missed the 31st January deadline for filing my self-assessment tax return – can I stop HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) from issuing any penalties?

1st February 2017

There are some circumstances when HMRC may consider waiving them.

If you believe you’re not required to submit a tax return, you should talk to HMRC and ask for it to be withdrawn. If HMRC agrees, you won’t have to file a return and any penalties issued should be cancelled.

The penalties escalate the longer the delay so you should file your tax return as quickly as possible – preferably online, as this will be fastest method and has a more recent deadline than 31st October for paper tax returns.

Once you submit a late tax return, you can expect to receive a late filing penalty. If you have a good reason for the delay in filing your return, you may be able to appeal against the penalty.

These are known as ‘reasonable excuses’ and typically mean that something unexpected or outside your control prevented you from meeting a tax obligation.

HMRC give these examples of Reasonable Excuses on its website:

  • The death of your partner or another close relative shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from managing your tax affairs
  • You had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • A fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return

If you’re struggling to keep on top of your tax affairs, call your local TaxAssist Accountant on 0800 0523 555 and they will be happy to take care of them on your behalf.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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